In an effort to support the ambitious Circular Economy Strategy action plan adopted by the European Union, the “Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable Product Management enabling a Circular Economy” acts as a creative space for developing and conducting research in sustainable product management, the results of which will support the transition toward a circular economy. This laboratory is supported by the partners Altstoff Recycling Austria Aktiengesellschaft (ARA) and iPoint, a company which offers software solutions and consultation services for sustainable product management, and by the Christian Doppler Research Association. The most important public sponsor is the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW).
The vision of the research in this laboratory is to support companies with new and improved methods and frameworks that allow these companies to maximise the sustainability performance and circularity of their products and services. To realise this vision, basic research in the fields of sustainability sciences and social sciences is needed
- to operationalise the generic meanings of Sustainable Development and of Circular Economy on the corporate and product level (sustainable product management),
- to use the full potential of digitalisation for sustainable product management, and
- to understand decision making processes in companies and in supply chain networks as a basis of a lifecycle-wide implementation of sustainable product management.
This need for research is addressed in three workpackages. The first workpackage focuses on definitions, requirements and regulations related to circular economy and sustainable development. The outcome of this workpackage is the basis to define sustainable product management based on an operationalisation of circular economy and sustainable development. The focus will lie on the automotive and the packaging industries.
In the second workpackage it is researched, how data management can be used for sustainable product management. It will be researched which data types and formats can be used to collect information about sustainability and circularity of automotive products and of packaging products, how these data can be quality assured and how these data can be aggregated and interpreted based on accurate key performance indicators. The role of new technologies like Internet of Things or big data analysis is integrated in these research activities.
In the third workpackage, the two central activities of sustainable product management, i.e. sustainable design and sustainability assessment of products, are in the focus. It will be researched how these activates can be improved with an optimised data management to allow companies to design products which are sustainable and circular and to use optimised sustainability assessments for product related decisions.
In summary, the research in this laboratory will result in methods and concepts for the collection and use of environmental and social data from circular product lifecycles in sustainability assessment and design.
The team of the CD Laboratory for Sustainable Product Management in a Circular Economy at the University of Graz:
Rupert Baumgartner (r.) head of the CD laboratory, Josef Schöggl (l) and Lukas Stumpf (m).
Photo: Uni Graz/Tzivanopoulos
Prof. Dr. Rupert J. Baumgartner
University of Graz
Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research
Tel.: 0043 316 380 3237