Product-service for environmental safeguard: A metrics to sustainability
There is an urgent need for sustainability in markets and in our economic system. This need is in the face of a growing destruction of non-renewable resources and the ceaseless degradation of the environment. It is generated by affluent societies, relentlessly replacing tangible goods, and is based on wealth economics trading in new products to continue expanding well-being. Industrialised countries are facing the challenge of maintaining living standards, while lowering consumption. This paper describes the novel opportunity offered by trading off products-services, namely, enhanced products or extended deliveries, which include the life-cycle and recycling incumbents and supplies, with a transparent accounting of resource depletion. Product enhancement relates directly to information content, it is consistent with the wealth driven economics of the knowledge society, and it naturally leads to the description of manufacturing processes by KILT-models. There, in addition to investment I and labour L, both knowledge K and tangibles T are considered as independent productivity factors. In that context, the use of TYPUS-metrics is required to assess resource decay. This opportunity is related to extended enterprises and co-operative infrastructures. These provide a critical means to manage product life-cycles for sustainability with a measure of the resulting environmental impact. The developments are presented as innovative steps, necessary to enable eco-consistent changes with technological issues framed in coherent social and legal arrangements. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.