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Eco-efficient production Marja Paju

Introduction Eco-efficiency is based on ‘more from less’ thinking. It means reducing the use of material and energy, reducing the environmental impacts during a product’s life cycle and maintaining the same time-efficient production. Eco-efficiency has a positive impact on a company’s ecological competitiveness through the reduction in material needed by products, production and services, the reduction in the energy needed to produce products and services, and the reduction in the use of harmful materials and substances. Eco-efficiency can also mean improving the recyclability or durability of products. By examining production as a whole through a life cycle approach, it is possible to identify the different states of processes and logistics that are essential to developing eco-efficiency. An eco-efficient production project was part of the Tekes SISU 2010 – Innovative Manufacture technology programme. The aim of the project was to test and develop existing eco-efficiency analysis methods for evaluating and improving eco-efficiency of production in the Finnish manufacturing industry. The project was coordinated by VTT and carried out between 08/2008 and 11/2010. The funding came from Tekes, VTT and four industrial partners: Iittala Group Oy Ab (Fiskars Oyj Abp), Oras Oy, Rautaruukki Oyj and Suunto Oy. The total budget was 667,000 €.

Methods The framework of the Eco-efficient production project is presented in Figure 1. The project

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was carried out in five work packages (WP), which were: • WP1: State of the art: Eco-efficiency in discrete manufacturing industry • WP2: State of the art: Existing methods for evaluation of eco-efficiency • WP3: Caste studies: Testing the chosen existing methods in industrial cases • WP4: New methodology creation: Development of a new method to evaluate eco-efficiency • WP5: New methodology testing: Evaluation and testing of the developed method. The state of the art studies (WP1 and WP2) focused on methods and tools for discrete event simulation, sustainable value-stream mapping, life cycle assessment, material flow analysis and the carbon footprint. The case studies were conducted in WP3. International collaboration was an important part of the project and one goal was to include a total of 12 months of researcher exchange in the project. The planned researcher exchange was carried out with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), the USA, and AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), Japan.

Results The differences and similarities between the selected, existing eco-efficiency assessment methods were studied and identified. Life cycle assessment is the only ISO standardized method. Life cycle assessment and carbon footprint are useful methods to cover opera-

VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)

VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)