Capita selecta – Sustainable Operations Management fall 2023


20 September & 29 November 2023


10.00 -16.00 h


Utrecht, Boswell-Beta


Dr. Renzo Akkerman (Wageningen Uni) and Dr. Maxi Udenio (KU Leuven)




0.5 (participating only) – 2 (participating + assignment)

Course fee:

free for TRAIL/Beta/OML/ERIM members, others please contact the TRAIL office


See below


Sustainability has played an increasingly important role in operations management. The quantification of environmental impacts as well as their consideration in quantitative operations management methodologies, however, often leads to complex multi-objective optimization problems. The objectives of this course are:

  • Understanding various aspects of sustainability for businesses.
  • Quantitative and qualitative comprehension of selected techniques for incorporating sustainability in operations management decision making.
  • Following the recent advances and trends in environmentally and socially responsible supply chains.
  • Ability to judge other work in this area and identify new research directions.

Course description:

In this course important principles, models, and techniques for the planning, analysis, and design of environmentally and socially responsible supply chains will be discussed. This course focuses on the challenges and opportunities of including sustainability considerations in quantitative operations management approaches. While business has one true bottom line –profitability- we will study how this can be achieved in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. In particular, we will focus on sustainable production and distribution of goods and services.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be familiar with analyzing and incorporating sustainability aspect in supply chain decision making processes, together with cost and service aspects.

The course includes an introduction to the main research areas within the field of sustainable operations management, as well as an introduction to the main methodologies used to quantify sustainable performance. The course also includes a discussion of recent sustainability developments that have an impact on operations management.

In the final part of the course, selected recent research examples will be presented and discussed, focusing on future research challenges and opportunities in the area of sustainable operations management.


The participants that go for the 2-ECTS option will have an individual assignment, which consists of extending an academic paper on sustainable operations management field. The extension could be in terms of analytical treatment of the material (e.g. incorporating carbon emission constraints to the analysis), numerical treatment of the material (e.g. extending the numerical experiments to a different setting), or an extensive literature study on the material (e.g. categorizing and discussing the existing literature based on the methodologies followed, identifying possible research directions). The paper should not exceed 10 pages and its format should follow that of the scientific papers. The project topics are subject to instructors’ approval (no later than the second class meeting on December 11).


Day 1 Morning:

–         Introduction to Sustainable Operations Management (MU/RA: 1hr)

–         Closed-loop supply chains and circular economy (RA: 1hr)

–         Green Logistics (MU: 0.5hr)


–         Green Logistics (contd) + Regulations and their implications (MU: 1.5hr)

–         Life Cycle Assessment and carbon footprinting (RA: 1.5hr)

Day 2 Morning:

–         Social aspects, CSR, sourcing, and supply chain collaboration (MU: 1hr)

–         Sustainable food supply chains + LCA follow-up (RA: 1.5 hr)


–         Presentations by all PhD students on a scientific article of their choice (3hr)


  • Textbook: Bouchery, Y., Corbett, C. J., Fransoo, J., and Tan, T. (2017), Sustainable Supply Chains: A Research-based Textbook on Operations and Strategy, Springer, ISBN 978-3-319-29791-0.
  • A selection of scientific articles.


Various methods for production planning, inventory planning, and transportation will be covered, such as mathematical programming and stochastic modeling, together with methods for sustainability assessment, such as life cycle assessment.

Course material:

  • Textbook: Bouchery, Y., Corbett, C. J., Fransoo, J., and Tan, T. (2017), Sustainable Supply Chains: A Research-based Textbook on Operations and Strategy, Springer, ISBN 978-3-319-29791-0.
  • A selection of scientific articles.


The participating PhD students are expected to have an advanced background in quantitative operations management methodologies from e.g. a master’s degree program in Operations Research, Applied Mathematics, or Industrial Engineering.

Course Registration form

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