This study focuses on British Sustainability-inspired Business Startups (SiBS) from two sectors of the creative industry: fashion clothing and gifts. These two sectors are some of those that motivate most entrepreneurship, by using distinct elements of business models to attract their consumers. While price and style have led consumers to look for products with short lifespans, reducing sustainability impact is a growing concern in the fashion clothing and gifts sectors, what motivates some sustainable initiatives to be taken in place. However, although some sustainable initiatives have emerged, there is no clear understanding of how they are based in the business drivers or in the business models, and if these initiatives are contributing to startups to succeed. This research aims to provide new understanding of the role of sustainability in the business startups from the fashion clothing and gifts sectors which offer manufactured green products. In order to narrow the presenting study, specific research questions are: What are the drivers of SiBS and do they differ from generic-mainstream startups? What business models are adopted by SiBS, how and why? and What are the factors affecting the longevity of the startups investigated and why? Case study method was chosen to allow in-depth investigation and analyses of multiple variables in each startup investigated. Then, qualitative data from each startup was collected by different sources: interviews, direct observation and documentation. The use of multiple sources of evidence allowed triangulation between data collected. Fifteen British startups were examined, covering generic-mainstream and SiBS, business lifetimes up to ten years, and two sectors in the experimental group (fashion clothing, with four startups; and gifts, with six startups) and one sector in the control group (energy, with five startups). Data analysis consisted of within-case study and multi-case study. In-depth investigation provided richness of information from each startup and the identification of similarities and differences between groups of startups investigated. Accordingly, the findings of this research suggest that: Regarding business drivers, startups in the gifts and fashion clothing sectors are more motivated by lifestyle and less motivated by money than energy firms; Also, SiBS are driven by the founder’s motivation when aiming to incorporate sustainability aspects into their business activities, while generic- mainstream startups are driven by money with focus on profits; Regarding business models, iii SiBS prioritise environmental and social issues as main elements of their business models; Furthermore, business models do not really change throughout the growth of startups; Regarding business longevity, most startups in the gifts and fashion clothing sectors do not have clear financial strategies but this is commonly clear in the energy firms. Important differences in outlook between different groups and types of business startups (generic-mainstream and SiBS) investigated in this study lead to the conclusion that: The awareness of two financial aspects (financial literacy and financial importance) provide an opportunity to increase chances of success in the early days of SiBS; The dissemination of the types of business models innovation for sustainability may motivate the development of more sustainable practices into the SiBS operations; And the emphasis on sustainability in business startups, either as through the business drivers or the business models adopted, is a central and long-term strategy that may increase the significance, the number and the importance of SiBS.
Every year in Europe refrigerant gases with a greenhouse-warming equivalent of more than 30 Mt CO2 are emitted from retail refrigerators. Furthermore, the effective efficiency of such refrigerators is far below that achievable under ideal (e.g. optimal-load; minimum access) operation. In this work the design of an alternative on-demand cooling unit is presented. The unit is based on the cooling effect provided by desorption of carbon dioxide previously adsorbed onto a bed of graphite-bonded activated carbon: in this paper, a case study of a self-chilling beverage can is used to demonstrate the technology. The high compaction of the activated carbon, and the presence of graphite, enhances the heat transfer properties of the adsorbent, thus enhancing the efficiency of cooling. Furthermore, potential exists for the use of activated carbon and CO2 from waste sources. This paper provides an overview of the design basis and environmental advantages of the unit, and experimental and simulation studies on the thermal dynamics of the cooling process. Particular attention is given to the effective thermal conductivity of the activated carbon bed. The results indicate that adequate on-demand cooling can be achieved within a portable unit. However, scope exists for enhancing the heat transfer within the cooling chamber through design and bed composition alterations. Recommendations for improved unit design are presented.
The chill-on-demand system is a technology designed to provide cooled products on demand, thereby avoiding any requirement for chilled storage. It uses the cooling effect provided by the endothermic desorption of carbon dioxide previously adsorbed onto a bed of activated carbon contained in an inner component of the self-chilling product. This has the potential to be applied to any type of product that needs to be cold at the point of consumption. The principles of life cycle engineering have been utilized to evaluate the overall environmental performance of one possible application of this technology: a self-chilling beverage can, with a steel outer can to contain the beverage and an inner aluminium can to contain the adsorbent. The primary aim of this research is to devise a way to ensure that the self-chilling can supplies the best cooling performance with minimal global environmental impact. First, the adsorption/desorption process as a means of cooling was investigated, together with its application to the specific case of carbon dioxide adsorbed on a bed of activated carbon obtained from coconut shells. A specific experimental activity was designed and supported by the implementation of a transient heat exchange model. Next, the potential environmental impacts of the product were evaluated by using a Life Cycle Assessment tool. The analysis considered all the life cycle stages of a self-chilling can: from the manufacture of each part of the beverage container, to its utilization and end-of-life management. The results, compared with those of a conventional beverage can, highlight the importance of using activated carbon derived from biomass and locating its production in countries with a low carbon-intensity electricity supply. More substantial environmental and technical improvements would depend on finding adsorbents with much larger capacity, and developing a system with very high rates of recovery and re-use.
The Construction sector is characterised by complex supply networks delivering unique end products over short time scales. Sustainability has increased in importance but continues to be difficult to implement in this sector; thus, new approaches and practices are needed. This paper reports an empirical investigation into the value of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG12), when used as a framework for action by organisations to drive change towards sustainability in global supply networks. Through inductive research, two different and contrasting approaches to improving the sustainability of supply networks have been revealed. One approach focuses on the “bottom up” ethical approach typified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of timber products, and the other on “top-down” regulations exemplified by the UK Modern Slavery Act. In an industry noted for complex supply networks and characterised by adversarial relationships, the findings suggest that, in the long term, promoting shared values aligned with transparent, third-party monitoring will be more effective than imposing standards through legislation and regulation in supporting sustainable consumption and production.
Roland Clift, S Sim, H King, Jonathan Chenoweth, Ian Christie, J Clavreul, C Mueller, L Posthuma, A-M Boulay, R Chaplin-Kramer, J Chatterton, F DeClerck, Angela Druckman, Christopher France, A Franco, D Gerten, M Goedkoop, MZ Hauschild, MAJ Huijbregts, T Koellner, EF Lambin, Jacquetta Lee, Simon Mair, S Marshall, MS McLachlan, L Milà i Canals, C Mitchell, E Price, J Rockström, James Suckling, Richard Murphy (2017)The Challenges of Applying Planetary Boundaries as a Basis for Strategic Decision-Making in Companies with Global Supply Chains, In: Sustainability9(2)
The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the ‘safe operating space’ bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting ‘distance from boundary’ measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
Activated carbons have excellent performance in a number of process applications. In particular, they appear to have the most favourable characteristics for adsorption processes, thanks to their high porosity and large surface area. However, a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts of their manufacturing chain is still lacking. This study evaluates these impacts taking the specific case of activated carbon produced from coconut shells in Indonesia, which is the major coconut producer county. Coconut shells as raw materials are utilized for activated carbon production due to their abundant supply, high density and purity, and because they seem to have a clear environmental advantage over coal-based carbons, particularly in terms of acidification potential, non-renewable energy demand and carbon footprint. Life Cycle Assessment and process analysis are used to quantify all the environmental interactions over the stages of the life cycle of an activated carbon manufacturing chain, in terms of inputs of energy and natural resources and of outputs of emissions to the different environmental compartments. Estimates for the environmental burdens over the life cycle have been obtained by developing mass and energy balances for each of the process units in the production chain. The results indicate the operations with the greatest effects on the environmental performance of activated carbon production and hence where improvements are necessary. In particular, using electrical energy produced from renewable sources, such as biomass, would reduce the contributions to human toxicity (by up to 60%) and global warming (by up to 80%). Moreover, when the material is transported for processing in a country with a low-carbon electricity system, the potential human toxicity and global warming impacts can be reduced by as much as 90% and 60% respectively.
Within the aerospace, defence, space, and security (ADS) industries, there is a growing reporting requirement and interest in understanding and reducing the environmental impacts of products and related risks to business. This dissertation presents the research carried out in collaboration with six ADS companies (ADS Group, Airbus Group, BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace, Granta Design, and Rolls-Royce) to establish industry methods for consistently measuring and reporting two pre-selected product-based environmental indicators identified as important to the industry: energy consumption and access to resources. Following an action research approach, four potential methods for calculating and reporting the manufacturing energy footprint of ADS products were identified and industry tested on three case study parts selected by Airbus Group, Bombardier Aerospace, and Rolls-Royce. Methods tested were: (1) Direct measurement, (2) Theoretical calculation, (3) Facility level allocation of energy consumption (based on annual production hours, quantity, and weight of parts manufactured), and (4) Approximation based on generic data. Method 3 (Production Hours) was found to be the most suitable “single” method for immediately reporting the manufacturing energy footprint of parts as it was quick to implement and based on widely available industry data. Regarding the comparability of methods, methods were found to be incomparable and produce significantly different results when applied to calculate the manufacturing energy footprint of the same part. Differences in the comparison of two methods could be in the order of one magnitude based on findings. Such large differences are significant for understanding energy use/costs, environmental impacts (e.g. carbon footprint), and reliably reporting and comparing information for informing decisions. Therefore, methods for calculating the manufacturing energy footprint of products cannot be assumed to be interchangeable and stacked in LCAs, EPDs, and other standards. These findings challenge current LCA practices and the interpretation of product-based environmental declarations if multiple methods have been used and results stacked. Thus, existing standards and growing product-orientated environmental polices allowing for the use of multiple methods (e.g. EPDs and PEFs) may indeed proliferate incomparability rather than engender comparability. Regarding approximating product energy footprints using generic data, the research was only able to approximate the machining energy consumption associated with the case study parts because of data gaps in the generic database. However, a high comparability between generic data use and direct measurement (i.e. specific/primary data) was found. These limited findings challenge attitudes towards generic data use and indicate potential scope to replace expensive primary data collection with more cost-effective (and similarly accurate) generic data. With regards to proposing a method for measuring the access to resources (A2R) product-based environmental indicator, several supply risk indicators and methodological choices for measuring the indicator were identified. Methodological choices included decisions such as to normalise and aggregate supply risk indicators into a single score. A workshop with the industry consortium was consequently carried out to explore and agree: (1) what indicators should be selected to appropriately measure A2R, and (2) how the selected indicators should be measured. Out of 18 potential supply risk indicators, five were identified as key: conflict material risk, environmental country risk, price volatility risk, sourcing and geopolitical risk, and monopoly of supply risk were selected because of clear links to legislation, use of reliable data, and effect on material prices. Regarding methodological choices for measuring A2R, the industry consortium preferred to avoid normalising and aggregating indicators to prevent masking information. The dissertation highlights several major contributions to knowledge, industry, policy, and the development of standards as a result of the research. The main contribution to knowledge is the methods developed and the learnings derived from the process undertaken to determine them. The main contribution and benefit to the ADS industries are single, practical, research informed, and industry consortium agreed methods for cost-effectively measuring two product-based environmental indicators (which support the informational requirements of a wide range of stakeholders and potential end-uses). The examined indicators and the 'case study’ approach utilised with an industry consortium to identify the generic issues in developing suitable methods will be of value for: (1) other industries with similar product/value chain characteristics, and (2) the development of methods for measuring other product-based environmental indicators for industry use (e.g. water, waste, recyclability, etc.). Presented research outcomes provide valuable industry insights for informing the development of emerging product-orientated environmental policies and standards in a manner which benefit the ADS industries and broader environment. Overall, the research has enhanced academic understanding and provides industry capability to support businesses and other similar industries to consistently assess, report, and improve the sustainability of their products and supply chains.
Municipal waste production is one of the most widely recognised environmental issues in society today. In the UK, households are responsible for generating millions of tonnes of waste materials each year, with food waste proving to be a particularly problematic waste stream. Local authorities, who are responsible for waste management, have historically relied on changes to physical infrastructure or informational interventions to drive performance improvements. However, in times of increasing financial pressures, there has been a growing recognition that the transition to a sustainable, resilient and resourceful society will require fundamental changes to the way people think and behave. Indeed, what connects many modern-day sustainability challenges are their roots in human behaviour. While various ‘tools of government’ can be employed to realise strategic public policy objectives, emergent localism and the apparent ineffectiveness of this traditional approach catalysed a shift towards ensuring that statutory requirements were delivered more efficiently than ever before. This led to a widespread application of ‘insights’, synthesised from behavioural sciences, to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of new policy interventions. Enthusiasm to the so-called ‘nudge’ approach, which recognises that behaviour can be strongly and automatically influenced by the context in which it is situated, soon trickled down to local government, creating a growing appetite for the approach. These collective ‘behavioural insights’ provided local authorities with a powerful new set of policy tools that, if used correctly, could be used to influence waste behaviours. This research explored their application by evaluating the efficacy and affordability of those nudges that could feasibly be introduced at scale by local authority practitioners to produce a positive and sustained influence on household food waste recycling behaviour. By adopting a mixed-methods approach it was shown that, by making simple changes to the existing ‘choice environment’ in Surrey, it was possible to ‘nudge’ households towards engaging (more) in food waste recycling behaviour. Further, it was found that prompt-based nudges, using stickers as the medium of delivery, were particularly effective, with effects persisting for far longer than has typically been achieved using more ‘traditional’ informational policy interventions. While popular, the practice of ‘nudging’ has a range of issues, both conceptual and controversial, so it is important for policymakers to be aware of the differing philosophies, efficacy, methodologies and ethics associated with these types of intervention. While nudges may not be the ‘silver bullet’, it is argued that they are, at least for now, useful devices for policymakers to have in their ‘toolkit’.
Driven by increased urbanisation, construction of buildings and infrastructure continues to grow worldwide, further exacerbating the social and environmental impacts created by this sector. Large scale projects, requiring thousands of component parts and globally sourced materials, flow across supply networks to construct built assets. Embodied within these supply networks are minerals, energy, water, labour, waste, modern slavery and other human rights abuses. This thesis focuses on the UK construction industry and the ability of the main contractor, a key procurer of materials and manager of the build process, to affect the sustainability of the final asset. This research is case study based on unprecedented access to staff and key suppliers of a major UK main contractor, Carillion plc. The work is an holistic approach to sustainability, incorporating both social and environmental lifecycle thinking, sustainable supply chain theory, and the fields of stakeholder and collaborative working. Applying grounded theory methodology, four major themes emerge from this inductive research; fragmentation, the role of focal nodes, inter- and intra-company collaboration and knowledge of sustainability. Set within the context of a lifecycle perspective they define the ability of the main contractor to directly implement or influence sustainable build. The research develops theory uniting economic equity, network actor perspective and life stage impacts. The findings demonstrate that operating within current unsustainable business models the main contractor can only play a bit role. Additionally, it provides the basis for recommendations on business model, policy and process change.
There is increasing concern over the climate change impact of games consoles. There is, however, little research on the life cycle carbon impact of consoles and existing research (the majority of which is focused on usage) is outdated. This study uses life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to compare the climate change impact of different console-based gaming methods (i.e. games played from a disc, a down-loaded file, or streamed from the cloud). Console usage and Internet usage were identified as life cycle stages where data were unknown or uncertain. Two studies to improve the understanding of these areas were undertaken in this research and used to complete a cradle-to-grave carbon footprint study of gaming (compared using a functional unit of carbon equivalent emissions per hour of gameplay). Results estimated that, for average cases, download is the lowest carbon method of gaming at 0.047 kgCO2e/h, followed by disc at 0.055 kgCO2e/h. Cloud gaming has higher estimated carbon emissions at 0.149 kgCO2e/h, largely due to the additional energy consumed during use in the Internet, gaming servers, and home router equip-ment. These findings only represent average cases and the size of game files and length of gameplay time were found to be key variables significantly impacting the results. For example, for games played for under 8 hours, cloud gaming was found to have lower carbon emissions than downloads (up to 24 hours when compared to disc). In order to analyse these results, a new method for identifying which gaming method has the lowest carbon emissions with variation in both file size and gameplay time was developed. This has allowed for the identification of the thresholds in which different gaming methods have lowest carbon emissions, for any given range of input variables. The carbon emissions of gaming are highly dependent on consumer behav-iour (which game method is used, how long games are played for, and the type and size of those games) and therefore LCA based on average assumptions for these variables has limited application.
The purpose of this paper is to report the results of testing a new approach to strategic sustainability and resilience – Sustainable Resilient Strategic Decision-Support (SuReSDS™). Design/methodology/approach
The approach was developed and tested using action-research case studies at industrial companies. It successfully allowed the participants to capture different types of value affected by their choices, optimise each strategy’s resilience against different future scenarios and compare the results to find a “best” option. Findings
SuReSDS™ enabled a novel integration of environmental and social sustainability into strategy by considering significant risks or opportunities for an enhanced group of stakeholders. It assisted users to identify and manage risks from different kinds of sustainability-related uncertainty by applying resilience techniques. Users incorporated insights into real-world strategies. Research limitations/implications
Since the case studies and test organisations are limited in number, generalisation from the results is difficult and requires further research. Practical implications
The approach enables companies to utilise in-house and external experts more effectively to develop sustainable and resilient strategies. Originality/value
The research described develops theories linking sustainability and resilience for organisations, particularly for strategy, to provide a new consistent, rigorous and flexible approach for applying these theories. The approach has been tested successfully and benefited real-world strategy decisions.
I. Murray, M. MacCormick, D. Bazin, P. Doornenbal, N. Aoi, H. Baba, H. Crawford, P. Fallon, K. Li, J. Lee, M. Matsushita, T. Motobayashi, T. Otsuka, H. Sakurai, H. Scheit, D. Steppenbeck, S. Takeuchi, J. A. Tostevin, N. Tsunoda, Y. Utsuno, H. Wang, K. Yoneda (2019)Spectroscopy of strongly deformed 32Ne by proton knockout reactions, In: Physical Review C99(1)pp. 011302-1
American Physical Society
Low lying states of neutron-rich 32Ne were populated by means of one- and two-proton knock- out reactions at the RIKEN Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory. A new transition is observed at 1410(15) keV and assigned to the 4+ 1 → 2+ 1 decay. With this energy the R4/2 ratio is calculated to be 2.99(6), lying close to the rigid rotor limit and suggests a high degree of collectivity and strongest deformation among neutron-rich Neon isotopes. Comparisons of experimental inclusive and exclu- sive reaction cross sections with shell model and eikonal reaction dynamical calculations reveals considerable quenching for this highly asymmetric system and contributes to systematic trends.
This comprehensive volume contains vital industry intelligence and foresight, making it an essential source of information for managers, consultants, regulators ...
Mobile phones offer many potential social benefits throughout their lifetime, but this life is often much shorter than design intent. Reuse of the phone in a developing country allows these social benefits to be fully realized. Unfortunately, under the current state of development of recycling infrastructure, recovery rates of phones after reuse are very low in those markets, which may lead to an environmental burden due to loss of materials to landfill. In order to recover those materials most effectively, recycling in developed countries may be the best option, but at a cost of the ability to reuse the phones. The issues facing integration of social and environmental concerns into a single life cycle assessment and resulting challenges of identifying the disposal option with the most sustainable outcome are explored using mobile phones as a case study. These include obtaining sufficient geographical and temporal detail of the end of life options, the collation and analysis of the large amounts of data generated and the weighting of the disparate environmental and social impact categories. The numerous challenges may mount up to make performing life cycle assessment of mobile phones unwieldy. Instead of trying to encompass every aspect in full, it is proposed that focus is given to answering a question which takes into account the resources available: it is important to ask the question which has the best chance of being answered.
Xiaobo Chen, Jacquetta Lee (2019)How to create a business relevant LCA, In: Technologies and Eco-innovation towards Sustainability I: Eco Design of Products and Services1pp. 287-298
Facing issues related to innovative production and public requirement in sustainability, companies expect to develop an effective tool to integrate environmental aspects into their business strategies at product design stage. Although life cycle assessment is commonly used to evaluate the environmental impacts of products or services, it is time consuming, expensive and may produce irrelevant information for business decision making. Eco-design approach, as alternative, requires less efforts for data acquisition and evaluation, and utilises a wide range of indicators that meet business demand. This study develops a matrix-based tool to capture environmental information related to business according to industry engagement. This life cycle thinking-based approach focuses on more relevant environmental information, and provides effectively data to support business strategy. In addition, this approach is practical and flexible to be used at the early design stage where data capture is generally difficult. Finally, it helps the managers to identify data gaps, so that it stimulates further investments in searching more targeted data.
This paper describes the challenges faced, and opportunities identified, by a multidisciplinary team of researchers developing a novel closed loop system to recover valuable metals and reduce e-waste, focusing on mobile phones as a case study. This multidisciplinary approach is contrasted with current top-down approaches to making the transition to the circular economy (CE). The aim of the research presented here is to develop a product service system (PSS) that facilitates the recovery of valuable functional components and metals from mobile phone circuit boards. To create a holistic solution and limit unintended consequences, in addition to technological solutions, this paper considers appropriate component lifetimes; the (often ignored) role of the citizen in the circular economy; customer interaction with the PSS; environmental life cycle assessment; and social impacts of the proposed PSS. Development of enabling technologies and materials to facilitate recovery of components and metals and to provide an emotionally durable external enclosure is described. This research also highlights the importance of understanding value in the CE from a multifaceted and interdisciplinary perspective.
Hibernation, the dead storage period when a mobile phone is still retained by the user at its end-of-life, is both a common and a significant barrier to the effective flow of time-sensitive stock value within a circular economic model. In this paper we present the findings of a survey of 181 mobile phone owners, aged between 18–25 years old, living and studying in the UK, which explored mobile phone ownership, reasons for hibernation, and replacement motives. This paper also outlines and implements a novel mechanism for quantifying the mean hibernation period based on the survey findings. The results show that only 33.70% of previously owned mobile phones were returned back into the system. The average duration of ownership of mobile phones kept and still in hibernation was 4 years 11 months, with average use and hibernation durations of 1 year 11 months, and 3 years respectively; on average, mobile phones that are kept by the user are hibernated for longer than they are ever actually used as primary devices. The results also indicate that mobile phone replacement is driven primarily by physical (technological, functional and absolute) obsolescence, with economic obsolescence, partly in response to the notion of being ‘due an upgrade’, also featuring significantly. We also identify in this paper the concept of a secondary phone, a recently replaced phone that holds a different function for the user than their primary phone but is still valued and intentionally retained by the user, and which, we conclude, should be accounted for in any reverse logistics strategy.
Amidst the great technological progress being made in the field of nanotechnology, we are confronted by both conventional and novel environmental challenges and opportunities. Several gaps exist in the present state of knowledge or experience with nanomaterials. Understanding and managing the uncertainties that these gaps cause in LCAs is essential. Traditionally used for more established technology systems, environmental LCA is now being applied to nanomaterials by policy-makers, researchers and industry. However, the aleatory (variability) and epistemic (system process) uncertainties in LCAs of nanomaterials need to be handled correctly and communicated in the analysis. Otherwise, the results risk being misinterpreted, misguiding decision-making processes and could lead to significant detrimental effects for industry, research and policy-making. Here, we review current life cycle assessment literature for carbon nanotubes, and identify the key sources of uncertainty that need to be taken into consideration. These include: the potential for non-equivalency between mass and toxicity (potentially requiring inventory and impact models to be adjusted); the use of proxy data to bridge gaps in inventory data; and the often very wide ranges in material performance, process energy and product lifetimes quoted.
The mobile phone industry is based upon the rapid development of handsets and the high turnover of devices in order to drive sales. Phones are often used for shorter periods of time than their designed life, and when discarded it is often through channels that result in lost resource. This unsustainable business model places strain on resources and creates adverse environmental and social impacts. Through interrogation of a stock and flow model, a product-service system (PSS) for a small consumer electronic device, a mobile telephone, is proposed. The points at which value may be extracted from the PSS are identified. A quantitative measure of value is proposed in order to allow the evaluation of the most appropriate time to extract it. This value is not solely monetary, but is derived from the combination of indicators which encompass environmental, economic, and technological factors. A worked example is presented, in which it is found that the precious metals within the phone are the main determinants for value extraction. These metals are found in the printed circuit board, leading to a requirement to design phones for ease of extraction of these components in order to access the value within.
Within the aerospace industry there is a growing interest in evaluating and reducing the environmental impacts of products and related risks to business. Consequently, requests from governments, customers, manufacturers, and other interested stakeholders, for environmental information about aerospace products are becoming widespread. Presently, requests are inconsistent and this limits the ability of the aerospace industry to meet the informational needs of various stakeholders and reduce the environmental impacts of their products in a cost-effective manner. Energy consumption is a significant business cost, risk, and a simple proxy value for overall environmental impact. This paper presents the initial research carried out by an academic and industry consortium to develop standardised methods for calculating and reporting the embodied manufacturing energy content of aerospace products. Following an action research approach, three potential methods are identified and applied in a real manufacturing environment. Suitability for use across the aerospace value chain is assessed. The benefits, implementations issues, areas of data uncertainty, and differences in results are outlined. Results show companies could be over/under reporting the embodied manufacturing energy content of parts by a factor of 10. The subsequent business and EU policy implications for industry reporting and evaluating product risks are discussed. The paper concludes the novel research outcomes will be valuable to businesses and other interested stakeholders seeking to report or understand the embodied energy content of aerospace products and associated data uncertainty, as well as inform the development of future industry standards.
There is a limited penetration of housing which offsets all operational carbon emissions within UK housing developer portfolios. This paper develops a balanced approach to zero carbon housing design from both architectural and national house builder perspectives. The paper discusses the techniques which can be used to reduce build costs, simplify designs and simplify renewable energy systems, resulting in more cost effective homes. The paper develops a technical and economic linked model to optimise a zero carbon design and then develops a home using this technique. It acknowledges that extra costs are inevitable but minimises them and details a lifecycle costing approach to provide economic justification. The paper then focuses on how the building designed can function more efficiently and economically than a Part L 2013 Building Regulation compliant building. Improved functionality is demonstrated both with and without the use of feed in tariffs. A key finding from this research is that zero carbon homes can benefit the consumer without impacting the developer. The results also demonstrate that homes could be better marketed on economic rather than environmental or technical attributes.
The aim of this work was to study the potentials and benefits of dynamic biogas production from Anaerobic Digestion (AD) of sewage sludge. The biogas production rate was aimed to match the flexible demand for electricity generation and so appropriate feeding regimes were calculated and tested in both pilot and demonstration scale.
The results demonstrate that flexibilization capability exists for both conventional AD and advanced AD using Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) as pre-treatment. Whilst the former provides lower capability, flexible biogas production was achieved by the latter, as it provides a quick response. In all scenarios, the value of the biogas converted into electricity is higher than with a steady operational regime, increasing by 3.6% on average (up to 5.0%) in conventional and by 4.8% on average (up to 7.1%) with THP. The process has proven scalable up to 18m3 digester capacity in operational conditions like those in full scale.
Purpose: To explore the literature surrounding the environmental impact of mobile phones and the implications of moving from the current business model of selling, using and discarding phones to a product service system based upon a cloud service. The exploration of the impacts relating to this shift and subsequent change in scope is explored in relation to the life cycle profile of a typical smartphone. Methods: A literature study is conducted into the existing literature in order to define the characteristics of a “typical” smartphone. Focus is given to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in different life cycle phases in line with that reported in the majority of literature. Usage patterns from literature are presented in order to show how a smartphone is increasingly responsible for not only data consumption, but also data generation. The subsequent consequences of this for the balance of the life cycle phases are explored with the inclusion of wider elements in the potential expanded mobile infrastructure, such as servers and the network. Result & Discussions: From the available literature the manufacturing phase is shown to dominate the life cycle of a “typical” smartphone for GHG emissions. Smartphone users are shown to be increasingly reliant upon the internet for provision of their communications. Adding a server into the scope of a smartphone is shown to increase the use phase impact from 8.5 kgCO2-eq to 18.0 kgCO2-eq, other phases are less affected. Addition of the network increases the use phase by another 24.7 kgCO2-eq. In addition, it is shown that take-back of mobile phones is not effective at present and that prompt return of the phones could result in reduction in impact by best reuse potential and further reduction in toxic emissions through inappropriate disposal. Conclusions: The way in which consumers interact with their phones is changing, leading to a system which is far more integrated with the internet. A product service system based upon a cloud service highlights the need for improved energy efficiency to make greatest reduction in GHG emissions in the use phase, and gives a mechanism to exploit residual value of the handsets by timely return of the phones, their components and recovery of materials.
Companies which integrate sustainability into their strategies outperform competitors both financially and in the stock-market. Advice on how to create sustainable strategy is not explicit, so organisations must either find their own way or struggle to do this. Sustainable firms also need resilient strategies in shifting business conditions, yet guidance for combining resilience with sustainability is almost non-existent. Strategy furthermore involves a choice between options which require allocation of scarce organisational resources, and so firms need an approach to allow them to not only identify their risks and opportunities, but also to find the most robust method to manage these. These choices are becoming more critical for Ford Motor Company, as the automotive sector undergoes rapid technological and social change. This research developed an approach (named Sustainable Resilient Strategic Decision-Support: SuReSDS™) to allow those analysing strategy to capture different types of sustainable value affected by their choices, and investigate how to optimise each strategy’s resilience against different possible future scenarios. By comparing the results a contextually “best” option can be found. This process was developed using desk-top and action-research case studies, at Ford and an SME, Butyl Products. The use of SuReSDS™ allowed users to integrate environmental and social sustainability into strategy by considering significant risks or opportunities for a wider group of stakeholders than previously. It also assisted them to identify and manage risks from different kinds of uncertainty. This provided participants with insights which were incorporated into real-world strategy decisions. The approach is modular and generic, so that it is suitable for different organisation types conducting business-model, product-service or technology-level analysis, and can cope with varying levels of precision, from qualitative concepts to quantitative data. The approach cannot replace knowledge-transfer on sustainability issues or resilience-building skills altogether, but enables companies to utilise in-house or external experts more effectively.
Understanding the potential environmental impacts of the materials we use is important. By doing this we can chose whether or not to regulate, reduce or ban substances which potentially present significant risk to human health and ecosystems. But in order to make environmental decisions effectively, we must collect, analyse and communicate information in the right way. Decision-making processes for emerging materials often do not consider the life cycle implications of substitute materials, nor the implications of uncertain data. This Engineering Doctorate (EngD) project explores how information provision about emerging materials can allow effective decision-making on environmental issues. This research examines the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool for understanding the environmental impact of emerging materials across the life cycle within a product. It reviews the use of life cycle thinking in policy-making to determine key aspects for decision-support; the challenges of applying LCA principles towards emerging materials and key pathways for managing uncertainty. It also evaluates how LCA can be relevant to industry as a mechanism for decision-support on new materials. These aspects are explored through novel LCA case studies. Key contributions to knowledge come from development of strategic pathways for managing uncertainty relating to carbon nanomaterials and the identification of appropriate methods of uncertainty assessment of emerging materials where uncertainty is very high. Novel LCA studies on emerging nanomaterial and solar technology also contribute new understanding on the life cycle aspects of these systems. Case study on the industry use of LCA adds to discussion on organisational environmental footprinting, and suggests new approaches for LCAs use within decision-support. Examination of life cycle thinking within policy highlights the urgent need for policy-makers to better assess the potential for unforeseen consequences as a result of precautionary action. This thesis brings together discussion on the implications of life cycle thinking for policy-makers and industry, with the practical challenges of performing LCA on emerging materials where uncertainty is high and little data is available. Its conclusions accentuate the need for better collaboration with industry both in obtaining life cycle data and incorporating LCA into decision-support, and the important role scenario analysis, expert engagement and risk assessment has in supporting uncertainty management where uncertainties are very high.
Implementing zero carbon homes within commercial housing developments has proven difficult. This has resulted in a stagnated zero carbon housing sector and a lack of truly innovative designs within national house builder portfolios. Key industry stakeholders justify this by reference to a number of economic, regulatory, market, technological and structural based issues. This research develops an approach to zero carbon homes that brings design and commercial perspectives together to address these major issues. Out of this approach, an optimised design with a unique economic model has been developed. The economics of this design challenge the widely accepted notions of house price and affordability in traditional builds. The research findings are presented through a life cycle cost analysis. A significant finding from this research is that zero carbon homes could be better marketed on economic rather than environmental benefits so long as the user practice, technological and structural barriers are also addressed at the design stage. An exploration of stakeholder attitudes towards the mainstream take up is also carried out. It identifies and positions the key stakeholders involved in the implementation process using the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) and Transitions Theory, generating a better understanding of what and who is required to transition the sector towards decarbonisation. In depth interviews and an observation study were conducted with these participants. This section of the research examines stakeholders opinions on whether the optimised zero carbon home is commercially viable. New insights are generated and existing insights from the literature are contextualised using the optimised design. This creates an analysis of its commercial potential. The research concludes by demonstrating the need to conduct further studies into wider systemic issues and to explore alternative routes to market.