Projects & Publications

Current Projects

Towards Sustainable Palm Oil: The viability of entire industries depends heavily on social and environmental resources. One of the clearest examples of this is in the palm oil industry. Rapid growth in demand has resulted in high rates of deforestation and deeply inequitable social conditions in highly opaque supply chains. Major users of palm oil are highly invested in increasing the portion of sustainable palm oil that they source. However, an unclear and ineffective governance system prevents effective action and limited capacity for traceability to source bars faster progress. In addidiont, there is tentativeness by companies to disclose their work on sustainable palm oil. In this project, we are researching each of these components to identify the barriers in sustainable sourcing of Palm oil through an examination of governance, traceability approaches, and disclosure of practices in the palm oil supply chain. Existing research in cooperation with the Malaysia Institute of Supply Chain Innovation and P&G Initiative on Palm Oil. This research will have implications and follow up research extrapolating findings to other industries experiencing similar issues such as minerals and cocoa.
Researchers: Dr. Alexis Bateman (MIT), Professor Yossi Sheff (MIT), Yin Jin Lee (MIT PhD Student), Professor Asad Ata (Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation)

Technology Innovations For Supply Chain Traceability: This project is an investigation into technology innovations for supply traceability. Beginning with a broad review of existing practices, best practices, and newly emerging technologies – this research seeks to examine the viability of emerging digital options such as blockchain and other tracing technologies in increasing the visibility and traceability into deeply opaque supply chains. There are a variety of approaches that range based on breadth of information, depth of criteria, regional diversity but often limited by scalability. Pilots on viability proposed for late 2018 early 2019.
Researchers: Dr. Alexis Bateman (MIT), Dr. Inma Borella (MIT)

Organizational Change for Sustainability: This research focuses on the fundamental strategies and techniques required for organizational change to embed sustainability across the supply chain. Through a combination of interviews, surveys, and roundtables, research to obtain a deeper understanding on how to embed sustainability into large organizations, how to transition from “eco-efficiency” efforts into a broader systems thinking and, most importantly, how to prioritize the various dimensions of sustainability combining strategic goals with effective approaches and internal and external stakeholder engagement.
Researchers: Dr. Alexis Bateman (MIT)


Past Projects

Balancing Green, MIT Press by Professor Yossi Sheffi And Dr. Edgar Blanco
This business directed book presents a balanced view of integrating sustainable practices into the supply chain while maintaining efficiency and profitability. The book presents a broad review of challenges, methods for assessment, best practices, and existing gaps. Looking across all industries, up and down the supply chain, over 100 companies and organizations have contributed through field visits, interviews, conferences and roundtables. Combining both academic and business perspectives, the book offers deep insight into the opportunities and challenges of reducing environmental impact while maintaining or improving profit in the supply chain. 
Lead Researcher: Alexis Bateman

Evaluating the True Cost of Water
A large multi-national Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, uses water as an essential ingredient in its products and as a critical component in the manufacturing processes in its operations worldwide. In many instances, the price of water does not reflect market dynamics insofar as water is cheaper where there is low availability and vice versa. Business continuity costs due to poor water quality or water shortages may far outweigh the direct costs CPG company incurs in purchasing water. Taking such costs into account, in order to optimize water use and build resilience within its manufacturing operations, this project created a framework that calculates a comprehensive value of water that incorporates CPG company's business disruption costs at any of the 250+ manufacturing sites around the world. 
Rishi Gohil, Maria Mendez Vivez

Food Waste Startup: Spoiler Alert 
A startup founded by Ricky Ashenfelter & Emily Malina, Spoiler Alert is a B2B foodtech solution to help businesses manage surplus food and organic waste. Reduce wasted food leads to improved margin and & fights food insecurity.

Designing a Biodiesel Supply Chain in Mexico City
A System Design and Management Thesis focusing on the preliminary design and routing of a biodiesel supply chain in Mexico City.

Smart Way & Transporte Limpio
A comparison of the U.S. SmartWay program, an EPA public private initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by freight transportation of corporate supply chains, with the Mexican spinoff, Transporte Limpio. While the EPA SmartWay program has grown rapidly in the last ten years since its founding, Transporte Limpio has failed to take off in Mexico. The project focuses on the barriers preventing successful implementation of a program of this type in Mexico.

Truck Drivers Quality of Life
There is a growing challenge in the retention of drivers due to the low quality of life of long haul trucking. This project examined current and best practices to improve the quality of life for truckers to increase driver retention for D4U, a trucking company based in Florida.  

Ethanol Supply Chain & Industry Overview: More Harm than Good?
This research project examined key aspects of ethanol including its material characteristics, supply chain, and government legislation that affects its market demand and availability. In addition, it discusses the social and environmental impacts of the growing biofuel industry stemming from government mandates. The goal of the project was to investigate existing studies and evaluate the aggregated findings to determine if ethanol provides a net benefit to society. 


  • Bozic, D. & A. Bateman (2017). Social Transparency in Global Apparel Supply Chains: Legal and Technological Influences. In Eco Friendly and Fair:  Fast Fashion and Consumer Behavior. Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Major contributor to: Sheffi, Y., & Blanco, E. (2017). Balancing Green. MIT Press.
  • Bateman, A. & K. Setavoraphan (2017). Urban Adaptations and Innovations in Bangkok, Thailand: A Case Study of 7-Eleven. In Reaching 50 Million Nanostores: Retail Distribution in Emerging Megacities. Edited by E. Blanco & J. Fransoo.
  • Bateman, A. (2017). Digital Audits as a Tactical and Strategic Management Resource. Sloan Management Review.
  • Bateman, A. (2017). A Clearer Picture of Supply Chain Transparency. Supply Chain Management Review. January 2017.
  • Bateman, A. (2017). Why Most Supply Chain Management Risk Management Strategies Don’t Hold Water. Sloan Management Review. January 2017.
  • Bateman, A., Blanco. E., & Y. Sheffi (2016). Disclosing and Reporting Environmental Sustainability of Supply Chains. In Sustainable Supply Chains. Springer. Edited by Y. Bouchery, T. Tan., J. Fransoo, & C. Corbett.
  • Bateman, A. & Y. Sheffi. (2016). How a Lack of Systemic Thinking Threatens a Sustainable U.S. Energy Policy. Sloan Management Review.
  • Bateman, A. (2016). New Supplier Strategies Raise Important Corporate Questions. Wall Street Journal.
  • Bateman, A. (2015). Tracking the Value of Traceability. Supply Chain Management Review. November 2015.
  • Bateman, A. (2015). Labeling Aside, Companies Need Transparent Supply Chains. Wall Street Journal.
  • Bateman, A. (2014). A meta-analysis of global eco-labels. MIT Engineering Systems Working Paper.