Advanced

Development of a tool for rapidly assessing the implementation difficulty and emissions benefits of innovations

Bocken, N. M.P. LU ; Allwood, J. M.; Willey, A. R. and King, J. M.H. (2012) In Technovation 32(1). p.19-31
Abstract

Consumer goods manufacturers aiming to reduce the environmental impact associated with their products commonly pursue incremental change strategies, but more radical approaches may be required if we are to address the challenges of sustainable consumption. One strategy to realize step change reductions is to prepare a portfolio of innovations providing different levels of impact reduction in exchange for different levels of organizational resource commitment. In this research a tool is developed to support this strategy, starting with the assumption that through brainstorming or other eco-innovation approaches, a long-list of candidate innovations has been created. The tool assesses the potential greenhouse gas benefit of an innovative... (More)

Consumer goods manufacturers aiming to reduce the environmental impact associated with their products commonly pursue incremental change strategies, but more radical approaches may be required if we are to address the challenges of sustainable consumption. One strategy to realize step change reductions is to prepare a portfolio of innovations providing different levels of impact reduction in exchange for different levels of organizational resource commitment. In this research a tool is developed to support this strategy, starting with the assumption that through brainstorming or other eco-innovation approaches, a long-list of candidate innovations has been created. The tool assesses the potential greenhouse gas benefit of an innovative option against the difficulty of its implementation. A simple greenhouse gas benefit assessment method based on streamlined LCA was used to analyze impact reduction potential, and a novel measure of implementation difficulty was developed. The predictions of implementation difficulty were compared against expert opinion, and showed similar results indicating the measure can be used sensibly to predict implementation difficulty. The assessment of the environmental gain versus implementation difficulty is visualized in a matrix, showing the trade-offs of several options. The tool is deliberately simple with scalar measures of CO 2 emissions benefits and implementation difficulty so tool users must remain aware of other potential environmental burdens besides greenhouse gases (e.g. water, waste). In addition, although relative life cycle emissions benefits of an option may be low, the absolute impact of an option can be high and there may be other co-benefits, which could justify higher levels of implementation difficulty. Different types of consumer products (e.g. household, personal care, foods) have been evaluated using the tool. Initial trials of the tool within Unilever demonstrate that the tool facilitates rapid evaluation of low-carbon innovations.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Consumer goods, Eco-innovation, Forecasting, Greenhouse gas (GHG), Implementation difficulty, Innovation assessment, LCA, Radical innovation
in
Technovation
volume
32
issue
1
pages
13 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:82455172000
ISSN
0166-4972
DOI
10.1016/j.technovation.2011.09.005
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
485775cf-6e30-4349-bfbc-b183f17b77b7
date added to LUP
2018-04-11 11:01:27
date last changed
2018-10-03 11:42:14
@article{485775cf-6e30-4349-bfbc-b183f17b77b7,
  abstract     = {<p>Consumer goods manufacturers aiming to reduce the environmental impact associated with their products commonly pursue incremental change strategies, but more radical approaches may be required if we are to address the challenges of sustainable consumption. One strategy to realize step change reductions is to prepare a portfolio of innovations providing different levels of impact reduction in exchange for different levels of organizational resource commitment. In this research a tool is developed to support this strategy, starting with the assumption that through brainstorming or other eco-innovation approaches, a long-list of candidate innovations has been created. The tool assesses the potential greenhouse gas benefit of an innovative option against the difficulty of its implementation. A simple greenhouse gas benefit assessment method based on streamlined LCA was used to analyze impact reduction potential, and a novel measure of implementation difficulty was developed. The predictions of implementation difficulty were compared against expert opinion, and showed similar results indicating the measure can be used sensibly to predict implementation difficulty. The assessment of the environmental gain versus implementation difficulty is visualized in a matrix, showing the trade-offs of several options. The tool is deliberately simple with scalar measures of CO <sub>2</sub> emissions benefits and implementation difficulty so tool users must remain aware of other potential environmental burdens besides greenhouse gases (e.g. water, waste). In addition, although relative life cycle emissions benefits of an option may be low, the absolute impact of an option can be high and there may be other co-benefits, which could justify higher levels of implementation difficulty. Different types of consumer products (e.g. household, personal care, foods) have been evaluated using the tool. Initial trials of the tool within Unilever demonstrate that the tool facilitates rapid evaluation of low-carbon innovations.</p>},
  author       = {Bocken, N. M.P. and Allwood, J. M. and Willey, A. R. and King, J. M.H.},
  issn         = {0166-4972},
  keyword      = {Consumer goods,Eco-innovation,Forecasting,Greenhouse gas (GHG),Implementation difficulty,Innovation assessment,LCA,Radical innovation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {19--31},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Technovation},
  title        = {Development of a tool for rapidly assessing the implementation difficulty and emissions benefits of innovations},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.technovation.2011.09.005},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2012},
}