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Review on Sustainability Characterization for Manufacturing Processes



Mahesh Mani, Jatinder Madan, Jae H. Lee, Kevin W. Lyons, Satyandra K. Gupta


Manufacturing industries lack the measurement science and the needed information base to measure and effectively compare environmental performances of manufacturing processes, resources and associated services with respect to sustainability. The current use of ad-hoc methods and tools to assess and describe sustainability of manufactured products does not necessarily account for manufacturing processes explicitly and hence results in inaccurate and ambiguous comparisons. Further, we identified that there are no formal methods for acquiring and exchanging information that help establish a consolidated sustainability information base. Our ultimate goal is to develop the needed measurement science and methodology to evaluate sustainability of fundamental manufacturing processes to ensure reliable and consistent comparisons. As a precursor, this report presents a background review on related work to evaluate sustainability performance. We discuss identified manufacturing process classifications, sustainable manufacturing indicators and computable metrics, relevant information models and software tools. We propose the sustainability characterization methodology that bridges the measurement science and the needed information base for sustainable manufacturing. An overview of future research is also presented.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7913
Report Number


sustainability characterization, performance measurement, unit manufacturing processes, key performance indicators, measurement science, knowledge management


Mani, M. , Madan, J. , Lee, J. , Lyons, K. and Gupta, S. (2013), Review on Sustainability Characterization for Manufacturing Processes, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created February 15, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018