A Brave New World: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Transitioning to Sustainable Supply and Production

Joseph Sarkis, Maurie Cohen, Paul Dewick, Patrick Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As members of the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production we have -- as virtually everyone else -- paid close attention to the COVID- 9 pandemic which is one of the most comprehensive and tragic public health crises in a century. As we write this perspective article, the situation is still in its early stages in many regions of the world and is continually evolving. The practice of social distancing has entered daily lifestyles as individuals, governments, communities, industrial firms, and academic institutions come to grips with the challenges of minimizing the los s of human life in the face of an invisible contagion. We have all seen figures on "flattening the curve" to help spread out the impact on medical facilities. The coronavirus outbreak will diffuse, but behavioral actions are needed to mitigate the number of contractions, illnesses, and deaths.

Some of the actions of social distancing include self-quarantining, avoiding large gatherings, working from home where possible, sending students back to their residences, providing online education, reducing travel (especially in confined and mass transportation modes), limiting visits to stores, and many other everyday activities. Many of these adjustments are in contradistinction to "normal" routines. At a time when we are being prevailed upon to come together and to support one another in society, we must learn to do so from a distance. But the behavior changes are necessary and some of them may provide useful insight for how we can facilitate transformations toward more sustainable supply and production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date17 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research


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