An integrated diagnostic tool for identifying and quantifying the opportunities for sustainable consumption and production in industry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A new, integrated, diagnosis tool in the field of industrial sustainability management named the ‘Initial Review for Sustainable Consumption and Production.’ was developed and tested. Most of the existing tools for an initial diagnosis and for identification of suitable interventions in this area have some of the following drawbacks: a. they are incomplete because they do not address all levels of the management pyramid; b. they are qualitative and miss many of the important opportunities for company improvements; c. they are tool-driven. By being tool-driven they are weak because the tools are often used without questioning the specific company's needs. These limiting features of process improvement tools can cause a company to invest its limited resources inappropriately. However, because the ‘New Initial Review’ approach was based on ‘systems theory’ and ‘learning theory,’ it has properties of a holistic, quantifiable and ‘need-driven’ approach. By ‘need-driven’ is meant that selection of the tool or intervention is based on analysis of company's specific needs and potentials for improvement. Pilot testing of the new approach performed in 57 companies documented that the characteristics of the new Integrated Diagnostic Tool are important for orienting enterprise leaders to carefully select the appropriate tools from among the growing number of voluntary tools, to use in their company. The application of this need-driven diagnostic tool resulted in effective identification and efficient exploration of potentials improvements in Sustainable Consumption and Production, which had been hidden within the enterprise management pyramid; some of which started within the enterprise governing levels including relationships with stakeholders and going through management systems and processes to complete life cycle of the products. The research shows importance of a good diagnosis for effectiveness of interventions in area of Sustainable Consumption and Production in industry and discuss related drivers and barriers. Among interesting research findings is high and relatively easily accessible potential for improvements related to relationship with stakeholders or difficulties related to exploration of improvement potential existing at the level of product life cycle. Presented research also justifies a need to further work on development of need driven diagnosis in this area and provides a theoretical framework to do so.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Management

Keywords

  • Cleaner production, Design for sustainability, Holistic assessment, Initial review, Potential for improvement, Sustainable consumption and production
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-576
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume135
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes