Decision Support for Sustainable Value-Chains

Executive Summary: Understanding and mapping the  700-505 exam implications of a product’s life cycle are crucial to achieving sustainable development. Founded by a holistic approach to sustainability that includes technical, business economic, and socio-ecological implications throughout its whole life-cycle, this project will investigate how sustainable product innovation (SPI) and product-service systems (PSS) can be integrated and how the methods and tools used could interact to  642-617 certification benefit sustainable development. Understanding of these areas will lead to additional tools and methods for sustainable product-service system innovation that will help a company to develop more sustainable products and be more competitive in the market.

Background:

  • Competitive advantage requires a company to anticipate and respond intelligently to changes in policies, customer preferences, legislation, etc., as well as in product development and production practices.
  • The increasing implications of climate change, resource depletion, species extinction, pollution and socio-economic gaps globally are causing consumers to become more sustainability-conscious which is driving market change.
  • Backcasting from principles ensures that the whole life cycle is considered and the final product is created, used and disposed of in an ecologically responsible way.

Purpose of Study: To use the FSSD as a sustainability compass to guide the use and improvement of detailed methods and tools to support sustainable product innovation (SPI).

FSSD Integration: Researchers will incorporate backcasting from the sustainability principles into the methods and tools being developed in this project.

Implications for Managers: Clear definition of these tools and methods will encourage companies to cooperate on opportunities to improve with regard to sustainability all along the value chain, making more eco-responsible choices throughout all phases of the life cycles of all products in the value chain. Managers will gain a competitive advantage through the development of knowledge and competence in these fields, through the implementation of new operational methods and tools based on a full sustainability perspective (rather than only some improvements as is often the case with eco-related tools today), and through access to leading scientific research.

Implications for Researchers: Researchers in this project are exploring ways to learn from sustainable product innovation, product-service systems, and other approaches to product development that focus on environmental or social issues.

Methods: A number of methods, tools, and practices, such as Life Cycle Assessment, System Dynamics Modeling, Multi-criteria Decision Support, Risk Assessment, Management Systems, Investment Calculus are being used to assist with sustainability based decision making. The FSSD will act as the founding tool to which companies can look when faced with multiple options and for weighing decisions. Lessons learned will be applied to a practical setting to assess the viability of the research in the market. Modeling and simulation software such as STELLA will be helpful for demonstrating cause and effect; how different paths taken will result in different opportunities and risks. Stakeholder input as a result of these model and simulation exercises will be used to identify flaws in the system developed.

Results: This research demonstrates that the combination of the FSSD with detailed methods and tools can cohesively provide decision-makers with both a robust overview and, when needed, a more coordinated and effective level of detailed support to make both business-level and product-level decisions.

Project Contact:
Henrik Ny, PhD, Blekinge Institute of Technology
henrik.ny(at)bth.se

Project Team:
Göran Broman, Professor, BTH
Tobias Larsson, Professor, BTH

Pia Lindahl, PhD Candidate, BTH
Dr. Deniz Koca, Lund University
Lena Johansson, Interim Chief Executive, The Natural Step
Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Professor, BTH
Harald Sverdrup, Professor, Lund University
Anthony Thompson, PhD Candidate, BTH