Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Purpose - This paper aims to investigate how green product design has been practiced within the Swedish furniture industry. Furthermore, to investigate how green product design can reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Theoretical framework - The literature used to serve as a base for this paper includes some aspects concerning Green Supply Chain Management, but fundamentally concerns green or environmentally conscious design, motivators for designing „green‟ products, such as legislation, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), internal policy documents and/or green guidelines/certificates, innovation, competitiveness, economic performance, brand image and reputation, and others. Consequently, factors for product design itself were discussed, such as environmentally conscious design, efficient utilization of materials, minimizing waste, time and cost efficiency, types of materials used, etc. Moreover, sustainability aspects are considered vital, namely economic, social and environmental practices, as particular attention is paid to the economic and environmental aspects.
Methodology - For the purpose of this research paper, (multiple) case studies were chosen to be implemented. One face-to-face, two telephone and two Skype/online interviews were conducted based on semi-structured interview questions. The data collected is from four companies, two of them preferred to remain anonymous, i.e. Office Furniture and Office Design, and the other two were Kinnarps and Skandiform.
Findings - The empirical findings gathered for this research comply with the majority of theoretical data provided. A number of the most important and applicable green product design factors, and more specifically the aim of reducing negative environmental impacts, drive companies to implement environmentally conscious design, efficient utilization of materials, minimizing waste, costs associated, types of materials used, product safety, among many others. Furthermore, economic, social and environmental (overall regarded as sustainability for the purpose of this paper) factors are taken into consideration. Economic and environmental issues were mostly discussed and pinpointed as essential.
Conclusions - Green product design should follow a number of important factors in order to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. It is essential to understand a company‟s motivation for designing green products. Nevertheless, such factors as well as economic aspects regarding green design should be complementing each other.
2012. , 61 p.