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Sustainability Fingerprint - guiding companies in anticipating the sustainability direction in early design
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7382-1825
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2015-3349
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5508-5388
GKN Aerospace Engine.
2023 (English)In: Sustainable Production and Consumption, ISSN 2352-5509, Vol. 37, p. 424-442Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the early phases of design of new products, information necessary to guide and assess sustainability is typically incomplete. Manufacturers risk discovering the unfavorable sustainability impact too late to redirect the development. The purpose of this study is to search and review methods to anticipate the sustainability performance of new products in the early stages of the innovation process, and, together with a case company in the aeroengine manufacturing business, to develop and propose a systematic approach to anticipate sustainability performance. Following a literature review of 51 methods and research-based proposals, only five covered the social-, ecological-, and economic sustainability dimensions in the early phases of product development. Through an action research-based approach, a qualitative sustainability measurement tool, the Sustainability Fingerprint tool, was developed. This tool allows the development team in a company to systematically derive a sustainability performance from a set of criteria unique to the targeted product and/or product portfolio that is to be designed, from a set of scientifically well-established sustainability principles. The tool was applied in six different industry cases at the company, by the design teams and independent of any influence of the researchers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to learn about the usefulness, usability, and applicability of the tool. It was concluded that the Sustainability Fingerprint tool has no equivalent in the literature and was considered useful for the case company during early phase design for two main reasons. Firstly, the tool is tailor-made with defined company-specific sustainability criteria that represent the most important sustainability aspects to assess. Secondly, the support tool can be used also in later phases, thereby supporting a continued innovation process. It allows designers to anticipate a sustainability performance of the solution in: the development of sustainable innovations; comparison and down-selection of alternative solutions; sustainability assessments of the product portfolio to identify improvement measures; and sustainability assessment of current products to identify sustainability hotspots. Further research will include companies from other industrial sectors and will focus on adding digital support, improved practical instructions, and, integration to existing processes and established support tools in companies today. © 2023 The Authors

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 37, p. 424-442
Keywords [en]
Ecodesign, Industrial research, Life cycle, Product design, Product development, Early designs, Early phases of designs, Innovations process, Measure, Product information, Product portfolios, Support tool, Sustainability assessment, Sustainability performance, Sustainable product development, Sustainable development, Early design, Sustainability, Sustainable design
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-24420DOI: 10.1016/j.spc.2023.03.015ISI: 000995220600001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85150766490OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-24420DiVA, id: diva2:1749516
Available from: 2023-04-07 Created: 2023-04-07 Last updated: 2023-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Hallstedt, SophieVillamil Velasquez, CarolinaLövdahl, Josefin

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