Greys Sošić’s early research centered on supply chain management, a field of study naturally touching environmental sustainability. After all, building a more resilient supply chain with factories closer to customers or installing more efficient and environmentally responsible production methods often generates some benefit companies can trumpet in environmental impact reports.
While on sabbatical in 2010, however, Sošić, a professor in the Department of Data Sciences and Operations, began thinking about sustainability in supply chains with a more serious, intentional bent, curious as to how business could be a stronger force for environmental good.
When Sošić returned to the classroom in 2011, she did so launching one of Marshall’s first sustainability-centric courses. Her Sustainable Supply Chains course, a staple of the Marshall catalog for more than a decade now, helps students understand how sustainability can exist throughout the supply chain process.
“If I could help students see the opportunities and recognize the impact, then I felt I could help them have a larger impact as working professionals looking at and analyzing their own companies,” Sošić said.
“Business can be a force for good, especially when it wants to.”
She realized the important role her course played at Marshall when one student told her he appreciated the course was not solely dedicated to minimizing costs and maximizing profits. There was, the student noted, something greater and more noble at play. That comment continues to inspire Sošić, who hopes her teaching intensifies students’ willingness to engage in informed, conscientious conversations around sustainability throughout their professional adventures.
On the research front, Sošić has increasingly pushed into the environmental realm as well. Ignited by California’s constant water shortages, for instance, Sošić recently penned research on building desalination plants for the co-production of salt and freshwater from U.S. seawater, a move capable of restructuring supply chains for salt imports. Her research positions this as a financially competitive solution with the dual benefit of reducing carbon emissions.
“This is my COVID-19 turn and it’s incredibly interesting to me,” Sošić said of the desalination work. “Business can be a force for good, especially when it wants to.”