SUSTAINABILITY MEASUREMENT AND MANAGEMENT LABORATORY (SuMM LAB)
REPORT 3: LIFE CYCLE THINKING FOR PRODUCT INNOVATION
Among the 69 KPIs composing the observatory, the following five meaningful metrics represent the development and adoption of product innovation practices in the Italian industrial context:
- Eco-design processes implemented;
- Life Cycle Assessment applied to one or more products or process;
- Dematerialization strategies applied into product innovation process;
- Report on production techniques aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of product or process;
- Development of goods and services addressing the issue of energy efficiency in buildings.
Findings suggest that this group of practices are developed by no more than 15% of the companies within the sample. In particular, the more diffuse practices are related, on the one hand, to the products offered on the market, intrinsically innovative as they are aimed at improving the energy efficiency in the building and construction sector; on the other hand, companies tackling this group of practices appear to be more open to disclose their efforts towards the reduction of environmental impacts through reports. More advanced and complex techniques, such as the application of eco-design techniques in the development of product and processes or rigorous assessment of impacts generated through the LCA, are applied by less than 10% of the companies. Finally, dematerialisation still appears a frontier practice that only a few pioneers are facing. Considering results from the two rounds of data collection performed in 2018 and 2020, respectively, they show how the reporting activity experienced the most remarkable increase in the last three years, followed by the development of products for the energy efficiency and the dematerialisation, while the practices related to the Life Cycle Thinking, i.e. Eco-design and LCA, remain almost unaltered.
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