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Environmental sustainability and production: taking the road less traveled

May 2017

Joseph Sarkis, Qingyun Zhu


Environmental concerns are not a new phenomenon, instead, they’ve evolved over time, particularly in the field of supply chain. The evolution observed in this article is how environmental responsibility is studied and written about in the International Journal of Production Research over time, going as far back as 55 years ago. The research shows trends of calling for changes in production and operations that are more conscious of the effects it has beyond the production site, but rather the ecosystem and community that surrounds it.

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Policy Implications

Growing focus on the role of production and cooperation’s play in environmental issues has previously been followed by policy. The social forces that grew from the 1960s to now indicate that communities and consumers care about the environmental impact supply chains have, and continued research into how this can be more sustainable is needed. Even though currently sustainability is the road less traveled by, it is one future engineers and operations management will need to take more often.

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