Bioenergy is an important renewable energy source in the UK, but the bioenergy industry and in particular the wood fuel sub sector, is relatively under-developed. Socioeconomic factors have been identified as critical for facilitating deployment levels and sustainable development. However, previous studies have mostly assessed these factors using quantitative methods and models, which are limited in assessing pertinent contextual factors such as institutional/regulatory governance, supply chain structure and governance, capital resource availability as well as actor decisions. As a step further, this research engages with these under-explored aspects of the system by developing a new analytical framework: the Resilience and Livelihoods in Supply Chains (RELISC) framework, which was designed by linking Value Chain Analysis, the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and a supply chain resilience framework. Its application to a UK wood fuel supply chain produced useful insights. For example, the structure of the chain revealed a high level of dependency on a particular end user and contractor. Key institutional governance was critical in sustaining natural resources and providing access to finance. Internal supply chain governance was limited in ensuring the sustainability of resources and lack of actor awareness and interest were also limiting factors. In addition, five capital analyses revealed gaps in skills, networking and physical infrastructure. Finally, the design of the novel RELISC framework enables it to engage with diverse aspects of the system holistically and its application generated practical recommendations and strategies for supply chain resilience and sector growth, which are useful and applicable to other emerging sectors.
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