Making real progress toward more sustainable societies using decision support models and tools: introduction to the special volume
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AutorGonzalez, Ernesto D.R.S.; Sarkis, Joseph; Huisingh, Donald; Huatuco, Luisa H.; Maculan, Nelson; Montoya-Torres, Jairo R.; Almeida, Cecilia M.V.B. de
Academics, politicians, professionals and the general public are aware that without stewarding our planet's natural resources, man is on the pathway towards a global collapse. Over the next three decades mankind is expected to consume an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times current consumption. Social welfare and human wellbeing are threatened with the scarcity of natural resources; consequently, nations and their societies are also at risk of collapse. The readers of this special volume will find a compilation of scholarly research papers with real-life applications that take the challenge of proposing decision-making models and tools to address sustainability challenges in integrative ways. The main focus of this special volume is integration of sustainability dimensions (economic, social, environmental, ethical and time) into decision-support models and to identify pathways to achieve more sustainable societies. The majority of the research in this special volume, 74 percent, focuses on environmental and economic dimensions. Only 26 percent integrated social dimensions with them. Methodologically, a range of mathematical models and tools are presented to support prescriptive decision-making, with some descriptive models integrated, to support decision-makers in solving practical problems across a variety of industries and scenarios. The breadth and complexity of issues facing organizations and society requires innovative applications of these methodologies. The concerns cover a spectrum ranging from energy to solid waste management. A multitude of levels from broad-based policy concerns to strategic inter-organizational sustainable supply chain management and significantly, shop floor operational issues are also covered. The variety of problems and solutions exemplifies the potential for modelling and operations research for addressing some of our world's most pressing concerns.