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We enrich current sustainability research to develop cutting-edge ideas and technologies that solve the toughest sustainability challenges for today's businesses.

A sustainable future requires innovations and solutions driven by rigorous, fact-based research. The faculty associated with the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business address relevant questions in their research, teaching, and industry engagement. They generate high-impact research that informs the complex challenges and business decisions facing managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Our faculty work with businesses to understand these challenges, explore opportunities, and test ideas. We encourage you to connect with the Center to discuss such opportunities. Our areas of sustainability-related expertise include:

Business Value, Innovation, & Competitive Advantage

Strategies and innovations that promote long-term economic, environmental, and social value

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Operations, Supply Chain Management, & the Circular Economy

Operations strategies that reduce risk and create value by capitalizing across entire value chains and creating new models

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Law, Ethics, & Transparency

Strategies and approaches for responsible decision making, reporting, and addressing regulations locally and globally

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Scheller College faculty members represent an impressive depth of expertise and activity in sustainability. Within their own fields of study—from operations and finance to business ethics and marketing—faculty members investigate numerous aspects of sustainability, including socially responsible investing, environmental economics, brand value, and sustainable operations in their research and teaching. This expertise, combined with Georgia Tech's strong science and technology capabilities, creates an ecosystem with enormous potential for long-term educational, economic, and social impact.

Business Value, Innovation, & Competitive Advantage

Companies increasingly realize sustainability can be a source of advantage in the global market. Those that incorporate sustainability risks and opportunities into their strategic planning and innovations will likely see advantages through a variety of sources, including reduced waste, improved resource efficiency, new markets, and enhanced reputation.1 The first two sources are quantifiable, but the second two are more difficult to measure. Our faculty are tackling this challenge by studying the question from a variety of perspectives.

    • Sudheer Chava
      • Does a firm's environmental profile affect its cost of equity and debt capital?
      • What are the best ways for banks to incorporate social and environmental considerations in lending?
    • Omar Rodriguez-Vila
      • What is the best way for companies to embed sustainability attributes into consumer product offerings?
      • How do environmental and social sustainability benefit brands?
    • Karthik Ramachandran
      • How can a firm design products that lead to environmental benefits and greater corporate profits?
      • What is the right balance between scale and variety for socially responsible businesses?
    • Ravi Subramanian
      • How does the stock market react when companies announce they are adopting comprehensive environmental plans, beyond that which is required by law?
      • Given the regulatory context in which firms operate, what is the relationship between firms' environmental and economic performance?

1 Sustainability: The "Embracers" Seize Advantage. Findings from the 2010 Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Project. MIT Sloane Management Review, Winter 2011.

Operations, Supply Chain Management, & the Circular Economy

Over the past decade, the risks and rewards of sustainability have perhaps been most apparent in a company's operations. When examining risks, companies should consider sustainability within their own operations as well as within their supply chain; those that don't may face regulatory fines and public relations problems, and will likely see competitors who have adopted sustainable operations outpace them on cost and waste reductions. On the reward side, sustainable practices can lead companies to increased efficiencies and new revenue streams via secondary markets for recycled/repurposed products.

Our faculty are exploring key questions affecting operations, from basic supply chain issues to developing closed-loop supply chains.

    • Atalay Atasu
      • How do different forces affect the profitability of product take-back operations? These factors can include consumer perceptions of reuse/remanufacturing, product design choices, and the supply constraints unique to the product take-back context.
    • Karthik Ramachandran
      • What are the strategic measures a firm can take to improve its ability to recover value from product returns?
      • How can a firm manage its product line when the quality of traded-in products are highly variable?
    • Ravi Subramanian
      • Is product design a possible strategy for original equipment manufacturers to reduce costs when products return for remanufacturing in closed-loop supply chains?
      • What are the key market factors that influence the price differences between new and remanufactured products?
    • Beril Toktay
      • Why have some original equipment manufacturers (e.g., IBM and Caterpillar) made great strides in incorporating remanufacturing into their business models but many others have not? More specifically, what are the management challenges that prevent companies from incorporating remanufacturing into their business models?
      • In the IT industry, are there ways to bolster the secondary market for remanufactured products? What forces interfere with a robust secondary market?
Law, Ethics, & Transparency

Companies are increasingly considering the role of ethics and human rights in their business models. Beyond the voluntary decisions to make changes, companies also face numerous regulatory requirements that affect the way they do business, in particular new accounting and reporting practices. Our faculty are exploring these and other issues that exist at the intersection of law, ethics, and transparency.

    • Atalay Atasu
      • What operational problems affect firms facing product take-back legislation?
      • What are the social and environmental implications of take-back legislation?
      • How does legislation affect product design and fairness?
      • What are the business risks associated with upcoming environmental legislation in different parts of the world?
    • Lucien Dhooge
      • How do ethics and human rights considerations factor into business activities? What are the implications to firm value or strategy?
      • How do the various disclosure requirements affect firms? How do companies best plan for the potential increase in future disclosure requirements based on sustainability related trends such as climate change?
    • Ravi Subramanian
      • How do emissions caps and Extended Producer Responsibility regulations affect managerial decisions such as technology investments, product design, production and pricing, and supply chain coordination?
    • Beril Toktay
      • What implementation mechanisms can help maximize the benefits from Design of Product End-of-Life Legislation?
    • Jeff Hales
      • What standards should companies use to compete and improve performance on sustainability?
      • How should corporations best disclose material sustainability issues for the benefit of investors and the public?
Social Performance and Human Rights Series

How Did Markets React to the Rana Plaza Disaster? | Brian W. Jacobs, Vinod R. Singhal | Published in the Journal of Operations Management, 2017