Senior Wins National Contest Showcasing U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

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Praneetha Pratapa

Outlining her ideas for achieving one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Praneetha Pratapa, a senior in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, won first prize in a national essay contest by tying remanufacturing standards to a U.N. objective aimed at ensuring sustainable production and consumption by 2030.

Pratapa, an information technology and systems and supply chain management double major, won $2,000. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the American National Standards Institute, which sponsored the contest, moved the ceremony at which she was to be recognized to Oct. 27, 2021, during World Standards Week (Oct. 25-29).

Ramesh Subramoniam

Pratapa developed her winning entry under the guidance of Dr. Ramesh Subramoniam, a clinical associate professor of operations management, and is working with him on a research publication on the same topic that is to be published in a peer-reviewed journal next year.

ANSI annually sponsors the al undergraduate and graduate-level student paper competition Pratapa won. Her work “Role of Standards in Designing Circular Economy and Their Effect on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12,” noted that the cause for alarm about Goal 12, which focuses on natural resources, waste reduction and recycling, “stems from increasing carbon footprints, rapid consumption, heavy dependence on non-renewable resources, and a lack of concern for long-term maintenance of resources — especially in view of the 13% rise in population expected by the end of the next decade.”.

In view of this, Pratapa advocated for a circular economy model that proposes a closed-loop supply chain design, “where outputs become inputs again” and remanufacturing is a core component.

Remanufacturing differs from other recycling procedures, Pratapa wrote, “because it returns product quality up to the original equipment manufacturer’s performance.”

But challenges related to product-design complexity, poor customer perception and a lack of commonly accepted definitions have traditionally limited remanufacturing from gaining momentum.

All these obstacles can be overcome using standards and frameworks “that are designed to make remanufacturing feasible for organizations looking to advance their green agendas in accordance with the UN,” Pratapa wrote before enumerating several guidelines and measures from the International Organization for Standardization, the European Remanufacturing Network and others.

The standards she discussed in her paper, Pratapa concluded, will allow an organization to “apply life-cycle thinking to each phase of its supply chain and achieve maximum resource efficiency,” thus using fewer resources, practicing responsible production and encouraging “consumers to also play their part in achieving Goal 12 by 2030.”

Kristine Imherr

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