An Investigation of Sustainability Metrics in Industry to Aid Product Design, Production, and Distribution Processes

Open Access
Shelton, Jordan D.
Area of Honors:
Industrial Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Gul Kremer, Thesis Supervisor
  • Paul Griffin, Honors Advisor
  • Sustainability
  • Manufacturing
  • Supply Chain
  • Distribution
  • Metrics
In recent years, resource depletion and amplified social pressures have increased environmental awareness to the point where companies must consider production and supply decisions from both ecological and economic points of view. Finding a way to quantitatively measure the sustainability of various production and distribution alternatives would greatly benefit industry; however, to date, no single measure of sustainability has been universally accepted. Through an analysis of literature and current practices, this research aims to develop a refined sustainability index based on what have been deemed to be the most important and influential metrics available. The chosen collection of metrics was identified through research, at which point, the metrics discovered were streamlined and quantified for easy implementation in industry. A number of industry representatives, both domestically and abroad, were presented with the matrix of metrics and their subsequent descriptions, formulas, and complexity indices. Upon review, these representatives provided their feedback about the feasibility, cost, and benefits of implementing measurement and tracking systems within their corporations. Through statistical analysis of these responses, a comprehensive set of metrics is identified and recommended for industry use. The use of such a system of metrics allows companies measure their progress as they work towards implementing environmental improvement efforts.