Integration of Sustainability Aspects in Product Development

Document type: Licentiates
Author(s): Sophie Byggeth
Title: Integration of Sustainability Aspects in Product Development
Translated title: Integrering av hållbarhetsaspekter i produktutveckling
Year: 2001
ISSN: 0280-2872
Publisher: Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University
City: Göteborg
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Institutionen för maskinteknik)
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: Integration of sustainability aspects into the product development process has been difficult to achieve, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The main reason is that existing tools are experienced to be too detailed and as a result too demanding in terms of time and resources. This Licentiate Thesis presents a method for sustainable product development (MSPD). The method is intended to be a complement to existing overarching sustainability management tools and detailed quantitative product analysis tools.

The objectives of the MSPD are: (i) identification of potential problems of present or planned products caused by substances and activities during the product life cycle that are critical with regard to principles for sustainability; (ii) guidance in finding solutions to the potential problems by modifications of present or planned products, and (iii) promotion of new products and business ideas based on sustainability aspects. A method suitable for most enterprises, irrespective of product type or background knowledge, has been sought.

The MSPD includes: (1) a management tool which supports the user with information about, and instructions for applying, the method; (2) a flexible model for an integrated product development process, including checklist questions concerning traditional aspects of product development; (3) a modular system of guiding questions concerning aspects of sustainability, and (4) a prioritisation matrix for evaluation and choice of proposals in each product development phase.

A MSPD prototype has been developed and tested in six small and medium- sized enterprises to study the usability of the basic structure of the method, and to obtain ideas for improvements and further development.

Subject: Mechanical Engineering\General
Keywords: sustainability, sustainable product development, MSPD, SPA.
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00260