ORL-32806 Sustainability Analysis


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work4
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PM Slegers
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PM Slegers
dr. M van der Voort
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PM Slegers
dr. M van der Voort

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Preferably students have taken the course ORL-20306 Decision Science 1 or similar, and in addition the course BMO-26806 Circular Economy or the minor Biobased Sciences (WUBBS), or have general knowledge on the biobased and circular economy.
At the start of the course students take a self-test (duration, 30 minutes). Advice is given on which topics to study in more depth in preparation modules available on Brightspace. This preparation is done to ensure that all students have a common understanding of basic concepts related to sustainability, and are able to perform basic calculations.

Continuation courses:

Interesting courses to combine the knowledge learned in Sustainability Analysis with:

BCT-32306 Advanced Biorefinery;
FPE-30806 Sustainable Food and Bioprocessing;
ORL-30306 Decision Science 2;
ORL-30806 Operations Research and Logistics.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.  See Academic Year.(http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm) -> Registration for Courses.
Sustainability is a growing concern in the design and operation of many production and supply chain activities. Next to the traditional economic concerns, companies therefore also increasingly consider the environmental and social impacts of their activities. To support these initiatives, and to improve the related decision-making processes, a solid foundation of quantitative methods for sustainability analysis is required.

In this course, you learn how to systematically and quantitatively evaluate sustainability, and to optimise and redesign sustainable supply chains. Definitions and concepts of sustainability are explained and discussed. You will learn how to quantify the sustainability of products and production chains, both for existing supply chains as well as for novel, re-designed, or circular supply chains. Such sustainability assessment involves the selection of key sustainability performance indicators, the collection of data (partially from databases), the quantification of sustainability performance indicators, the benchmarking of supply chains using methods like data envelopment analysis, and the comparison and discussion of the results leading to re-design strategies. In this final comparison and discussion special attention will be given to multi-objective evaluation using (quantitative) operations management methods and stakeholder inclusion.

The course is intended for all MSc students from Wageningen with an interest in sustainability and an affinity with (decision-sciences-based) quantitative analysis. The quantitative approach to sustainability analysis is a key characteristic of the course and students with a background in operations research/decision science and/or process engineering are more likely to successfully complete this course.
Commonly, students are enrolled in the Master Programmes Biobased Sciences, Management Economics and Consumer Sciences (track ORL), Biosystems Engineering, or Biotechnology or Environmental Sciences.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain definitions related to sustainability;
- collect data from databases for sustainability analysis;
- identify and quantify key sustainability performance indicators and interpret the results from sustainability assessments;
- perform a multi-objective sustainability evaluation;
- analyse and optimize re-design strategies using quantitative operations management methods;
- report a sustainability analysis.


Lectures, tutorials, computer practical, problem based learning (case study), group discussion, selfstudy.


- participation in case study and group discussion are mandatory;
- presentation and report on case study results (35%);
- written test with a combination of closed and open questions (65%).
The report should be passed with at least a 6.0, the exam with 5.0.
The case study report is valid for 2 years.
See Course Guide for additional rules and regulations.


Book: A hitch hiker's guide to LCA (Baumann and Tillman), reader/handouts. Additional material will be announced before the start of the course.

Keuze voor: MBTBiotechnologyMScD: Spec. D - Process Technology3WD
MBTBiotechnologyMScE: Spec. E - Environmental and Biobased Biotechnology3WD
MBEBiosystems EngineeringMSc3WD
MBSBiobased SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Biobased and Circular Economy3WD