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Simulation decomposition for environmental sustainability: Enhanced decision-making in carbon footprint analysis

Ivan Deviatkin, Mariia Kozlova and Julian Scott Yeomans

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2021, vol. 75, issue C

Abstract: Environmental sustainability problems frequently require the need for decision-making in situations containing considerable uncertainty. Monte Carlo simulation methods have been used in a wide array of environmental planning settings to incorporate these uncertain features. Simulation-generated outputs are commonly displayed as probability distributions. Recently simulation decomposition (SD) has enhanced the visualization of the cause-effect relationships of multi-variable combinations of inputs on the corresponding simulated outputs. SD partitions sub-distributions of the Monte Carlo outputs by pre-classifying selected input variables into states, grouping combinations of these states into scenarios, and then collecting simulated outputs attributable to each multi-variable input scenario. Since it is a straightforward task to visually project the contribution of the subdivided scenarios onto the overall output, SD can illuminate previously unidentified connections between the multi-variable combinations of inputs on the outputs. SD is generalizable to any Monte Carlo method with negligible additional computational overhead and, therefore, can be readily extended into most environmental analyses that use simulation models. This study demonstrates the efficacy of SD for environmental sustainability decision-making on a carbon footprint analysis case for wooden pallets.

Keywords: Simulation decomposition; Monte carlo simulation; Carbon footprint; Lifecycle analysis; Environmental decision making under uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2020.100837

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