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  • 1.
    Ny, Henrik
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
    Sustainability Constraints as System Boundaries. An Approach to Making Life-Cycle Management Strategic.2006In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 10, no 1-2, p. 61-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainable management of materials and products requires continuous evaluation of numerous complex social, ecological, and economic factors. A number of tools and methods are emerging to support this. One of the most rigorous is life-cycle assessment (LCA). But LCAs often lack a sustainability perspective and bring about difficult trade-offs between specificity and depth, on the one hand, and comprehension and applicability, on the other. This article applies a framework for strategic sustainable development (often referred to as The Natural Step (TNS) framework) based on backcasting from basic principles for sustainability. The aim is to foster a new general approach to the management of materials and products, here termed “strategic life-cycle management.” This includes informing the overall analysis with aspects that are relevant to a basic perspective on (1)sustainability, and (2) strategy to arrive at sustainability. The resulting overview is expected to help avoid costly assessments of flows and practices that are not critical from a sustainability and/or strategic perspective and to help identify strategic gaps in knowledge or potential problems that need further assessment. Early experience indicates that the approach can complement some existing tools and concepts by informing them from a sustainability perspective—for example, current product development and LCA tools.

  • 2. Ny, Henrik
    et al.
    Hallstedt, Sophie
    Robèrt, Karl-Henrik
    Broman, Göran
    Introducing Templates for Sustainable Product Development: A Case Study of Televisions at the Matsushita Electric Group2008In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 600-623Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We have previously developed a method for sustainable product development (MSPD) based on backcasting from basic sustainability principles. The MSPD informs investigations of product-related social and ecological sustainability aspects throughout a concurrent engineering product development process.We here introduce “templates” for sustainable product development (TSPDs) as a complement. The idea is to help product development teams to arrive faster and more easily at an overview of the major sustainability challenges and opportunities of a product category in the early development phases. The idea is also to inform creative communication between top management, stakeholders, and product developers. We present this approach through an evaluation case study, in which the TSPDs were used for a sustainability assessment of televisions (TVs) at the Matsushita Electric Group.We study whether the TSPD approach has the ability to (1) help shift focus from gradual improvements of a selection of aspects in relation to past environmental performance of a product category to a focus on the remaining gap to a sustainable situation, (2) facilitate consensus among organizational levels about major sustainability challenges and potential solutions for a product category, and (3) facilitate continued dialogue with external sustainability experts, identifying improvements that are relevant for strategic sustainable development. Our findings indicate that the TSPD approach captures overall sustainability aspects of the life cycle of product categories and that it has the above abilities.

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