Jay Golden

Jay Golden

Adjunct Professor of the Practice

Jay Golden is the faculty chair of the Business and Environment Program.  He is an Associate Professor of the Practice for Sustainable Systems Analysis in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences in the Nicholas School of the Environment and holds a secondary appointment in the Civil & Environmental Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering. His research covers sustainable systems and production consumption systems of earth resources using risk analysis and life cycle modeling. Golden is well published in the area of both Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Sciences where he currently focuses on the nexus of the unique role of global supply chains.

Global corporations actively seek partnerships with Dr. Golden in regards to firm and product sustainability.  Golden founded and directed the Sustainability Consortium, which includes many of the worlds largest retailers and manufacturers in addition to supporting the development of life cycle tools for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which comprises two thirds of the world’s footwear and apparel brands. Jay Golden is the director of the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce. In this role, he directs research and engagement activities across the Duke campus on pressing global sustainability issues in partnership with global corporations.  Golden served as Duke University’s Associate Vice Provost for Research and as Executive in Charge of Duke Corporate Relations.

Dr. Golden received his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, and his master's degree in environmental engineering and sustainable development from a joint program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Professional Mastery of Project Management Certificate from Stanford University, an MLE from Harvard and has a bachelor's degree in management. 

Golden founded and served as CEO of a multi-state engineering consulting firm in the Western United States that supported the hard rock, coal and energy sectors with engineering, compliance and construction services.  In 1988 they were awarded the National Reclamation Award Winners by the US Dept. of Interior.   He also served as Vice President of a fortune 500 company directing operations and sales for the Western United States with a $250M/year budget.  In 2009, Golden was presented the Faculty Pioneer Award by the Aspen Institute for his leadership in the field of sustainability education & research and named by Ethisphere as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics. 

He was appointed to the UN Life Cycle Management Task Force and was named an AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow. Golden has testified before Congress, served on the Advisory Council to the Pew Center on Corporate Energy Efficiency, World Economic Forum, American Council on Renewable Energy Higher Education Committee, the Board on the Urban Environment and currently serves on the editorial board of Logistics and has served similar roles for multiple journals. Prior to arriving at Duke, Golden was an assistant professor and honors faculty member at Arizona State University in the School of Sustainability and the Supply Chain Department. He directed an EPA designated National Center of Excellence lab on SMART innovations.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor of the Practice
  • Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. University of Cambridge (UK), 2006
  • M.Phil. University of Cambridge (UK), 2003
  • A.B. Arizona State University, 1991

Research Interests

Sustainable systems and production consumption systems of earth resources using risk analysis and lifecycle modeling.


business and the environment
earth surface processes
environmental systems analysis

Courses Taught

  • ENERGY 395: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 396: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 638L: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis & Decision
  • ENERGY 795: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 796: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 811: Business and Environment
  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 394: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 638L: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis & Decision
  • ENVIRON 811: Business and Environment
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • ENVIRON 997: Duke Environmental Leadership: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 999: Duke Environmental Leadership: Master's Project
  • EOS 394: Research Independent Study
  • EOS 791: Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Morrison, B; Golden, JS, Southeastern United States wood pellets as a global energy resource: a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment derived from empirical data, International Journal of Sustainable Energy, vol 37 no. 2 (2018), pp. 134-146 [10.1080/14786451.2016.1188816] [abs].
  • Doran, EM; Golden, JS; Turner, BL, From basic research to applied solutions: are two approaches to sustainability science emerging?, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol 29 (2017), pp. 138-144 [10.1016/j.cosust.2018.01.013] [abs].
  • Seto, KC; Golden, JS; Alberti, M; Turner, BL, Sustainability in an urbanizing planet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol 114 no. 34 (2017), pp. 8935-8938 [10.1073/pnas.1606037114] [abs].
  • Morrison, B; Golden, JS, Life cycle assessment of co-firing coal and wood pellets in the Southeastern United States, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 150 (2017), pp. 188-196 [10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.026] [abs].
  • de Assis, CA; Gonzalez, R; Kelley, S; Jameel, H; Bilek, T; Daystar, J; Handfield, R; Golden, J; Prestemon, J; Singh, D, Risk management consideration in the bioeconomy, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, vol 11 no. 3 (2017), pp. 549-566 [10.1002/bbb.1765] [abs].

Additional Information