With recommendations for education, research industry and policy

The industrial system has been responsible for raising the quality of life of peoples around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear however, that the current system is creating unintended and serious consequences for the environment at a global level. Change on a significant scale is required urgently.

It is now widely accepted that manufacturing industries are having a major influence on the deterioration of the global environment. Some experts suggest the industrial system can account for 30% or more of greenhouse gas generation in industrialised countries. Businesses, governments and consumers are beginning to react, but the complexity of the problem and diversity of views, make it difficult to identify widely acceptable courses of action. This confusion occurs at a time when the window of opportunity for action is rapidly closing. The academic community has the opportunity, indeed arguably the responsibility, to contribute to the discussion and to the formulation of courses of action.


Whilst climate change and environmental experts have made substantial contributions, there are major opportunities for academics concerned with the design and operation of the industrial system to use their particular expertise. This paper therefore seeks to highlight opportunities for the academic community to contribute to the development of sustainable, global industrial systems. It does not provide all the answers but hopefully provides a platform for an informed debate about the future shape of these systems, and identifies possible routes to achieve them.


The report, published in September 2009, calls for a collaborative effort by academics, teachers, industrialists and policy makers to create a sustainable, global industrial system. The report's lead authors were Professor 

Towards a sustainable industrial system report cover

Steve Evans then of Cranfield University, Professor Margareta Norell Bergendahl of the KTH Royal Institute of  

Technology, Sweden, Professor Mike Gregory of Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing and Professor Chris Ryan of the University of Melbourne.


It builds on discussions at the International Manufacturing Professors' Symposium and the UK Manufacturing Professors' Forum. Leading professors from the fields of design, production, operations management and service science gathered with thought leaders from industry and professional organisations to attempt to chart the route to a more integrated and mature understanding of sustainable industrial systems. The report presents cases where industry is already taking action towards more sustainable systems.


The report can be downloaded here [NB File size is approx. 1 MB].


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