Sustainable Innovation 2010
In: Research for Better Practice

Sustainability Hot Spot Analysis: A streamlined life-cycle assessment towards sustainable product innovation

Paper submitted to the Sustainable Innovation 2010 Conference, 15th International 'Towards Sustainable Product Design' Conference, 8th-9th November 2010, RDM Campus, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Authors:

Brigitte Biermann
Managing Director
triple innova
Luisenstraße 102, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany

Katrin Bienge
Researcher
Wuppertal Institut f Climate, Environment and Energy,
Döppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal
Justus von Geibler
Researcher
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy,
Döppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany

Oliver Adria
Researcher
UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) Hagenauer Straße 30, 42107 Wuppertal, Germany

Michael Kuhndt
Director
UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) Hagenauer Straße 30, 42107 Wuppertal, Germany

Christa Liedtke
Department Director
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy,
Döppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany

Stephan Schaller
Researcher & Consultant
triple innova
Luisenstraße 102, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany

Abstract
There is a large quantity of knowledge about sustainability and sustainable product innovation, but practices in industry and society still do not adequately tackle the challenges climate change, environmental problems and social inequality bring with them. This paper proposes a holistic and practical tool which helps developing sustainable product innovation for a wide range of products.
We suggest the “Sustainability Hot Spot Analysis” as a semi-quantitative approach based on research and stakeholder involvement to integrate social and environmental dimensions along the entire value chain. The relevance of each life cycle phase and of the most important environmental and social aspects is ranked as low, medium or high based on scientific data gathered through literature reviews and stakeholder analysis. The result is a matrix that shows the most important focus areas and can be applied to product innovation processes. The aim of the tool is to contribute to shifting product systems towards sustainability.