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Environmental sustainability in the context of mass personalisation - quantification of the carbon footprint with life cycle assessment

: Briem, Ann-Kathrin; Betten, Thomas; Held, Michael; Wehner, Daniel; Baumann, Michael

Fulltext ()

International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management : IJIEM 10 (2019), No.2, pp.171-180
ISSN: 2217-2661
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Driven by individualisation as a trend and enabled by new production technologies and increasing digitalisation, mass customisation (MC) and mass personalisation (MP) open up new possibilities to address user demands much better. However, the sustainability achievements of current manufacturing technology could be compromised by this trend as variability in environmental impacts increases. Small lot sizes are likely to increase per piece manufacturing efforts, and reusability and recyclability might be limited. Nevertheless, personalised products can address user demands much better and hold great sustainability potential as well. In order to manage these risks and potentials, sustainability assessments are necessary. This paper first provides a short overview of the current state of sustainability assessment in the field based on existing literature and the current discussion in the scientific community. To contribute to filling the existing gap in the application of sustainability assessments by providing further quantitative results, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is applied to two conceptual MC/MP examples. Operationalised by the carbon footprint, the environmental impacts of customer choices are quantified for the analysed scenarios. The examples are within the field of mobility, one examining return logistics of personalised consumer products, the other analysing low-carbon vehicle choices based on individual driving behaviour. The aim of this paper is to contribute to embedding LCA as a methodology for the assessment of environmental sustainability in the area of MC and MP and add qualitative assessment to support existing sustainability frameworks in the field.