A framework for the integration of Green and Lean Six Sigma for superior sustainability performance

Anass Cherrafi*, Said Elfezazi, Kannan Govindan, Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes, Khalid Benhida, Ahmed Mokhlis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Evidence suggests that Lean, Six Sigma and Green approaches make a positive contribution to the economic, social and environmental (i.e. sustainability) performance of organisations. However, evidence also suggests that organisations have found their integration and implementation challenging. The purpose of this research is therefore to present a framework that methodically guides companies through a five stages and sixteen steps process to effectively integrate and implement the Green, Lean and Six Sigma approaches to improve their sustainability performance. To achieve this, a critical review of the existing literature in the subject area was conducted to build a research gap, and subsequently develop the methodological framework proposed. The paper presents the results from the application of the proposed framework in four organisations with different sizes and operating in a diverse range of industries. The results showed that the integration of Lean Six Sigma and Green helped the organisations to averagely reduce their resources consumption from 20 to 40% and minimise the cost of energy and mass streams by 7–12%. The application of the framework should be gradual, the companies should assess their weaknesses and strengths, set priorities, and identify goals for successful implementation. This paper is one of the very first researches that presents a framework to integrate Green and Lean Six Sigma at a factory level, and hence offers the potential to be expanded to multiple factories or even supply chains.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)4481-4515
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • framework
  • Green operations
  • Lean
  • Six Sigma
  • sustainability


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