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Products in environmental management systems: the role of auditors
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8323-881X
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Assembly technology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2552-3636
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 4, 417-431 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For standardized environmental management systems (EMS) to be environmentally effective tools, they should affect important environmental aspects related to flows of materials and energy, which for manufacturing companies are closely connected to their products. This paper presents how external environmental auditors interpret and apply important product-related requirements of ISO 14001 at manufacturing companies in Sweden.

The results indicate that the link between EMS and products is rather weak. Products are seldom regarded as significant environmental aspects and are therefore not within the main scope of many EMS, which are mainly focused on sites. However, all of the interviewed auditors require that some kind of environmental considerations be incorporated into product development, but these considerations are to large extent site oriented; how they are prioritized in relation to other factors such as economics and other customer priorities appears to be up to the companies.

The paper includes some recommendations to strengthen the role of products within the framework of standardized EMS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 13, no 4, 417-431 p.
Keyword [en]
Design for environment; DFE; Environmental management systems; EMS; ISO 14001; EMAS; Auditors
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13542DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2003.12.006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13542DiVA: diva2:20931
Available from: 2004-12-07 Created: 2004-12-07 Last updated: 2017-12-13
In thesis
1. Product and Process Design for Successful Remanufacturing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product and Process Design for Successful Remanufacturing
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Remanufacturing is an industrial process where used products are restored to useful life. This dissertation describes how products can be designed to facilitate the remanufacturing process. It also describes how the remanufacturing processes can be improved to be more efficient.

When comparing remanufacturing with other end-of-life scenarios, it is hard from an environmental perspective to determine which scenario is preferable. This research has shown that remanufacturing is preferable to new manufacturing from a natural resource perspective. With remanufacturing the efforts that initially was used to shape the product part is salvaged. Furthermore, it has been found that it is environmentally and economically beneficial to have products designed for remanufacturing. To avoid obsolescence, the products must be easy to upgrade with new technology in the remanufacturing process.

In this dissertation, a generic remanufacturing process is described with all included steps that are needed to restore the products to useful life. In order to make the remanufacturing process more efficient, the products need to be adapted for the process. Therefore, the preferable products properties facilitating each step in the generic remanufacturing process have been identified. A matrix (RemPro) was created to illustrate the relation between each and every generic remanufacturing step and the preferable product properties.

Remanufacturing case studies have shown that the companies performing remanufacturing often have problems with material flows, use of space and high inventory levels. This is often due to the uncertainties in the quality and the number of cores (used products) that will arrive at the remanufacturing plants. To overcome these problems, the remanufacturers need to achieve a better control over the product’s design and use phase, i.e. the life cycle phases that precede the remanufacturing process. This control is best performed by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Furthermore, it has been found that Swedish manufacturers often have a weak relation between its environmental management systems and product issues, such as design for environment/remanufacturing. Design for environmental/remanufacturing aspects should be a crucial part of the manufacturers environmental management systems (EMSs) as the products stand for much of the material flows at the manufacturing companies. If the external auditors address the manufacturers to have a life cycle perspective on their business the manufacturer would be more likely to adapt the remanufacturing aspects in their environmental management systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2004. 96 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 906
Keyword
Remanufacturing, generic remanufacturing, material flows, environmental
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5015 (URN)91-85295-73-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-11-06, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2004-12-07 Created: 2004-12-07 Last updated: 2016-04-12Bibliographically approved
2. Do standardised environmental management systems lead to reduced environmental impacts?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Do standardised environmental management systems lead to reduced environmental impacts?
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to increase the understanding of the relationship between standardised environmental management systems (EMSs) and the environment, focusing on the use of such systems by companies and on systems in accordance with the ISO 14001 and/or EMAS standards. Another purpose is to investigate how standardised EMSs fit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to examine a special EMS solution called the Hackefors model, used by a group of SMEs, to find out how this model has affected the environmental efforts and business of these enterprises.

To gather knowledge on the connection between EMSs and environmental impacts, two main roads have been followed. Firstly, empirical studies (and a few literature reviews) have been conducted, among other things, aiming to clarify how the standards' requirements are interpreted and applied in reality, and uncover what this means in terms of environmental impacts. For the most part, external environmental auditors and environmental managers have been interviewed. An important purpose is to illuminate what an ISO 14001 certificate, or an EMAS registration, guarantees. This means that the minimum level is emphasised to a large extent. Secondly, a literature review has been conducted to collect knowledge on the selected issue from the international research arena. One intention is that this review will contribute information about the average use of EMSs and thus serve as a good complement to the empirical studies.

It has to be concluded that a standardised EMS does not guarantee a good environmental performance and defmitely not reduced environmental impacts. Without any doubt, EMSs can be used to structure and strengthen a company's environmental efforts, and many companies surely have achieved important reductions in terms of environmental impacts by using an EMS. However, the standards' formulations are very indistinct and they can be interpreted and applied in many different ways. It is clearly possible to be certified and registered without improving very much at all. The effects of EMSs are to a very large extent dependent on how companies choose to use them. To capture the potential that EMSs have, issues of credibility should be observed. Therefore, the thesis includes some recommendations in the form of discussion points.

The Hackefors model clearly can be used to overcome many of the common barriers forimplementing an EMS at SMEs. In the studied case, the EMS implementation had led to severalimportant environmental improvements and also to other types of improvements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2003. 112 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 851
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-30064 (URN)15524 (Local ID)91-7373-778-X (ISBN)15524 (Archive number)15524 (OAI)
Public defence
2003-12-12, Sal C3, Hus C, Linköping Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-10-08

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Ammenberg, JonasSundin, Erik

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