On April 5, 2021, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it had awarded a grant to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, with Scheller College of Business Associate Professor of Operations Management Basak Kalkanci as the sole principal investigator, for a project, “Sustainable Supply Chains via Data-Driven Risk Analytics.”
According to the project description, global supply chains “continue to be plagued by persistent social and environmental responsibility violations, such as child and/or forced labor, hazardous working environments, excessive overtime, poor wages, and pollution.” The violations not only pose societal and environmental burdens but also create significant economic inefficiencies for firms—with impacts ranging from fines to brand damage. To make a compelling business case for sustainable supply chains, the financial impacts of social and environmental responsibility violations must be quantified. The objective of the NSF-sponsored research is to couple data analytics techniques with datasets on social and/or environmental violations of suppliers to generate the knowledge base needed for firms to proactively manage responsibility in their supply chains.
Kalkanci, an affiliated faculty member of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”), was the recipient of the 2019 Emerging Sustainability Scholar Award from the Alliance for Corporate Sustainability (ARCS). She also received the Paul Kleindorfer Award in Sustainability from the Production and Operations Management Society in 2020. Her work was highlighted in the Center’s publication series, Sustainable Business Insights: Research Briefs for Practitioners. The brief, “When Do Public Supplier Lists Improve Profits and Sustainability Goals?,” published in March 2021, summarizes results of a study that shed light on how, under certain conditions, a firm’s commitment to publishing a list of approved suppliers motivates suppliers to work towards eliminating safety, environmental, or other responsibility violations. Publishing such a list can also increase the buying firm’s expected profit. Kalkanci presented a talk on the research in the Center’s Spring 2021 Business, Environment, and Society Speaker Series. (View a recording of the talk.) Kalkanci and her co-author, Erica L. Plambeck, recently penned a Just Style op-ed on implications of their supplier transparency research for the apparel industry.