Systems Science


The Systems Science Working Group is comprised of a diverse group of participants who work collaboratively to better understand the impact of the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry as a whole, rather than one particular product category, and examine the commonalities that exist within the life cycles of different consumer products.

Research Projects

Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Lean Logistics & Retailing for Consumer Goods

Determining the Eco-Efficiency performance of leading lean practices such as Just-in-Time, Postponement, Cross-Docking, and Vendor Managed Inventory. Providing theoretical and practical insights based on a discrete simulation approach, identifies eco-efficiency hot spots across the supply chain given different consumer goods and retail formats.

Econometric research using supply chain clustering techniques to identify high impact product categories and sectors

A partnership of Duke University and the University of California Santa Barbara, researchers are using Economic Input-Output Modeling to evaluate the macro-scale environmental impacts of consumer products in the United States and in Europe to initialize a prioritization of product categories SMRS’s. This will also provide a platform to analyze how interventions through reducing product category impacts can benefit broader environmental impacts in different geographies over time.

Data collection and the development of models, which can calculate the impact of technological or behavioral change, for the Consumer Use & Post Consumer Use life cycle phases

Duke University and Cambridge University are working to research environmental impacts resulting from consumer-use and post consumer-use phases. The initial focus is on energy, climate change, water, resources and solid wastes both in the United States and the European Union.


  • BASF
  • Earth Friendly Products
  • EPA
  • Henkel
  • Monsanto
  • Novozymes
  • SCS
  • Tetra Pak
  • Unilever
  • USDA
  • Waste Management

Working Group Contact

Jay Golden

Systems Science Manager

Send an Email

Quick Facts
  • As a rule of thumb, about 10% of supply-chain links are responsible for over 80% of total supply-chain impact (Suh 2010).
  • The carbon footprint of a product will increase by an average factor of 2.5 if it is produced in China, rather than being manufactured domestically (Peters & Hertwich 2006).
  • More than 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined in the design phase (Spangenberg & Lorek 2002).