USD Hosts Sustainability Experts at the 5th Annual Early-Career Sustainable Operations Workshop

Monday, March 18, 2019TOPICS: Conferences and WorkshopsResearch

A professor at the USD Early-Career Sustainable Operations workshop points to a powerpoint as he talks to the audience
begin quoteAt the heart of this conference were in-depth discussions on topics ranging from combating climate change in the agriculture industry to policy implications of rooftop solar panels, and environmental impact in the fast fashion industry.

Over 50 scholars and academics from the United States, Asia and Europe convened at the University of San Diego for the 5th Annual Early-Career Sustainable Operations workshop this past month. The event, which was hosted for the very first time on the West Coast, brought together early-career scholars and industry speakers to deliver insightful presentations covering a broad range of supply chain sustainability topics and provided an opportunity for early career researchers to present their recent work to peers from all over the world. The program committee, spearheaded by USD School of Business Associate Professor of Operations Management Daniel Lin, included UC Irvine Assistant Professor of Operations and Decisions Technologies Luyi Gui, and UC Riverside Assistant Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management Adem Orsdemir.

According to Professor Daniel Lin, “The workshop aligns with USD’s commitment to sustainability. At USD, we also take pride in serving the academic and practical communities. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity to help scholars in their early career to solicit valuable feedback on their research. It was also a great venue to showcase academic achievement to practitioners.”

Initiated by professors of operations management, Atalay Atasu and Beril Toktay, at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business in 2015, the Early-Career Sustainable Operations workshop has been a fruitful platform for both academics and practitioners to network and share cutting-edge research on sustainability. At the heart of this conference were in-depth discussions on topics ranging from combating climate change and emission management in the agriculture industry to policy and environmental implications of rooftop solar panels, new business models for emerging economies, and environmental impact and product design in the fast fashion industry.

The workshop also featured three industry speakers with practical insights. Charlie Redden, director of supply chain management at Taylor Guitars, highlighted how Taylor Guitars uses vertical integration with an upstream ebony woodmill as a key enabler to improving the sustainability of ebony’s harvesting practice in Africa.

“We realized something is wrong when we discovered nine out of ten ebony trees were cut and left along simply due to a different color. These are trees over two-hundred years old and the current practice is apparently unsustainable,” shared Redden. Taylor Guitars has since ventured into using ebony in their flagship guitar model, a material that was once discarded simply due to its different color. Now the company also extends its sustainable efforts to include both waste reducing and replanting.

Investors are increasingly emphasizing companies’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance. Dana Arnold, COO at Measurabl, shared how Measurabl leveraged investors’ increasing emphasis on companies’ ESG performance by offering an easy-to-use solution to monitor commercial buildings’ environmental impact, such as utility usage and carbon emission. Lastly, Brian Gallagher, senior project development analyst at SunPower, discussed various challenges faced by utility companies with the increasing popularity of rooftop solar panels fueled by both decreasing installation cost and higher energy-generating efficiency.

The USD School of Business was proud to sponsor this workshop with record attendance this year, highlighting its commitment to academic research that emphasizes sustainable solutions to improve business operations, as well as make a positive impact on society. This workshop was also sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine.

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658