Sustainable Production and Consumption

Sustainable Production and Consumption

Focus of our research

This research team focuses on the ultimate goals of living within environmental limits and the attainment of social justice, through the delivery of responsible business and ethical consumption practices. Our work focuses upon areas such as waste reduction, resource and energy efficiency, sustainable community and consumer behaviours, corporate values and supply chain governance. Our research adopts a multi-disciplinary approach and is framed by the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals through the interlinked concepts of the Green Economy, the Circular Economy, the Biodiversity Economy and the Sharing Economy.

We have established projects focusing on:

Sustainability within horticultural value chains - We have interlinked projects examining issues such as standards and certifications in cut-flower supply chains; food waste management within retailer supply chains; consumption habits within the coffee sector and the impacts of sustainable practices upon business performance.

Sustainable operations and supply chain management - We emphasise the issue of sustainability throughout the supply chain, from sourcing and production, right through to the delivery of goods and services via various logistics channels.

Our work is international in focus, with well-established research links operating in South Africa, Indonesia and China. In South Africa we have developed strong relationships with local stakeholders focusing upon the local wildflower export sector, the development of retailer sustainability standards and online sustainability training for participants in fruit, wine and flower production. We also provide monitoring and evaluation support for conservation and social development organisations in the Western Cape. In China and Indonesia, we collaborate with several top universities (Chongqing, Universitas Indonesia, Institut Teknologi Bandung and the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember) to work on various projects focusing on food supply chains, Circular Economy implementation in manufacturing industries and green logistics and transport.

The cluster enjoys strong links with industry, social enterprises and NGOs. Our industrial collaborators include, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Bombardier, Unilever, Alliance Boots, the NHS and OHL, MMUK, Tesco, Woolworths (South Africa), and a wide range of SMEs.

Core Cluster Themes

There are four over-arching themes for the cluster:

  1. Sustainable communities and consumers
  2. Moving beyond compliance in ethical and sustainable sourcing
  3. Addressing strategic business challenges in the supply chain
  4. Implenting the circular economy on the path to a sustainable future

Read more in our Research Cluster Brochure.

Key Researchers

The cluster is led by Dr. David Bek, Professor Benny Tjahjono and Professor Ming Lim. The Cluster is fortunate to be able to draw upon a range of skills and expertise from within its internationally acclaimed team of researchers, PhD candidates and visiting scholars.

Professor Benny Tjahjono

Benny Tjahjono is Professor of Supply Chain Management focusing on sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management. He has a particular interest in the contemporary applications of Simulation Modelling and many emerging research areas related to manufacturing systems, such as the “servitization” of manufacturing. His background in electronics enables him to devise an innovative method to integrate asset condition-based monitoring to support operational planning.

He has a strong track record in securing research grants and is part of a consortium of seven European universities recently awarded the Horizon2020 MSCA Innovative Training Network grant from the European Union worth nearly €4mil.

Professor Ming Lim

Ming K Lim is Professor of Supply Chain and Operations Management at Coventry University. His research is multi-disciplinary, integrating engineering, computer science, information technology and operations management. Most of his recent research work has revolved around Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, incorporated with Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, cloud computing and big data analysis.

His other research expertise includes sustainable supply chain management, green/low carbon logistics, lean and agile manufacturing, responsive and reconfigurable manufacturing/ supply chain, meta-heuristics, cost and system optimisation, system modelling and simulation.

Ming has extensive experience in supply chain management research with expertise in multi-partner projects funded by EPSRC, InnovateUK, EU FP7 and individual companies.

Dr David Bek

David is a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Business in Society and is co-leader of the Sustainable Production and Consumption cluster. He is currently engaged with projects focusing upon the global cut flower industry, with a specific focus upon the Cape Flora industry in South Africa.

David has worked on projects which have deployed a cultural economy approach to enable understanding of the ethical trade within commodity supply. He has evaluated ethical trade and biodiversity conservation programmes for the South African fruit industry.

He has experience of working in a range of institutional settings including local government, private consultancy, small business and university Geography Departments and Business Schools. Such diverse experiences have enabled him to develop broad ranging networks and inherent understandings of the dynamics of multi-stakeholder environments.

Visiting Professor Matthew Cook

Professor Matthew Cook is Professor of Innovation in the School of Engineering and Innovation at the Open University. Matthew’s research interests are in innovation and sustainability, with specific reference to two topic areas: 1) the development of service economies and the opportunities this provides to achieving more sustainable production and consumption via product service system innovation; 2) the development of smart cities and the opportunities this provides to improve the sustainability of systems. He has generated both theoretical and policy-relevant insights for actors from a variety of sectors, including food and farming, manufacturing, government and utility sectors.

Matthew has significant experience of qualitative research methods, including longitudinal and comparative case study analysis, ethnography, discourse and frame analysis. He has both led and contributed to a variety of research projects.

PhD Opportunities

The Sustainable Production and Consumption research cluster is interested in supervising research that explores sustainable production and consumption. We welcome topics that take a ‘whole supply approach’, examining sustainable activities, attitudes and behaviours at different points in the lifecycle of products, and work around interventions and changing behaviour that go beyond existing approaches to changing consumption patterns and ethical consumption.  We are particularly keen in enhancing our research in sustainability and innovation in supply chain operations. For instance, at present we are exploring the innovative use of modern technology in improving supply chain efficiency and green practices in a complex and dynamic business environment to achieve a sustainability agenda and targets.  

  • Innovative Technology in the Circular Economy: Bridging the gap from the current state to achieve and manage the Circular Economy through innovative technology and process re-engineering (Prof Ming Lim).
  • Café Culture: Rising café societies? Business diversity, sustainability, consumer cultures and community creation (Dr Jennifer Ferreira).
  • Sustainable Businesses: Investigating the links between good ethical/environmental practices and productivity in the South African horticultural sector (Dr David Bek).

For all enquiries in the first instance, please contact Dr. David Bek (david.bek@coventry.ac.uk).

Guidance on Coventry University’s PGR eligibility and application process can be found here. 

More detail on the Centre for Business in Society can be found here or contact the Centre’s PGR Director, Dr Jason Begley (jason.begley@coventry.ac.uk).