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Professor Sonal Choudhary
Chair in Sustainable Management



Prof Sonal Choudhary joined the School for Business and Society, at the University of York, UK as a Chair in Sustainable Management in October 2021. Prior to this, she was the Head of Operations Management and Decision sciences (OMDS) Research Centre and a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Sustainable Management at The Sheffield University Management School (SUMS). At OMDS Research Centre, she co-developed three research clusters: Sustainable Production & Consumption, Logistics & Supply Chain Management, and Information management & Decision Sciences. The centre provided collaborative space to jointly work towards interdisciplinary research projects together with the University Flagship Institute for Sustainable Food and secured successful funding from the UKRI (BBSRC, ESRC, STFC, EPSRC, IUK, NERC), EU-Horizon 2020, Marie-Curie ITN, FSA, Defra, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

She graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2014, with an interdisciplinary PhD in Environmental Sustainability in the High Arctic following double master’s with distinctions from the University of Hull, UK (MSc. GIS and Environmental Modelling) and the University of Delhi, India (MSc. Environmental Biology). She has been recipient of many prestigious academic awards and scholarships including ‘Gold Medallist’ in Environmental Biology, Marie Curie ITN Fellowship for PhD, DfID Commonwealth Scholarship for MSc, All-India postgraduate scholarship, among others. She has been trained in leading climate advocacy by former US vice president and noble laureate Al Gore in 2013 and has been awarded as a “Climate Leader”. She conducts education and outreach activities in the field of climate change, sustainable production and consumption, and behavioural change as well as encourages women participation in sustainability research. She has received the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office grant and wide media coverage in India and the UK since 2011 for her contribution in community services.

She practices action research and participatory interdisciplinary research in area of sustainability from process to systems level. With a core expertise in Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management, she has an interdisciplinary background in plant sciences, ecology, environmental sciences, GIS & Remote sensing, and works at interface between these disciplines to generate impact on policy and businesses. Most of her recent research focuses on Innovations for enhancing resilience and sustainability of Food Systems from multiple actors’ perspectives and at multiple scale. For this, she has received over £12m research projects funding from different UKRIs (STFC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC) since 2016. She is currently Principal Investigator for two large interdisciplinary STFC-funded projects: TRAnsforming Cold Food Chains in INdia through Space ScIence and TechNologies TRANSSITioN (£0.84m) and £1.2m STFC Food Network+ Phase 2 (SFN 2.0) and a Cross Cutting Theme Lead on Integrated Methods in a £6m BBSRC funded H3 project. These projects are addressing country-specific research priorities in sustainable food security area with multi-stakeholders as partners
in the UK, countries in Asia and Africa for generating impact. She has also delivered many policy-commissioned (e.g., FSA, Defra, EFRA, Ministries in India) and industry-commissioned projects (leading NGOs, Retailers and Food Manufacturers) related to sustainable food systems. She is also a key advisor for Tesco Plc’s Better Basket Campaign for Net Zero initiatives such as LCAs of meat and meat alternative products.

She has published more than 40 papers in leading high quality international journals, peer-reviewed conferences, and national newspapers. She has also received two best paper awards in international conferences. She acts as an expert panel member and reviewer for many interdisciplinary research grant proposals (UKRI, EU, India) and a reviewer many international journals and funding bodies in the area of operations and supply chain management, sustainability, climate change, ecology and environmental economics. She has chaired various international conferences. She is also on an advisory panel for Nature Food.

Besides research, she is also passionate about student experience, research-led teaching, and experiential learning. She brings real-life case studies in classrooms through her projects and provides access to industrial networks for MSc dissertations and joint-PhD supervision.



Sonal enjoys challenge-driven action research and participatory interdisciplinary research that has potential of generating practical impact on ground. Her research interests are mainly in the domain of innovations for sustainable and resilient food systems, sustainable operations and supply chain management, inclusive and integrated value chains, lean six sigma, and circular bioeconomy. Her research interests also include exploring the impact of climate change, technological/ digital innovations, policy and business model innovations, supply chain configurations and stakeholder relationships on building resilience of the food systems and generating sustainable livelihood for small-scale farmers and SMEs. She also investigates how market and regulatory issues affect firm level operations and shape their future strategies and plans for delivering system level goals such as Net Zero and commitments for different SDGs.

She welcomes future collaborations and PhD supervision in the following fields:

  1. Interdisciplinary research on Sustainable Food Systems (Core area: Net Zero+ Food Supply Chains; Net Zero Food Trade, Inclusive and integrated Value Chains, Mission-Oriented Innovations, Systems Thinking; Sustainability performance Metrics; Digital innovations; Resilient Supply Chains, Lean Six Sigma applications, Circular Bioeconomy, data driven supply chains; Participatory methods for Value Chain Analysis, Value Stream Mapping for resource and energy efficiency)
  2. Sustainable and Resilient Operations and Supply Chain Management
  3. Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (including Bioeconomy and Net Zero+ Food Systems)
  4. Application of Lean Thinking, Six Sigma, Hybrid LCA & Continuous Improvement for Sustainable Operations and Supply Chains
  5. Innovations from data science, emerging technologies, institutions, policy, business and partnership models for Sustainable, Safe and Equitable Food Systems
  6. Integration of biosciences, social sciences, and space sciences (Remote Sensing, GIS, big data analytics, NLP, image analysis) for sustainable resource management strategies & decision making (including for policy making) in food, water, and energy sector
  7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Business Ethics and Responsible Business Management Studies
  8. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Circular Economy, and Net Zero adoption strategies and Pathways in different public (schools to government departments) and private sectors (from SMEs to MNCs).
  9. Carbon, Nitrogen, Water & Ecological footprint across different types of supply chain


Research Projects and Impact

At the School for Business and Socity, Sonal is currently leading and working on research projects funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), UKRI (BBSRC Global Food Security Programme and supported by UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund), EPSRC and Food Standards Agency, UK (FSA). These projects are looking into different aspects of operations and supply chain management practices along with technological adoptions for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of food system in different regions. She is also involved in H2020 Marie Curie ITN project on Circular Economy, ESRC funded PhD supervision on food, water and energy issues. She has created a network of national and international stakeholders in food, energy and water industry that includes some of the big players, service providers, retailers, processors, SMEs, farmer organisations, NGOs, certification bodies and policy makers in the UK, India, ASEAN and African countries. She leads STFC Food Network+ Phase 2 with more than 1500 members, and is a Crosscutting Theme Lead for the Project H3 (UK). She is also chairing seven Expert Working Groups in area of sustainable, resilient and equitable food systems with STFC Food Network+.

Sonal sits on advisory panel for Nature Food and has delivered many policy- and industry-commissioned projects such as recently with Tesco Plc. on WWF’s Better Baskets Campaign for Net Zero Initiatives, FSA on Digital Twins for enhancing UK Food Inspections efficiency and effectiveness, among others mentioned below.

She has published many reports for policy makers, industries and have written newspaper articles in area of sustainable management.

  1. Choudhary S, Guang S, Kandemir C, Sun C, Nayak R, Obayi R (2022). Policy Report - White Paper for Food Standard Agency & STFC on: 21st Century Abattoirs: Digital Twin for FSA’s inspection
  2. Choudhary S, (2022). Review of Tesco Better Basket Campaigns for Net Zero Claims, published on Tesco Website as Comparative Carbon Footprint Assessment.
  3. Invited TALK (by Policy Makers): Choudhary S, Obayi R (2021). “Unlocking unrealised regulatory and business potential of Food Chain Information (FCI) through digital convergence”, Food for Thought Seminar, Food Standards Agency, 7 July 2021:
  4. Invited as a Keynote Speaker: Choudhary S (2021). “Future of Farming & Food Industries: Ensuring healthy environment, healthy food and healthy people through innovative servitization models”; Servitization Live Business Conference, Day 2: Food & Food Production as a service, Oct 2021 (600-800 attendees).
  5. Choudhary S, Nayak R, Obayi R, Ebrahimi S, Alevizou P (2021). Policy Brief - White Paper for Food Standard Agency & STFC on: 21 st Century Abattoirs: A review and recommendations (Interim findings of this review led to £250K MoU between STFC and FSA for “invite only” sandpit with 80 participants at STFC Hartree Centre)
  6. Choudhary S, Nayak R, Obayi R (2020). Written evidence submitted to EFRA on: Covid 19 impact on the UK beef and dairy supply chains:
  7. Parliamentary Briefing on The Future of Agri-Tech at the House of Lords (See pg 5-6):
  8. 2019: STFC-GCRF funded project on “TRAnsforming Cold Food Chains in INdia through Space ScIence and TechNologies - TRANSSITioN”: The idea of this project has been appreciated widely by UKRI-STFC media, British Cryogenic Council, University of Sheffield News, local media and featured in BBC podcasts on Food Loss in Sep 2021.
  9. Choudhary, S. (2016) The business of illegal Wildlife Trade! The political and business daily, UNEP’s theme – Go Wild for Life, India.
  10. Choudhary S (2015) Food sustainability: We can make a difference! The political and business daily, UNEP’s theme – Sustainable Consumption & Production, India.
  11. Choudhary, S. (2014) Time to Act! The political and business daily, UNEP’s theme – Small Islands and Climate Change, India.
  12. Choudhary S (2013) Mend eating habit to stop food waste. The political and business daily, UNEP’s theme – Think. Eat. Save, India (Also featured on UNEP’s website)

Projects/ Grants (Selection of Ongoing/ recent research Projects):

Sonal has led and co-led 19 research projects worth >£12m since 2016.

  1. Principal Investigator (PI), ‘STFC Food Network+: Phase 2’, STFC: £1.2m, 2020-2024
  2. PI, ‘TRAnsforming Cold Food Chains in INdia through Space ScIence and TechNologies - TRANSSITioN’, STFC-GCRF: £0.84m, 2019-2023
  3. PI, Demonstrating Resource Efficiency and Energy Efficiency through Data-driven Smart Food Manufacturing Processes: Pathways for Net Zero for 2 Sisters Food Group, Connected Everything EPSRC-STFC Food Network+: £75K, 2023-2024
  4. PI, The Potential for the UK Food Sector Protein Shift (50-50 split) to deliver Transformational Change towards achieving Net Zero, WWF-UK-STFC Food Network+: £45K, 2022-2023
  5. PI, Integrating LCA with SDGs and Circular Economy for co-developing novel metrics and methods
    for monitoring environmental impact, York-Maastricht Partnership Fund: £50K, 2022-23
  6. Co-Investigator (Co-I), Crosscutting Theme Lead, ‘Healthy Soils, Healthy Food and Healthy
    People’, BBSRC: £6m, 2021-2026
  7. Co-I, Impact of labour shortages on the UK Food Systems, FSA: £50K, 2021-2022
  8. PI, Digital Twin for Food Standard Agency’s inspection process, STFC-FSA: £86K, 2020-2022
  9. PI, A Review of 21 st Century Food Factory (Abattoirs): Exploring applications of STFC IoT sensors/ detectors, Blockchain, Big data and AI capabilities in the UK Meat Supply Chain, STFC-FSA: £25K, 2019-2022


Selected publications

A selection of recently published peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Else T, Choudhary S, Genovese (2022). Uncovering sustainability storylines from dairy supply chain discourse. Journal of Business Research, 142, 858-874.
  2. Atanasovska I, Choudhary S, Koh L, Ketikidis PH, Solomon A (2022). Research gaps and future directions on social value stemming from circular economy practices in agri-food industrial parks: Insights from a systematic literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 354, 131753
  3. Nguyen AHT, Singh A, Kumari S, Choudhary S (2021) Multi-agent architecture for waste minimisation in beef supply chain, Production Planning & Control,
  4. Dora M, Biswas S, Choudhary S, Nayak R, Irani Z (2020). A system-wide interdisciplinary conceptual framework for food loss and waste mitigation strategies in the supply chain. Industrial Marketing Management,
  5. Nayak R, Choudhary S (2020). Operational excellence in humanitarian logistics and supply chain management through leagile framework: a case study from a non-mature economy. Production, Planning & Control,
  6. Lowe B, Oglethorpe D, Choudhary S (2020). Comparing the economic value of virtual water with volumetric and stress-weighted approaches: A case for the tea supply chain. Ecological Economics, 172, 106572
  7. Lowe B, Oglethorpe D, Choudhary S (2020). Shifting from volume to economic value in virtual water allocation problems: a proposed new framework and methodology. Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797
  8. Ghadge A, Er Kara M, Mogale DG, Choudhary S, Dani S (2020). Sustainability implementation challenges in food supply chains: a case of UK artisan cheese producers. Production Planning & Control,
  9. Mishra JL, Chiwenga KD, Mishra N, Choudhary S (2020). Extending Dynamic Capabilities towards Lean Thinking in Humanitarian Supply Chains. Production Planning & Control,
  10. Martindale W, Swainson M, Choudhary S (2020). The impact of resource and nutritional resilience on the global food supply system. Sustainability, 12(2).
  11. Choudhary S, Nayak R, Dora M, Mishra N (2019). An integrated lean and green approach for improving sustainability performance: a case study of a packaging manufacturing SME in the UK. Production, Planning & Control, 30:5-6, 353-368
  12. Choudhary S, Nayak R, Kumari S (2019). Analysing acculturation to sustainable food consumption behaviour in social media through the lens of information diffusion. Technology forecasting and Social Change, 145, 481-492
  13. Schilowski, C, Shukla. M, Choudhary, S. (2019). Quantifying the circularity of regional industrial waste across multi-channel enterprises. Annals of Operations Research, 290, 385-408
  14. Chalvatzis K, Malekpoo, H, Mishra, N, Choudhary, S. (2019). Sustainable resource allocation for power generation: The role of big data in enabling innovation. Technology forecasting and Social Change, 144, 381-393
  15. Wilson JP & Choudhary S (2019) Social Capital Accounting, Green Finance for Sustainable Global Growth (pp. 107-146). IGI Global [Book Chapter]
  16. Lowe, B.H., Oglethorpe, D.R. & Choudhary, S. (2018). Marrying Unmarried Literatures: The Water Footprint and Environmental (Economic) Valuation. Water, 10(12), pp. 1815-1822.
  17. Padfield, R., Hansen, S., Davies, Z.G., …, Choudhary, S., …, Struebig, M.J. (2019). Co-producing a Research Agenda for Sustainable Palm Oil, Front. For. Glob. Change, in press,
  18. Ghadge A, Kaklamanou M, Choudhary S, Bourlakis M (2017) Implementing environmental practices within the Greek dairy supply chain: Drivers and barriers for SMEs. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 117(9), 1995-2014.
  19. Bridle S, Denby K, Flanagan K, Grieve B, Halford J, Choudhary S, et al., (2017) STFC food network+, Food Science and Technology, 31(4), 34-39.
  20. Choudhary, S., Blaud, A., Osborn A.M., Press M.C., Phoenix, G. (2016). Nitrogen accumulation and partitioning in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem from extreme atmospheric N deposition events. Science of the Total Environment, vol. 554-555, pp. 303-310.

Selected Conference Papers:

  1. Sengupta S, Choudhary S, Singh R. (2022) Business Model Framework for Reducing Loss and Waste of Fresh Produce in Vegetable Value Chain, EURAM 2022, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Sengupta S, Choudhary S, Singh R. (2022) Mitigating Post-harvest Food Loss: Business Model in an Emerging Economy Context, 7th International Conference on New Business Models, Rome, Italy
  3. Else, T., Choudhary, S., Genovese, A. (2020). Uncovering different sustainability narratives from the stakeholder discourse of the United Kingdom dairy supply chain, IPSERA, Milan, Italy
  4. Bimpizas-pinis, M., Genovese, A., Choudhary, S., Evans D., Luna-Diez, E. (2019). Evaluating the transition towards circular economy in agri-food supply chains, IPSERA, Milan, Italy
  5. Lowe, B.H., Oglethorpe, D. & Choudhary, S. (2019). Estimating the economic value of rainfall and irrigation in a global context. 93rd Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society, Warwick, UK
  6. Choudhary, S., Nayak, R., Shaughnessy, B., Vandore, J., Edwards B (2019) Applications of Space Science and Technologies from STFC Harwell and STFC Hartree Centres for transforming cold food supply chains and farmers livelihood in India, 3rd STFC Food Network+ Annual Conference, Harwell Campus, Oxford, UK
  7. Choudhary, S., Heron, G., Shukla M (2019) UK Agri-Food Value Chain Risks Analysis, N8 Agri-Food Conference, Liverpool, UK
  8. Choudhary S, Nayak R, Edwards B, Mishra N (2018) Big Data and disruptive technologies for enhancing value in agri-food sector: A conceptual model. EUROMA, Budapest, June 2018
  9. Choudhary, S., Nayak, R., Shaughnessy, B., Vandore, J. (2018) Applications of Space Thermal Engineering and Cryogenics to optimise cold food supply chains in India, 2nd STFC Food Network+ Annual Conference, Sheffield, UK
  10. Choudhary S, Shukla M, Simpson M, Nayak R (2018) Evaluating socio-environmental impact and risks in agri-food value chain in developed and developing economies: a multi-stakeholder perspective. 29th European Conference on Operational Research, Valencia, Spain, July 2018
  11. Lowe, B.H., Oglethorpe, D. & Choudhary, S. (2018). Revealing the economic value of water in globally dislocated agri-food supply chains. 7th International Conference on Social responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business, Oslo, Norway.
  12. Lowe, B.H., Oglethorpe, D. & Choudhary, S. (2018). Monetising the impacts of water use in food supply chains. 2nd Conference of the EURO Working Group on Sustainable Supply Chains, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  13. Sun H, Koh, L., Choudhary S., & Jia, F. (2017) Resilience in Agricultural Supply Chain: An Evidence- Based Research with Bibliometrics Analysis EUROMA, Edinburgh, UK
  14. Choudhary S, Ghadge A, Wilson J, Yang F (2017). Sustainable procurement strategy: a case study of a grocery retailer in the UK. 22nd International Symposium on Logistics - Slovenia July 2017
  15. Sun H, Koh L, Choudhary S, Jia F (2017). Resilience in Agricultural Supply Chain: An Evidence-Based Research with Bibliometrics Analysis. EUROMA, July 2017
  16. Lowe B, Oglethorpe D, Choudhary S (2016). A proposed new method for placing monetary values on virtual water to improve the efficiency of global food supply chain. British Academy of Management (BAM), Newcastle, September 2016
  17. Choudhary, S., Genovese, A. and Simpson, M. (2015) Sustainability of the UK dairy supply chains: perspectives from the weakest link. World Dairy Summit, Lithuania.
  18. Choudhary, S., Burchell, J., Bhaumik, S. and McGuinness, M. (2015) Investigating forces for change affecting corporate sustainability: global megatrends and future scenarios related to Climate Change IMRA-IIMB International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility.



Sonal is committed to research-led teaching and encourages critical thinking among the students.

Module leader: Managing Business Operations (Online MBA) Research Methods

Other teaching

Sonal regularly delivers guest lectures at different Universities in the UK and India in area of sustainable operations and supply chain management. At SUMS, she was a Programme Director for MSc Management and a module leader for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain Management (Postgraduate), Corporate Social Responsibility (Final Year Undergraduate), Business Challenges (First Year Undergraduate) and Sustainable Development and Emergence of Responsible Business (First Year Undergraduate).

Contact Details

Prof Sonal Choudhary
School for Business and Society
Church Lane Building

T: +44 (0) 1904 32 1278