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INSEAD’s research on sustainable circular models among the most influential papers in last 30 years


INSEAD’s research on sustainable circular models among the most influential papers in last 30 years

INSEAD’s research on sustainable circular models among the most influential papers in last 30 years

Studies by INSEAD Professors Atalay Atasu and Luk Van Wassenhove have been recognised by members of the Product Operations Management Society for their impact.

Their papers are named among the top 10 most influential papers published in the first 30 years of the Production and Operations Management (POM) journal. They were voted for by POM society members based on an original list of 150 of the most cited papers since the publications launch in 1992.

Emeritus Professor Van Wassenhove is a co-author of two papers that made the top 10. His 2005 paper, “Sustainable Operations Management” looked at the growing awareness of the impact of businesses on the environment and resources. The article explored this challenge in the context of operations management, looking at areas like designing eco-friendly products, efficient and sustainable operations, and reusing materials.

His second entry in the top 10: “Product Reuse Economics in Closed‐Loop Supply Chain” was co-authored with INSEAD professor Atalay Atasu, Academic Director of the INSEAD Sustainable Business Initiative and Dan Guide from Smeal College of Business, Penn State.

Published in 2008, the paper examined existing research on whether reusing products makes good business sense. The authors concluded that there was a pressing need for further studies to explore real-world practices and that future research should focus on consumer behaviour, how to increase adoption of reusable products and the value of producers getting products back.

“It’s very rewarding/humbling to see this paper recognised for its impact among our peers,” commented Emeritus Professor Van Wassenhove. “However, it’s perhaps more important that this topic continues to get the attention it deserves as we move towards a more sustainable society.”

In fact, Atasu and Van Wassenhove, who are members of INSEAD’s Technology and Operations Management Department, have continued to build knowledge in the area of understanding how circularity can be put into practice in the real world.

Their research has explored everything from issues around integrating circularity for producers of white goods such as washing machines, the unseen challenges in the move towards solar and wind energy production and how to replicate the zero waste goal achieved on the Greek island of Tilos.

“Congratulations to Atalay and Luk for this well-deserved recognition. Their important research is just one example of INSEAD’s ongoing commitment to research impact and helping to find solutions to the pressing challenges faced by business and society today.” Lily Fang, Dean of Research and Innovation.

INSEAD faculty have published over 100 papers on topics related to SDG in the last five years, ranging from sustainable investing and the economic value of nature to gender equality, carbon budgets, income equity and AI’s impact on sustainability.

INSEAD also created 14 sustainability-related cases in the 2022/23 academic year.  In total, the Business School for the World has now produced over 178 teaching cases on sustainability, which are now used by business schools around the world.



Atasu, A., V. D. Guide Jr., L. N. Van Wassenhove. 2008. Product reuse economics in closed‐loop supply chain research. Production and Operations Management, 17(5), 483-496.

Kleindorfer, P. R., K. Singhal, L. N. Van Wassenhove. 2005. Sustainable operations management. Production and Operations Management, 14(4), 482-492 

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society. Our research, teaching and partnerships reflect this global perspective and cultural diversity.

With locations in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and now North America (San Francisco), INSEAD's business education and research spans four regions. Our 162 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our Master in Management,  MBAGlobal Executive MBA, Specialised Master’s degrees (Executive Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 10,000 executives participate in INSEAD Executive Education programmes each year.

INSEAD continues to conduct cutting-edge research and innovate across all our programmes. We provide business leaders with the knowledge and awareness to operate anywhere. Our core values drive academic excellence and serve the global community as The Business School for the World.

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