Proposal of a Hotspot-based Approach to Identifying Social Impacts along the Product-Service Systems Life Cycle in the Early Design Phases

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Procedia CIRP, 2017, 64 pp. 85 - 90
Issue Date:
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© 2017 The Authors. The potential for sustainability has been highlighted as one of the most important characteristics of product-service systems (PSS). Nevertheless, a PSS is not intrinsically sustainable. Methods and tools for PSS sustainability assessment should be developed to be integrated into the design process, especially in the early design phases, in order to conceive sustainable solutions. In addition, a PSS should be planned considering the three sustainability dimensions, from a life cycle perspective. However, PSS design and assessment considering the full life cycle is scarcely addressed in the literature, especially concerning the social dimension of sustainability. In this sense, this study proposes a streamlined life cycle assessment based approach to identify potential social impacts along the PSS life cycle that can be integrated into the early PSS design stages. The proposal is based on a hotspot analysis, which identifies where in the life cycle the most significant issues may occur. The proposal was developed in three main phases, anchored in both hotspots analysis and PSS literature. After developing it, 10 experts in PSS and sustainability assessed the proposal strengths and weakness. Some suggestions were offered by the researchers and improvements were introduced to the proposal regarding PSS life cycle phases and the social impact subcategories. The experts considered the hotspot analysis suitable to be applied in the early design stages when there is not much information yet regarding the system to conduct a complete life cycle assessment. The next step of this research is the proposal assessment by practitioners in industry. Further work will also integrate the environmental dimension of sustainability into the proposal.
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