Design of a Lifecycle-Oriented Environmental and Economic Indicators Framework for the Mechanical Manufacturing Industry

Barni, Andrea Francesco and Capuzzimati, Claudio and Fontana, Alessandro and Pirotta, Marco and Hänninen, Saara and Räikkönen, Minna and Uusitalo, Teuvo (2022) Design of a Lifecycle-Oriented Environmental and Economic Indicators Framework for the Mechanical Manufacturing Industry. Sustainability. ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

As a result of the worldwide depletion of natural resources, increased energy use, and environmental, economic, and social imbalance, organizations are working to identify the proper strategies supporting the continuous reduction of their impacts. While this trend is fundamentally agreed upon in the literature, several manufacturing industries still fail to identify which elements most influence their contributions to the impact of sustainability and how to easily manage the calculation of these effects within a manufacturing system. The purpose of this article is to incorporate sustainability practices into manufacturing by developing a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for assessing and improving environmental and economic management practices at the corporate and production level. The definition of the framework began with in-depth research of the leading indicators and framework types in the literature, integrating the most exploited industrial standards to make them easily acceptable in the industrial domain. Then, to provide a broad view of company behavior, the framework has been designed to take either an inventory and impact point of view, thus providing indicators for the online monitoring of the company operations, or assessing their impacts in an LCA-LCC perspective. In selecting the indicators and the definition of the framework structure, five industrial cases covering different business sectors were involved in identifying the most critical indicators in terms of calculability and defining a structure that would allow for their application in various business situations. Therefore, the defined framework has been validated at a conceptual level, thus laying the basis for future quantitative validation. Twenty key performance indicators (KPIs) for assessing the sustainability of manufacturing firms have been created based on the 163 indicators studied.

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