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The growing understanding and recognition of the importance of sustainability is driving supply chains towards sustainability aiming at building sustainable supply chains.

Sustainable supply chains be described as complex network systems of entities that manage products from suppliers to customers and returns while considering simultaneously social, environmental and economic objectives. But being supply chain complex systems the enclosure of environmental and social goals simultaneously with the traditional supply chain goal – profit – is a challenge.

One way of addressing such challenge is by developing tools that can act as a support to the supply chain decisions makers. In this talk the components of such tools using a system approach is discussed. Optimisation based models are presented, which model the different sustainability goals while accounting for supply chain characteristics and constraints, allowing the design and planning of sustainable supply chains. A solution of compromise among economic, environmental, and social objectives is trailed.

Perspectives and important challenges, when dealing with sustainable supply chain, are identified and discussed motivating research in the area.


Ana Barbosa-Póvoa is a Full Professor in Operations and Logistics, at the Engineering and Management Department of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon. She holds a PhD from the Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, and her research focus is on developing a comprehensive understanding of complex problems in supply chains and operations management, supported by novel and sound engineering systems models and techniques. Sustainability, resilience, uncertainty and risk in the design and planning of supply chains are among her main research addressed domains. Ana has created and coordinates the research group in Operations Management and Logistics (OpLog) at the Centre for Management Studies of IST. Her research has led to several national and international awards. She is an editor of the Computers and Chemical Engineering Journal and a member of the several editorial boards namely the European Journal of Operational Research, the International Journal of Production Economics, TOP and Operations Research Perspectives. She is a founder member of the Euro Working Group in Sustainable Supply Chains of the European Association of Operational Research. She is also a found member of the EURO forum Women in Society doing Operational Research – WISDOM Forum.

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