A strategic product development tool combining REACH and environmental and financial factors was previously developed for a coatings company. This paper presents results from refining this tool for an office furniture company, using life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental information, addressing the research questions: • Is it possible to combine information from REACH with the LCA approach to provide useful information for a furniture producer in their environmental product development process? • Does the approach developed for substances in mixtures need to be adapted for articles? • Is there a correlation between energy consumption and the environmental impacts analysed? • Will product designers get the same information independent of the environmental impact category used? – Will the strategy tool indicate the same ranking of products for all environmental impacts? – Does REACH information indicate the same set of priorities as those arising from LCA environmental data alone? (Do they agree, or is there a conflict?) • Will strategic decisions differ if different environmental indicators are in focus? The strategy tool’s purpose is to analyse company product portfolios, identifying products that need redevelopment or redesign because of issues concerning hazardous substances, or environmental performance.
The LCA data used is cradle-to-gate data from type III environmental declarations for 11 seating solutions. REACH Complexity, health hazard and environmental class indicators (based on risk phrases) are combined with financial data and LCA-based indicators. Correlations between energy consumption and environmental impact factors for these specific furniture products are investigated. Establishing any such correlations serves to simplify subsequent analysis in the product development process, by effectively reducing the number of indicators that need to be taken into consideration.
Correlations between energy consumption and the environmental impacts global warming, acidification, eutrophication and heavy metals are presented. Strategy tool figures are shown for energy consumption, ozone depletion potential and photochemical oxidation potential. The results for office chairs and conference/visitor chairs are presented separately, as the two types of chairs fulfil different functions.
The correlation between energy consumption and certain environmental impact indicators affords a simplification of the product development process, since energy consumption can be used as a reasonable proxy for these indicators in this specific case. The results support acknowledged principles of Ecodesign. Energy and materials minimization improves environmental performance—higher recycled material content and proportion of renewable energy resources are also beneficial. Designers have to consider multiple aspects in parallel and the strategy tool is useful for this purpose; the furniture producer has gained useful product development insight. The tool is applicable for strategic choice of products for development or redesign that can be useful across many business sectors.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Askham C, Gade AL, Hanssen OJ (2012) Combining REACH, environmental and economic performance indicators for strategic sustainable product development. J Clean Prod (in press)
Baumann H, Tillman AM (2004) The hitchhiker's guide to LCA—an orientation in life cycle assessment methodology and application. Studentlitteratur, Lund, Sweden
Brezet H, van Hemel C (eds) (1997) Ecodesign: a promising approach to sustainable production and consumption, 1st edn. United Nations Environment Programme, France
Capello C, Wernet G, Sutter J, Hellwegg S, Hungerbühler KA (2009) A comprehensive environmental assessment of petrochemical solvent production. Int J Life Cycle Assess 14:467–479
Commission of the European Communities (2007) Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC and 2000/21/EC. Off J Eur Union L 136 of 29.5.2007
Council Directive 67/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous components. Off J Eur Union L, 16.08.1967, 0001–0098
De Wit B, Meyer R (2004) Strategy, Process, content, context, 3rd edition. Thomson, London
Directive 1999/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 1999 concerning the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations. Off J Eur Union L 200, 30.07.1999, 0001–0068
ECHA (2008) Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment. Part E: risk characterisation. http://guidance.echa.europa.eu/docs/guidance_document/information_requirements_part_e_en.pdf?vers=20_08_08. Accessed 27 December 2010
EEA (2011) Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2009 and inventory report 2011. Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat. EEA Technical report No 2/2011. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen
Ekvall T, Tillmann AM, Molander S (2005) Normative ethics and methodology for life cycle assessment. J Clean Prod 13:1225–1234
EPD Capisco 8106 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD038E%20Capisco%208106_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD Conventio 9510 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD042E%20Conventio%209510_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD Conventio Wing 9811 (2008) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD%20122E%20%20Conventio%20Wing%209811.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD Futu (2009) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD075EA%20%20Futu_english_2014.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H03 320 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD034E%20H03%20320_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H04 4400 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD035E%20H04%204400_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H04 4470 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD040E%20H04%20Comm%204470_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H05 5300 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD036E%20H05%205300_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H05 5370 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD041E%20H05%20Communication%205370_English_2013.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD H09 9230 (2007) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD039E%20H09%20Ins9230_English.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
EPD Norge (2011a) The Norwegian EPD Foundation. http://www.epd-norge.no/?lang=en_GB. Accessed 2 June 2011
EPD Norge (2011b) EPD-registry Furniture. http://www.epd-norge.no/category.php?categoryID=435. Accessed 2 June 2011
EPD Sideways 9732 (2008) http://www.epd-norge.no/getfile.php/PDF/EPD/Moebler/NEPD%20121E%20Sideways%209732.pdf. Accessed 30 March 2011
European Commission (2010a) International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook—general guide for life cycle assessment—detailed guidance. First edition 2010. EUR 24708 EN. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg
European Commission (2010b) International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook—nomenclature and other conventions. First edition 2010. EUR 24384 EN. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxemburg
Greenguard (2011) Greenguard Environmental Institute certificates for HÅGs products. http://www.greenguard.org/en/SearchResults.aspx?b=1,2,4&a=21|44|0|11|0|0|0|0|0|1|16|1&bs=Furniture|Seating|HAG. Accessed 21 June 2011
HÅG (2010) http://www.hag-uk.co.uk/about_hag/environment. Accessed 26 May 2010
Hanssen OJ (2010) Innochem, Ostfold Research. http://ostfoldforskning.no/Engelsk/prosjekt/innochem-448.aspx. Accessed 15 March 2010
HSE (1999) COSHH essentials. Easy steps to control chemicals. Control of substances hazardous to health regulations. HSG193. HSE books, Surrey, UK
Huijbregts MAJ, Rombouts LJA, Hellweg S, Frischnecht R, Aj H, Van De Meet D, Ragas AMJ, Reijnders L, Struijs J (2006) Is Cumulative fossil energy demand a useful indicator for the environmental performance of products? Environ Sci Technol 40:641–648
Nereng G (2009) Livsløpsdata for sitteløsning fra HÅG. Bakgrunnsdata for miljødeklarasjon (EPD) av HÅG Futu (Background data for environmental product declaration (EPD) of HÅG Futu). Ostfold Research, Norway, OR, 14.09 (in Norwegian)
Nereng G, Modahl IS (2007) Livsløpsdata for sitteløsninger fra HÅG—Bakgrunnsdata for miljødeklarasjon (EPD) av seks sitteløsninger (Life cycle data for HÅG's seating solutions—background data for environmental product declaration (EPD) of six seating solutions). Ostfold Research, Norway, OR, 23.07 (in Norwegian)
Nereng G, Modahl IS (2008) Livsløpsdata for sitteløsninger fra HÅG, HÅG Conventio Wing 9811 og HÅG Sideways 9832 (Life cycle data for HÅG's seating solutions, HÅG Conventio Wing 9811 and HÅG Sideways 9832), Ostfold Research, Norway, OR 18.08 (in Norwegian)
Ökopol (2009) European Commission Service Contract N°070307/2007/483710/Mar/C3. Implementation And Review Of Directive 2004/42/Ec (European Directive Limiting The Voc Content In Certain Products—Current Scope: Decorative Paints And Varnishes, Vehicle Refinishing Products) Final Report (2 Parts) Part 1: Main Report, Annexes 1–25 10 November 2009. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pollutants/pdf/paints_report.pdf
Potting J, Hauschild M, Wenzel H (1999) “Less is better” and “only above threshold”: two incompatible paradigms for human toxicity in life cycle assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 4(1):16–24
Reyher (2010) http://www.reyher.de/download/Safety_Data_Sheet_Loctite_2701.pdf. Accessed 31 March 2011
The Norwegian EPD Foundation (2008) Product category rules for preparing an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Product Group Seating Solution, NPCR 0003, Revised version, October 2008
Tillmann AM (2000) Significance of decision-making for LCA methodology. Environ Impact Assess Rev 20:113–123
The authors gratefully acknowledge the important contributions made by the companies participating in the Innochem project: Jotun AS and HÅG as, which have made this work possible, as well as the financial support provided by the Norwegian Research Council through the BIA programme and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises through the workplace environment fund. Thanks also to colleagues in Ostfold Research who have been important discussion partners during this work.
Responsible editor: Wulf-Peter Schmidt
About this article
Cite this article
Askham, C., Hanssen, O.J., Gade, A.L. et al. Strategy tool trial for office furniture. Int J Life Cycle Assess 17, 666–677 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-012-0406-y
- Environmental hazard
- Health hazard
- Strategic decision making
- Sustainable product development