Handling trade-offs in Ecodesign tools for Sustainable Product Development and Procurement

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Sophie Byggeth, Elisabeth Hochschorner
Title: Handling trade-offs in Ecodesign tools for Sustainable Product Development and Procurement
Journal: Journal of Cleaner Production
Year: 2005
Volume: 14
Issue: 15-16
Pagination: 1420-1430
ISSN: 0959-6526
Publisher: Elsiever
ISI number: 000240298500014
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Sektionen för ingenjörsvetenskap - avd. för maskinteknik)
School of Engineering S- 371 79 Karlskrona, School of Engineering S- 371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: sophie.byggeth@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Trade-off situations often occur in the product development and procurement processes when alternative solutions emphasize different aspects that have to be balanced against each other. Ecodesign tools can be used in both product development and purchasing, for example to prescribe design alternatives, assess environmental impacts or to compare environmental improvement alternatives. However, it is not always clear what should be chosen in trade-off situations. In this study, fifteen different Ecodesign tools were analyzed to ascertain whether a valuation is included in the tools, in what way the tools give support in different types of trade-off situations and whether the tools give support from a sustainability perspective.

Nine of the fifteen tools analyzed included a valuation and were able to give support in a trade-off situation, but the support was not sufficient. The valuation should include a lifecycle perspective and a framework for sustainability. Otherwise it can lead to strategically incorrect decisions from a sustainability perspective with concomitant risks of sub-optimized investment paths and blind alleys. However, all the analyzed tools can be complemented with other tools and methods based on strategic planning towards sustainability in order to include a framework for sustainability.
Subject: Mechanical Engineering\General
Keywords: Ecodesign tools, trade-off, product development, purchasing, procurement, sustainability, sustainable development
Note: Journal of Cleaner Production. In press (2005).