On June 11 2021 9.00 PhD candidate Marianna Lena Kambanou will defend her thesis with the title “Life Cycle Costing – Supporting companies towards a circular economy”.
A circular economy proposes to sustain economic growth but decouple it
from resource consumption by keeping products and materials in the
economy. Established companies have an important role to play because they
can implement maintenance, repair, remanufacture, recycling and other
circular measures for their offerings, thus facilitating their retention in the
economy. When applying circular measures for existing products, their costs
and revenues change across the lifecycle, sometimes significantly, thereby
calling into question the financial viability of the more circular offering. Life
cycle costing (LCC), an existing method for calculating the costs of a product
or service across the lifecycle can help companies take stock of these changes.
The aim of this research, therefore, is to explore how LCC can be used to
support established companies in selecting and implementing circular
measures for their offerings. The research is conducted through case studies
involving four companies, and data is collected through literature reviews,
document and cost data sets analysis, interviews and focus groups. The
findings are based on six publications.
The identified uses for LCC go beyond the ones that lead to its selection and
are commonly discussed in the literature. These include using LCC to
compare the circularity performance of two or more alternatives, to generate
rather than evaluate design ideas, and to help create awareness of some of the
challenges associated with implementing circular measures while providing a
forum for discussing them. Finally, LCC can spread the lifecycle idea in a
company and evidence the need for life cycle management.
Another finding is that companies, despite the many uses, may not use LCC
because it contests elements of their extant practices, such as collective
knowledge, mind-set of individuals and symbolic and material objects. It is the
outcome of this contestation that will play a significant role in determining if
LCC is used.
The research also identifies methodological considerations, either generally
applicable or relating to a specific identified use and closes by discussing the
implications for future LCC methodological development.