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International Journal
of Production Research
The use of Emerging Technologies and Analytics for Sustainable Crisis Management
Deadline: 31st December 2024

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Guest Editors:

  • Oscar Rodríguez Espíndola, Aston Business School, Aston University, UK. Email:

  • Konstantina Spanaki, Audencia Business School, France   

  • Pavel Albores, Aston Business School, UK    

  • Verónica Martínez, University of Cambridge, UK  

  • Surya Prakash Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India   

  • Angappa Gunasekaran, School of Business Administration, Penn State Harrisburg, USA    


Key dates

Deadline for Manuscript Submission: 31st December 2024

Papers can be submitted any time prior to the deadline, and will be evaluated and published online on a rolling basis. The special issue in print will appear once the review process of all submissions is completed.

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Background and objectives
The global depletion of resources is reaching alarming levels whilst the effects of climate change are becoming more and more evident (Matthews et al., 2016). That has led to the definition of a set of objectives, called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pushing governments, communities and organisations alike to put sustainability at the front and centre of human activities (Besiou et al., 2021). The study of sustainability in supply chains for has become a major area of research globally (Ageron et al., 2012, Beske et al., 2014, Hong et al., 2018, Jain, 2012, Bai et al., 2020, Chowdhury et al., 2022) because of the value of innovation in supply chains to achieve sustainable goals, including carbon neutrality (Koh et al., 2023). The International Journal of Production research has been at the forefront of the discussion about sustainable supply chains, as reflected by the special issue from Jain (2012). Since then, there have been outstanding contributions looking at enablers and barriers for sustainable supply chains (Govindan and Hasanagic, 2018, Chirra et al., 2021), exploring sustainable supply chain design (Zimmer et al., 2016), discussing the relationship between circular economy and sustainable supply chains (Queiroz et al., 2022, Bai et al., 2020), proposing reconfigurable supply chains for system sustainability (Dolgui et al., 2020), studying the effects of sustainable supply chains in performance (Zhu et al., 2012, Mitra and Datta, 2014), and introducing innovation and emergent technologies to support sustainable supply chains (Bai and Sarkis, 2020). However, less attention has been put on sustainability during disruptions and unexpected circumstances. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, the increased number of catastrophes caused by natural hazards, and the political instability caused by recent conflicts are just a few recent examples of major disruptions. War and terrorist conflicts increase the demand for basic commodities, which affects achieving the SDGs. In a crisis context, urgency takes precedence over other aspects. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were reports that 3.4 billion single-use masks were discarded every day (WHO, 2022) and over 25,000 tons of plastic waste entered the ocean (Peng et al., 2021). Waste can have a negative effect on the environment, but properly disposing of waste after crises is very challenging. Initial steps have been made by works focused on disaster resilience (He et al., 2021), but the study of the relationship between sustainability and resilience is still at an early stage (Negri et al., 2021). 

Those reasons are behind the calls to introduce sustainable practices in humanitarian operations (Peretti et al., 2015, Kunz and Gold, 2017). Only a few studies, however, have focused on the implementation of sustainable crisis management (Fuli et al., 2020). The uncertainty and complexity of these high-stake situations force organisations to focus on the urgent short-term needs of disaster victims rather than the long-term view. It is important to look for alternatives allowing organisations to introduce activities that can support short-term and long-term needs. 

In addition to pandemics such as COVID-19, political differences and terrorism also influence the production and supply of several essential commodities globally. Beyond the impact to global supply chains, it also raises the need for an efficient and effective humanitarian supply chain to save human lives. The use of emerging technologies can help manage those crises.

Emergent disruptive technologies and analytics have revolutionised supply chains (Waller and Fawcett, 2013). Indeed, the availability of new technologies has allowed improving data management and interpretation, transparency and visibility, decision-making under uncertainty, and the development of new solutions to re-design processes and the way to deliver products and services. In the context of crisis management, emergent technologies have improved disaster assessment, communication, search and rescue and relief distribution, among others (Oruc and Kara, 2018, Tuna et al., 2014, Chowdhury et al., 2017, Beck et al., 2018). Although analytics and emergent disruption technologies have shown the potential to provide valuable solutions for crisis management (Rodríguez-Espíndola et al., 2020, Ragini et al., 2018, Fan et al., 2021) and to introduce sustainability in operations (Saberi et al., 2019, Kamble et al., 2022, Dubey et al., 2019), the area of sustainable crisis management is still at a nascent stage. That area will become more critical in the future. The number of people affected by disasters is increasing at an alarming rate (CRED, 2020) and the world is facing more disasters  of more complex nature (CRED and UNISDR, 2017), including multiple simultaneous disasters (Rodríguez-Espíndola, 2022). Given the impact of sustainable crisis management to achieve the SDGs, this special issue aims to show the value of analytics and emergent technologies to become the enablers to make this change. 

This special issue considers a variety of analytics techniques (descriptive, prescriptive and predictive) and a broad definition of emergent technologies (e.g. Self-Driving Vehicles, Drones, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT, 3D Printing, Blockchain, Next-Generation Wireless, Bionic Enhancement, Virtual Reality, etc.). It covers a wide umbrella of applications that can contribute to knowledge and practice. The purpose is to encourage the design and development of comprehensive frameworks, techniques, models, and methods to promote the implementation of sustainable humanitarian logistics.
Aim of the Special Issue and Topics

The aim of this special issue is to gather different approaches to support sustainable humanitarian logistics using emergent technologies. The aspiration is to create bridges between the fields of sustainable supply chains, crisis management and emergent technologies to foster the development of comprehensive solutions that can have a positive social impact. The special issue is interested in novel, high-quality and thought-provoking research introducing analytics and emergent technologies to develop solutions for sustainable crisis management. Aligned to the nature of IJPR, managerial insights for decision makers are strongly encouraged. Review papers and conceptual papers without any empirical evidence are beyond its scope. The contributions must be aligned to the scope of the Journal.

Some of the main topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Modelling the benefits of emergent technologies and analytics for sustainable humanitarian logistics.

  • Applications of emergent technologies to improve responsible decision-making in the humanitarian context.

  • Analytical decision-support systems for crisis management reducing generation of waste and pollution.

  • Introduction of emergent technologies and analytics to support stakeholders throughout the disaster management cycle.

  • Use of meta verse in the crisis management

  • Investigation of the social, economic, and environmental impact of introducing emergent technologies at different stages of crisis management.

  • Potential of emergent technologies to facilitate short-term and long-term collaboration between stakeholders in humanitarian logistics.

  • Analytical solutions to support the sustainable management of volunteers and relief staff.

  • Development of systems to reduce the social, economic, and environmental impact of humanitarian logistics.

  • Introduction of systems for social and economic recovery after disruptions.

  • Use of analytics and emergent technologies to enhance community resilience.

  • Application of emergent technologies for policymaking in the humanitarian and civil protection context.

  • Applications of analytics and emergent technologies for social good.

  • Emergent technologies as an enabler for more effective risk and crisis management for businesses.

  • Empirical analysis of the impact of the implementation of sustainable solutions on the resilience of relief organisations 

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