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An Introductory Approach to Concretize Social Sustainability for Sustainable Manufacturing
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. Blekinge Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9110-6497
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of TMCE 2016 / [ed] I. Horváth, J.-P. Pernot, Z. Rusák, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Despite the growing awareness of sustainability issues and importance of considering sustainability aspects in the product innovation process, the methodological support for doing so is still immature compared to the methodological support for considering other aspects in the decision-making, such as product performance and manufacturability. The immaturity is particularly pronounced regarding the social dimension of sustainability. In this paper we use a novel process for identifying sustainability criteria and estimating a sustainability compliance index, with the purpose of supporting inclusion of social sustainability aspects in the decision-making in product development. By including social sustainability aspects into a compliance metric, the foundations for strategic and operative decisions can be integrated. The process has been developed and tested collaboratively with industry representatives in a selected case company. Preliminary results show that social sustainability criteria can be integrated in a meaningful way into a more complete metric, and that the learning resulting from gathering knowledge and experience is a first deployable benefit of the process. Challenges and possible ways forward for further implementing social sustainability aspects in product development are also identified and discussed. The next step will be to further test the applicability of the results, by involving more representatives in the case company and from companies in its value chain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Social Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-13247ISBN: 978-94-6186-635-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-13247DiVA: diva2:1034375
Conference
Eleventh International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering (TMCE 2016), Aix-en-Provence, France
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2016-10-11 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2016-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The missing pillar: exploring social sustainability in product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The missing pillar: exploring social sustainability in product development
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Companies are increasingly pressed to consider sustainability aspects when making decisions during product development. However, the methodological support for doing so is immature. The immaturity is particularly pronounced regarding the social dimension (or pillar) of sustainability and regarding strategic sustainability considerations. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore how the social dimension of sustainability and a strategic sustainability perspective could be better included in methodological support for product development. This was pursued in two ways.

 

Firstly, a two-staged review of the literature was conducted. Stage one focused on summarizing the state of the art of integration of social sustainability aspects in product development and stage two focused on critically analyzing and evaluating these efforts. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development was used to guide the analysis of the current integration efforts and the evaluation of their potential for supporting sustainable product development and strategic sustainable development in general. Secondly, a recently published principled definition of social sustainability was used to enhance two approaches for including sustainability considerations in product development. One of these approaches is focused on decision-making support at concept selection, based on assessment and comparison of sustainability implications of the considered product concepts. The other approach is focused on developing sustainability criteria and a related sustainability compliance index in support of concept development.

 

In the literature review, social life cycle assessment methods (Social LCA) were found to represent a large part of the current efforts, and several challenges with those methods were identified. From a decision support perspective, they were found to have weaknesses regarding applicability and robustness: results from the assessment, usually performed by scientists to evaluate a scientific question, may be too complex to interpret from a business standpoint; the impact perspective may be too narrow, missing important aspects of social sustainability; and generally they lack a strategic perspective. The use of a strategic sustainable development perspective in the approaches prototyped in this thesis is a way of tackling these challenges. The use of backcasting from visions framed by sustainability principles can: help organize and make sense of the general field of sustainability, highlighting where overlaps between objectives exist; provide the long term perspective needed for sustainability; allow for product developers to gain awareness of potential impacts of a product’s life cycle phases within existing knowledge, time and resource constraints; help build a roadmap in order to reduce a product’s contribution to unsustainability (including social unsustainability).

 

Future research will focus on further testing and development of the suggested approaches and specifically on further development of tactical design guidelines that provide support for the fulfilment of long-term sustainability criteria and clarify the connection between decisions taken during product development and a product’s sustainability profile.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2016
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 4
Keyword
strategic sustainable development, social sustainability; sustainable product development, social lifecycle assessment, social sustainability criteria
National Category
Engineering and Technology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-13248 (URN)978-91-7295-331-4 (ISBN)
Presentation
2016-11-09, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved

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