Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Approaching Strategic Sustainable Materials Management
Blekinge Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Society’s sustainability challenges relatedto materials management have been an area of concern for policymakers, industry and the public for decades. However, if those challenges are managed in a strategic way, they are not only aproblem, but could also bring in new opportunity for companies and other organizations to improve their competitiveness through developingproduct-service systems that promote sustainable development of society. The overall aim of this thesis is to explore how aframework for strategic sustainable development (FSSD) can support the development and design of sustainable materials management strategies in product innovation. This is achieved by four studies investigating howsustainability considerations are, or could be, integrated in decisions regarding materials selection. The studies are informed by the FSSD, Maxwell’s model for qualitative research design and the design research methodology. The first study is a theoretical discussion which provides a base for the following three exploratory studies. The exploratory studies have, through literature reviews and semi-structured interviews, investigated general sustainabilityconsiderations in companies, made a comparison of the strategic potential of two product improvement strategies and finally studied what considerations that are in focus and what types of solutions that are revealed when companies apply a strategic sustainability perspective to materials management. The studies have shown that decisions regarding materials management often arebased on compliance with legislation and on avoiding substances with characteristics commonly considered problematic (such as toxicity, persistency, etc.), and that decision support regarding how materials could be managed in a sustainable way are lacking. However, the results also include some examples from companies that have successfully developed pro-active strategies towards sustainable materials management. They have approached this through managing materials in closedtechnical loops, enabled material substitution through value chain collaboration and reduced material flows through new and innovative design. Most importantly, they have assessedactions not only regarding their potential to reduce a selection of current socio-ecological impacts but also regarding their potential to link toforthcoming actions towards the full scope of socio-ecological sustainability. Through this approach, they have found several ways by which materials with characteristics that are commonly considered problematic can be. The results highlight the possibility of enabling sustainable materials management practices by using a strategic sustainability perspective in combination with material characteristics knowledge and that a static division of “sustainable” vs. “unsustainable” materials (e.g., through lists of forbidden and allowed materials) is not necessarily serving the purpose in the best way. More subtle considerations are needed. By not applying a strategic sustainability perspective to materials management, organizations risk using “sustainable” materials in unsustainable ways or phasing out “unsustainable” materials that, managed differently, could be helpful for sustainable development. Developing decision support for materials management that integrates this new way of thinking will be the focus of future work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Institute of Technology , 2013.
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 4
Keyword [en]
Material selection, Strategic sustainable development, Sustainable materials management
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Applied Mechanics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00556Local ID: oai:bth.se:forskinfoA977893FC498C1A2C1257B43004B19DBISBN: 978-91-7295-255-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-00556DiVA: diva2:834562
Available from: 2013-04-24 Created: 2013-04-04 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1100 kB)79 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1100 kBChecksum SHA-512
e85365ad4ead75ec327bfb481995c8eb60c4015c7cb2d02ce73b853b0f63780f09ed12f59cc0e7045363f101532d8493f035b014b61f5119393a438eb5beb230
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lindahl, Pia
By organisation
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Social Sciences InterdisciplinaryApplied Mechanics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 79 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 149 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link