The emergence of sustainable manufacturing practices
Journal article, 2011

Sustainable manufacturing appears to be a rapidly developing field and it would be expected that there is a growing body of knowledge in this area. Initial examination of the literature shows evidence of sustainable work in the areas of product design, supply chain, production technology and waste avoidance activities. Manufacturers publish metrics showing significant improvements in environmental performance at high level but information on how these improvements are achieved is sparse. Examining peer-reviewed publications focused on production operations there are few cases reporting details and there has been little prior analysis of published sustainable manufacturing activity. Moreover, the mismatch between academic and practitioner language leads to challenges in interpretation. This article captures and analyses the types of sustainable manufacturing activities through literature review. In turn, this can help manufacturers to access examples of good practice and help academics identify areas for future research.

case studies

literature review

best practice

sustainable manufacturing


Mélanie Despeisse

Cranfield University

Fatou Mbaye

Cranfield University

Peter D. Ball

Cranfield University

Andy Levers

Cranfield University

Production Planning and Control

0953-7287 (ISSN) 1366-5871 (eISSN)

Vol. 23 5 354-376

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Manufacturing, Surface and Joining Technology

Environmental Management

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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