Advanced

Nano products, Small companies, Big challenges: An exploration of the value of sustainability assessments for nano-companies

Ong, Kimberly LU (2016) In IIIEE Masters Thesis IMEN41 20162
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
There is a global demand for sustainable industrial development and a call to make manufacturing “greener”. Nanotechnologies are in a promising position to be early adopters of this concept. Advancements in the nanomaterial industry can help confront global issues, and aid in sustainable development that enables positive economic, environmental, and social changes. Formal evaluation of a product’s sustainability through ‘sustainability assessments’ (SAs) is an objective way to assess products. A wide range of SAs exists, but it is unknown whether they are valuable for companies who manufacture nanomaterials or nano-products. Through interviews with nano-producers and a comprehensive literature review, this thesis examines the barriers... (More)
There is a global demand for sustainable industrial development and a call to make manufacturing “greener”. Nanotechnologies are in a promising position to be early adopters of this concept. Advancements in the nanomaterial industry can help confront global issues, and aid in sustainable development that enables positive economic, environmental, and social changes. Formal evaluation of a product’s sustainability through ‘sustainability assessments’ (SAs) is an objective way to assess products. A wide range of SAs exists, but it is unknown whether they are valuable for companies who manufacture nanomaterials or nano-products. Through interviews with nano-producers and a comprehensive literature review, this thesis examines the barriers nano-companies face that prevent them from performing SAs, and also the benefits that performing a SA can provide. Based on these barriers and benefits, fourteen different SAs are evaluated to highlight common problems associated with SAs, and also to determine the specific challenges that nano-companies face. The performance of a SA can help companies lower costs and ensure compliance, open up business opportunities and, ultimately, create new markets. The common shortcomings of SAs include their heavy reliance on expertise, an inability to incorporate all dimensions of sustainability, a lack of nano-relevant indicators, the inaccessibility of well-developed tools, and the fact that they only have value during narrow periods of product development. Nano-companies face additional barriers; they struggle with accessing reliable data and have limited resources to put towards SAs to make the necessary sustainability improvements. This research ultimately helps companies understand the benefits and costs they can expect to incur from performing SAs so that they are better informed about SAs that could be valuable to them. Investors and procurers can use this research as guidance to help make more sustainable decisions. Researchers and those developing SAs can use the recommendations to develop more effective SAs. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ong, Kimberly LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN41 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainability assessment, nanotechnology, SME, nanomaterials, manufacturing, LCA, nanoproducts
publication/series
IIIEE Masters Thesis
report number
2016:35
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8893284
date added to LUP
2016-10-11 03:11:47
date last changed
2016-10-11 03:11:47
@misc{8893284,
  abstract     = {There is a global demand for sustainable industrial development and a call to make manufacturing “greener”. Nanotechnologies are in a promising position to be early adopters of this concept. Advancements in the nanomaterial industry can help confront global issues, and aid in sustainable development that enables positive economic, environmental, and social changes. Formal evaluation of a product’s sustainability through ‘sustainability assessments’ (SAs) is an objective way to assess products. A wide range of SAs exists, but it is unknown whether they are valuable for companies who manufacture nanomaterials or nano-products. Through interviews with nano-producers and a comprehensive literature review, this thesis examines the barriers nano-companies face that prevent them from performing SAs, and also the benefits that performing a SA can provide. Based on these barriers and benefits, fourteen different SAs are evaluated to highlight common problems associated with SAs, and also to determine the specific challenges that nano-companies face. The performance of a SA can help companies lower costs and ensure compliance, open up business opportunities and, ultimately, create new markets. The common shortcomings of SAs include their heavy reliance on expertise, an inability to incorporate all dimensions of sustainability, a lack of nano-relevant indicators, the inaccessibility of well-developed tools, and the fact that they only have value during narrow periods of product development. Nano-companies face additional barriers; they struggle with accessing reliable data and have limited resources to put towards SAs to make the necessary sustainability improvements. This research ultimately helps companies understand the benefits and costs they can expect to incur from performing SAs so that they are better informed about SAs that could be valuable to them. Investors and procurers can use this research as guidance to help make more sustainable decisions. Researchers and those developing SAs can use the recommendations to develop more effective SAs.},
  author       = {Ong, Kimberly},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {sustainability assessment,nanotechnology,SME,nanomaterials,manufacturing,LCA,nanoproducts},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Masters Thesis},
  title        = {Nano products, Small companies, Big challenges: An exploration of the value of sustainability assessments for nano-companies},
  year         = {2016},
}