Implementation of environmental considerations in product development processes – the process of the research project Christina Grann Myrdal Department of Development and Planning. The Process of investigation
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Implementation of environmental considerations in product development processes – the process of the research projectChristina Grann MyrdalDepartment of Development and Planning
The Process of investigation
The investigation of how ecodesign can be integrated in the case company is divided into four analyses. Through the four analyses the focus is narrowed down based on the findings in each analysis.
The four levels are:
When developing products, product developers have a large influence on a product’s life cycle, e.g. on how the product is produced and which materials can be used.
To implement ecodesign, management support is important to ensure the overall structures but also a bottom-up approach is necessary. The case company has both support from management and employees, but to implement ecodesign, further initiatives must be made. The main research question for the PhD study is:
How is it possible to improve existing procedures for ecodesign at the case company?
1. Analysis: The setting
– Company premises
The point of departure for the research project is:
How can environmental considerations be implemented in Product Development Processes?
There are a number of ways to understand and work with this problem and a lot of research has already been made in the area. The main focus in the research project is an empirical investigation of the implementation of environmental considerations in a Danish case company Grundfos.
2. Analysis: Existing procedures
– Product development processes
The product range
Grundfos, Bjerringbro, Denmark
3. Analysis: Creating new procedures and social networks – Workshops
4. Analysis: Practical support and development
– Ecodesign tools
A-labelled circulation pumps
The purpose of investigating the case company’s
premises for ecodesignis to base the implementa-
tion of ecodesign on existing structures as well as
on other possibilities in the organisation.
The premises are found based on company
documents and through meetings and
interviews with employees at the case
company. Based on the investigation, a
model of the premises is developed.
The purpose of investigating the case
company’s product development processes
is to outline how environmental aspects are
already handled in the case company.
Furthermore, the purpose is to investigate
how ecodesign can be implemented further
in the existing processes.
Premises for ecodesign
The purpose of integrating ecodesign through
workshops is to ensure an interaction between
different functions in the case company and thereby
develop more environmentally friendly products
where the whole life cycle of the products are
Based on the two previous investigations, the
premises and the product development
processes, four types of workshops are
suggested for the case company.
The purpose with the four analyses is to investigate
the development of a specific tool and the
adjustment to the case company’s settings.
The selected tool was a spiderweb diagram with
specific defined parameters for the product
developers to use and evaluate the products
The process showed that when developing and adjusting tools for a company, the work effort in developing the tools should be adjusted according to the complexity of the decisions the product developers must take.
Through a combination of workshops and tools it is possible to implement ecodesign in case company based on the settings of the company. However, to fully integrate ecodesign it will still require a change of procedures and the mindset of product developers.
The further work
The results of the investigations are company specific and to determine if the method of implementing ecodesign in the case company is applicable in general, it could be tested in other companies.
Many thanks to the product developers who participated in this study, especially those who participated in the discussions and testing of different aspects of the four analyses.