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Warning:   I have not updated this page in a very long time and do not have plans to do so anytime soon.   But hopefully some of these are useful.

This page contains a partially annotated list of books, papers and presentations on the overlap of operations research and sustainability, and related issues.


Cradle to Cradle – Remaking the Way We Make Things
William McDonough & Michael Braungart
Link to summary

Ecological Design
S. Van der Ryn and S. Cowan, 1996
Link to summary

Economics of the Environment: Theory and Policy
H. Siebert, 2004
Notes: Referred to in Glaser book regarding interpretation of sustainability.

Efficiency Versus Sustainability in Dynamic Decision Making: Advances in Intertemporal Compromising
Glaser, B. 2002.
Notes: This book takes a very formal look at efficiency, sustainability, and their expression through decision models.Within the book, efficiency means avoiding wasteful behavior while sustainability is concerned with “ensuring that certain critical aspiration levels, which usually reflect the wish for survival, are maintained”.As the Intefaces review (see Felder 2004 below) points out, a strong point of the book is its formal presentation of decision models, including multi-objective optimization.This makes the book useful even without considering its treatment of efficiency and sustainability.

Chapter 6 discusses sustainability as an objective.The author provides a thorough discussion of different interpretations of the word sustainability with numerous references.(See for instance, Siebert ’98 and Baranzini & Bourguignon ’95).The book’s formal definition of sustainability seeks to answer a number of questions including:what is being sustained, in what way, for how long, what is the highest sustainable value, is there a goal trajectory and if so can a trajectory be steered towards it by adjusting parameters?

In places, the language can be difficult to parse.But overall, this unusual book provides a solid formal background on many of the topics discussed, and could be a useful formal foundation for the application of OR, in particular multi-objective optimization, to sustainability and efficiency.

A Primer on Environmental Decision-Making – An Integrative Quantitative Approach
by K. Seip and F. Wenstøp
Notes: This is a textbook. Game theory is the only OR-related technique explicitly mentioned in the table of contents, but it stands to reason that others would be inside. See the Springer page as well as their “Environmental Management” series.

Handbook of Operations Research in Natural Resources (International Series in Operations Research & Management Science)
A. Weintraub, C. Romero, T. Bjørndal, and R. Epstein (Eds.), Springer, 2007.
Notes: The primary focus is not sustainability, but environmental impacts of the use of natural resources appear to be considered in parts. See the Springer page for more information.

The Market for Virtue
David Vogel
Notes: Excellent book with a great deal of information. Is there a market for virtue? The book claims there can be, but that in many cases there isn’t.


See also the Special Journal Issues post.

Environmental and Operations Management Face the Future
L.C. Angell
in Decision Line, May 1999
Notes: This brief article from 1999 includes a table listing special journal issues on environmental operations management and related areas. I am listing these and some others I have found in a separate post.

Integrating environmental issues into the mainstream: an agenda for research in operations management
L.C. Angell and R.D. Klassen
in Journal of Operations Management, Volume 17, Issue 5, August 1999, Pages 575-598
Notes: Same author as above. For what it’s worth, Scholar reports 165 citations as of May 5, 2008. If nothing else, given that these references are a bit old, mine the citing papers to find more recent work.

Is sustainable growth optimal?
A. Baranzini and F. Bourguignon
in International Tax and Public Finance, 1995, 2, pp. 341-356
Notes: Referred to in Glaser book regarding interpretation of sustainability.

Interactions between operational research and environmental management
J. M. Bloemhof-Ruwaarda, P. van Beekb, L. Hordijka and L. N. Van Wassenhove
in European Journal of Operational Research Volume 85, Issue 2, 7 September 1995, Pages 229-243

Weighing the costs and benefits of state renewables portfolio standards in the United States: A comparative analysis of state-level policy impact projections
C. Chen, R. Wiser, A. Mills and M. Bolinger
in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, in Press, available online as of 4 February 2008
Notes: Survey and synthesis of a number of different studies on the impact of state RPS plans, focusing mainly on the impact of the RPS on cost of electricity. The authors are from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The abstract from Science Direct is available here. Mentioned in this greenOR post.

Adoption of Voluntary Environmental Standards: The Role of Signaling and Intrinsic Benefits in the Diffusion of the LEED Green Building Standards
C.J. Corbett and S. Muthulingam, August 2007.
Notes: Includes LEED stats and analysis.

Extending the Horizons: Environmental Excellence as Key to Improving Operations
C.J. Corbett and R.D. Klassen
in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 8(1): 5-22. Winter 2006.

Dynamics of supply chain networks with corporate social responsibility through integrated environmental decision-making
Jose M. Cruz
in European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 184, Issue 3, Pages 817-1190, 1 February 2008, Pages 1005-1031

Operations research and environmental planning
S. E. Daniela, D. C. Diakoulakib and C. P. Pappis
in European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 102, Issue 2, 16 October 1997, Pages 248-263
Notes: Contains an extensive list of over 100 references. In the 1997 “Environmental Planning” special issue of EJOR.

MCDA and Energy Planning
D. Diakoulaki, C. Antunes and A. Gomes Martins
in the book Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys
see the book’s Springer page

Agricultural sustainable management: a normative approach based on goal programming
S. Elfkih, M.L. Feijoo and C. Romero
in Journal of the Operational Research Society, advance online publication 19 March 2008

Review of Efficiency Versus Sustainability in Dynamic Decision Making: Advances in Intertemporal Compromising.
F. Felder
in Interfaces 34(2), 162-163, 2004.
Notes: This book is summarized above.

An overview of the Portuguese wind power sector
Paula Ferreira, Madalena Araújo, M. E. J. O’Kelly (2007)
International Transactions in Operational Research 14 (1), 39–54.
Notes: From the abstract and a quick perusal it doesn’t seem very technical/mathematical, but is more of an overview of Portuguese wind power, with some data and ideas. The pdf is available online. This is an IFORS journal.

The Economics of Remanufacturing Under Limited Component Durability and Finite Product Life Cycles
R Geyer, LN Van Wassenhove, A Atasu
in Management Science, January 2007

A Linear Programming Analysis of Paper Recycling
C. Glassey and V. Gupta
in Management Science
December 1974, p 392
Notes: This could probably be considered a classic in the realm of green OR. One goal was to determine the maximum feasible recycling rate given then-current technology. The paper collected a large amount of information on kinds of paper, and destinations after use. It is used in the undergraduate OR texts of Winston and Ragsdale. More to come…

Issues in environmentally conscious manufacturing and product recovery: a survey
A. Gungor and S.M. Gupta
in Computers & Industrial Engineering 1999; 36; 811-853.
(cited by R. Zuidwijk and H. Krikke)

Environmental operations management: An opportunity for improvement
M. Gupta and K. Sharma
in Production and Inventory Management Journal, Volume 37, 1996

‘Green’ value chain practices in the furniture industry
R. B. Handfield, S. V. Waltonb, L. K. Seegersc and S. A. Melnyka
in Journal of Operations Management, Volume 15, Issue 4, November 1997, Pages 293-315

A dynamical model of water recycling in a mine-processing enterprise
R.F. Hartl, G.T. Kirakossian, S.R. Hakobyan and A.H. Markaryan
in Central European Journal of Operations Research, Volume 14, Number 1 / February, 2006

A Model for Assessing the Greenness Effort in a Product Supply Chain
S H’Mida, SY Lakhal
in International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2007

Business case Roteb: Recovery strategies for monitors.
H. Krikke, A. van Harten, and P. Schuur
in Computers & Industrial Engineering 1999; 36: 739-757.
(cited by R. Zuidwijk and H. Krikke)

Use of multicriteria decision analysis methods for energy planning problems
Espen Løken
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume 11, Issue 7, September 2007, Pages 1584-1595

Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis and Sustainable Development
G. Munda
in the book Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys
see the book’s Springer page

Optimizing Waste Flows in the OSU Network
C. Naumoff
A Senior Honors Thesis in Industrial and Systems Engineering, May 2007.
Notes: See related post

A multiple objective model to deal with economy–energy–environment interactions
Carla Oliveira and Carlos Henggeler Antunes
European Journal of Operational Research
Volume 153, Issue 2, 1 March 2004, Pages 370-385
Management of the Future MCDA: Dynamic and Ethical Contributions

Application of multi-criteria decision making to sustainable energy planning—A review
S. D. Pohekar and M. Ramachandran
in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume 8, Issue 4, August 2004, Pages 365-381
Author Keywords: Multi-objective optimization; Multi-criteria decision making; Decision support systems; Sustainable energy planning
Link to summary

Green Production through Competitive Testing
E. Plambeck and T.A. Taylor
Notes: See related post

From Closed-Loop to Sustainable Supply Chains: The WEEE case
J Quariguasi Frota Neto, G Walther, JM Bloemhof
in Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) Report Series Research in Management

A methodology for assessing eco-efficiency in logistics networks
J. Quariguasi Frota Neto, G. Walther, J. Bloemhof, J.A.E.E. van Nunen and T. Spengler
in European Journal of Operational Research, in press, available online as of October 2007
Notes: Studies the efficient frontier between environmental and business concerns.

Methodology for Reverse Supply Chain Design in Consumer Electronics Industry
S Rajagopalan
Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 2006

Closed-Loop Supply Chain Models with Product Remanufacturing
C. Savaskan, S. Bhattacharya, and L. Van Wassenhove
in Management Science, 2004 (50/2).

Combinatorial Optimization and Green Logistics
A. Sbihi and R.W. Eglese
in 4OR: A Quarterly Journal of Operations Research, vol 5(2), pp 99-116, 2007.

Closed-Loop Supply Chains for Spent Batteries
F. Schultmann, B. Engels, and O. Renz
in Interfaces
November-December 2003
Link to summary

Integrated planning of acquisition, disassembly and bulk recycling: A case study on electronic scrap recovery
T. Spengler, M. Ploog and M. Schroter
in OR Spectrum, 2003; 25(3): 413-442.
(cited by R. Zuidwijk and H. Krikke)

Energy Performance of LEED® for New Construction Buildings
C. Turner and M. Frankel
New Building Institute report, March 4, 2008. Available here.
Notes: See related post.

The sustainability debate
A. Wilkinson, M. Hill, and P. Gollan
in International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 2001, Vol. 21, Issue 12, 1492 – 1502

Strategic response to EEE returns: Product eco-design or new recovery processes?
R. Zuidwijk and H. Krikke
in European Journal of Operational Research
Link to summary


See the posts archived under the “Conferences” category (click here). These mainly include lists of relevant presentations from INFORMS, EURO, and MCDM meetings.


Leave a Comment
  1. weee recycling / Oct 8 2007 3:22 am

    Very useful references – thank you for sharing.

  2. or4green / Oct 28 2007 2:04 pm

    You’re welcome.


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