Inderscience Publishers

Insights from guiding material development towards more sustainable products

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Faced with current challenges in society, many companies will need to develop more sustainable products in order to continue operations in the long term. Therefore, ways of identifying important sustainability considerations already in the early stages of material or product development are of importance. The article is based on action research in a material development project. The article provides a description of activities that were performed in the project in order to guide the material development process to enable more sustainable final products, reflections on the lessons learned from this project, and suggestions to similar projects in the form of an overall process based on team learning with the aim of guiding material development towards more sustainable products. The suggested process emphasises the material or product development team's need to understand which surrounding world and future–oriented considerations will have significant impacts on the specific product's sustainability performance.

Keywords: action research, team learning, materials development, early product development, sustainability assessment, sustainable design, sustainable development, sustainable products

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