SUMMARY

All products and service have an environmental impact during their production, use and disposal. The project focused on finding ways of guiding industrial product design and development towards sustainability, especially from a product-centric point of view. As a results two sustainability guidebooks for metals and engineering industry were created.

RESULT

Two guidebooks on sustainability and environmental issues for metals and engineering industry were created. Guidebooks’ features good practices and case examples how to take sustainability into considerations during the design process and how to show the benefits of an improved environmental progress in business argumentation.

The product design phase is an important phase as the most fundamental decisions affecting the sustainability of the product are made during the design phase. The roadmap for product designers, Elinkaariarviointi tuotesuunnittelussa / Life-cycle assessment in product design, describes sustainability issues compatible with the design process described by the designers by themselves. The roadmap presents product designers with an approach based on life-cycle thinking and use concrete examples how to this kind of approach in their own designing processes. The idea is to steer thinking and discussion on product development in order to increase the awareness of environmental issues.

Another important aspect is the business argumentation for product sustainability. Improved sustainability, more than merely adding costs to the product, can be an important means of differentiation in the markets and gaining market share. The guide Elinkaarinäkökulma liiketoiminnan kehittämisessä/Life-cycle perspective in business development will help to show the benefits of an environmental progress in the business using examples from industry. The guide also gives practical advises how to employ environmental aspects in sales argumentation. 

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MOTIVATION

The created guidebooks enhances sustainability and environmental issues in the companies.

Most decisions are made during the design phase. During the project it was noted that the companies do not especially consider environmental issues or material efficiency during the design phase. Instead decisions, such as material and component selection, are mainly made based on the performance and price, and not from a sustainability perspective. The guidebook created enhances material efficiency and sustainability in the product design process by offering practical guidelines and decision-making roadmap for product designers.

Discussion of sustainability issues interest not only engineers but marketing and sales people, too. Environmental information can be used in sales argumentation, and hence serve to increase environmental understanding on behalf of customers. The guidebook created aid to highlight sustainability issues in business argumentation helping differentiation in the market and gaining market share.

APPLICATIONS/
IMPACT

Guidebooks enhance environmental progress and sustainability by helping companies to take sustainability into consideration during an industrial design process and to see business potential in sustainable solutions. Guidebooks can be used, for instance, in sales and marketing, product and process development, and training.

MAIN CONTACT

Nani Pajunen, Aalto University

PROJECT PARTNERS

Ruukki Construction Oy, SSAB Europe Oy, Metso Minerals Oy, Aalto University