Resource efficient and effective solutions (REES) can be brought about by means of design, new business models and/or through regulation, why drivers and barriers for their realization stem from both market forces and public policy. Knowledge about the interaction between different drivers and barriers is however limited.
Irrespective of the means to bring about REES, in the end resource efficiency depends on physical measures taken along product chains, such as material efficiency measures in production, measures for more efficient use of products (e.g. longevity and sharing) and through closing material loops. Knowledge is limited about whether, and in what respects, such measures are really more resource efficient when assessed, about what are the trade-off between different aspects of resource efficiency and about what types of physical means for resource efficiency are effective for what types of products.
Project 1 aims to 1/ investigate what physical means for resource efficiency are effective for what type of products and solutions, in what respects, and to 2/ map the drivers and barriers for their realization.
The first aim is addressed through a bottom-up approach in which generic knowledge is generated from a large number of case studies. A library of assessment studies (e.g. life cycle assessments, life cycle cost assessments, material flow analysis) of different means to achieve resource efficiency is being created, from literature, through assessment studies conducted within the project and through collecting assessment studies from the participating companies. Systematic analysis of this collection will generate knowledge on:
• What means for resource efficiency are effective for what type of products and solutions. Examples of means include more efficient production (e.g. reduced scrap rate, increased yields, valorised by-product streams), more efficient use (e.g. prolonged life time, up-grading and intensified use through sharing) and closed material loops (e.g. reuse, remanufacturing and recycling).
• What are the trade-offs between different aspects of resource efficiency such as resource use (natural and financial) and environmental impact. Dedicated efforts are directed to assess the use of, and fate of, scarce and critical materials in REES.
The market and policy drivers and barriers for REES are investigated by means of literature studies and interviews with company representatives and officers within public administration. Analysis is expected to reveal the critical factors for development, implementation and scaling of REES.
The results of the project, which will run during the first two years of the Mistra REES program, will provide a necessary background to other projects within Mistra REES. But they are also important in their own right, to the scientific community and to professionals in industry and public policy, in strategy development and for prioritizing between different means for resource efficiency. Results will be communicated in research channels (papers, conferences) and in channels targeting professionals such as business briefs, workshops and webinars. Results will also be used in the REES textbook, targeting students and professionals.
Involved companies: Attends healthcare, Din fabrik, Godsinlösen, HTC, Inrego, Off2off, Stpin, Volvo Car och Volvo Group.
Anne-Marie Tillman, Professor, Chalmers. Photo: Monica Westman