A multidisciplinary method for sustainability assessment of PSS: challenges and developments
Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
In developed countries, industrial companies are facing challenges for their competitiveness against countries with low labor costs or less demanding environmental standards. The increasing production costs (material and labor), the customer demand for more sophisticated products while their purchasing power decreases and stricter environmental regulations become strategic issues for the viability of industries. Eurêcook is an action research with the ambition to construct and experiment a rental service offer for small household equipment based on an experiment in a medium-size French agglomeration. A local ecosystem of actors is involved to provide a satisfying service to consumers. Our role, as researchers, is to assess the environmental and societal evolutions due to the business model transition. We assume the success factors are not only dependent on a positive LCA but also on a cooperative and trustful partnership between stakeholders, as well as behavioral change and the appropriation of the project by consumers. A multidisciplinary method for sustainability assessment has been developed using concepts and tools from social sciences as well as environmental and engineering sciences. First, current challenges for B-to-C PSS emerged from a multidisciplinary literature and practice review. Then, socio-economic and environmental context and the specific issues linked to small appliances are clarified. Third, the case study is detailed: structuration of the offer, specific challenges and first observations. Finally, our method is presented and discussed.