Analysis of design for environment requirements for future consumer electronics
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management
|PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Oulu : S. Parajuli,
|Master's thesis (tech)
The scope of the study was to outline the critical areas of ‘Environment’ as a key stakeholder of product development. The aim of the research was three-folded. First, in the literature part, the aim was to understand design for environment (DFE) and capability creation concepts and resolve how to combine them into a concept. Second, in the empirical analysis part, the aim was to find the generic design for environment stakeholders and requirements for product development in the electronics industry. Finally, in the further analysis and discussion part, the methods and concepts to combine stakeholders and requirements for design for environment were generated at a generic level.
A literature study was utilised to understand the topic, where general ideas and aspects around design for environment and capability creation were collected. An empirical survey was then conducted by interviewing experts and managers at three electronics and high technology companies in Finland. The survey was conducted via an online Teams meeting guided by a questionnaire related to design for environment and its related aspects. Finally, the analysis of the answers was performed using common knowledge and understanding.
DFE is a product development approach that seeks to enhance a product’s environmental attributes throughout its lifecycle. The ultimate objective is to meet sustainability goals, and the early involvement of design for the environment facilitates product development in creating sustainability capabilities. Design for environment and sustainability capability creation are counterpart activities that support each other in a cycle loop. They both require and utilize identifying and assessing critical environmental stakeholders during the product development process for long-term sustainability. The empirical study indicates that there are two types of environmental stakeholders. They are internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. Business groups, design teams, quality teams, and experts are the internal stakeholders within the organization that participate actively in the product design and development process and have power in the decision-making process. Customers, suppliers, investors, and peers are the external stakeholders who strongly influence the product development process but do not have decision-making power. The key environmental stakeholders present essential environmental requirements that should be considered in making distinct changes and improvements in the new product development process. The central design for environment requirements are legal requirements, customer requirements, materials and energy requirements, and voluntary requirements.
In conclusion, it can be stated that design for environment is a lifecycle thinking approach to product development that supports continuous improvement and development of sustainable products. Therefore, it is critical to identify and prioritise the key environmental stakeholders and their environmental requirements for better decision-making and focusing on fulfilling the sustainability targets. This study highlights the key areas of the environment where companies, especially the electronics industry, have to rethink the design for environment activities and recognise the concept to develop in an effective and organised way.
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