Product-oriented ecological information systems and life-cycle management: quantitative and qualitative analyses in the German chemical and electrical industries
by Wilfried Konrad
Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal (PIE), Vol. 2, No. 1, 2005

Abstract: This study, based on data acquired from a survey and from case studies, examines Product-oriented ecological Information Systems (PIS) (e.g., Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)) as tools for managing products in the German chemical and electrical industries. A cluster analysis based on survey results suggests that there are essentially two types of enterprise using PIS, namely the performance-oriented (using PIS to enhance the economic and ecological aspects of their business processes) and the safety-oriented (using PIS to protect themselves from the risk of infringing against legal stipulations). The case studies suggest that many companies only apply LCA to their most important products. In these circumstances, the more straightforward PIS variants (e.g., checklists) tend to predominate. What is certain is that PIS usage must be tuned to each company's specific circumstances. Only then can these tools be used, within the context of life-cycle-based product management, to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development.

Online publication date: Thu, 14-Apr-2005

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