TU.1.D || Life Cycle Thinking in Companies and Organizations

MANCINELLI, RAIMONDO; Wehrmeyer, Walter; Lee, Jacquetta; Arena, Noemi; Reeves, Kevin; Embley, Tim

Pushed by public demand and regulations, the firms’ role in society is gradually changing from shareholder profit maximisation to societal shared value creation. Despite the positive market’s response in adopting sustainability as a business key driver, there is still a long way to go before companies can assess the full life-cycle impacts of their entire activities, products and services in regards to the triple bottom line. A gap remains in how businesses can set up sustainable products strategies within their wider business strategy and systematically replicate successes. Working together with an infrastructure company in the UK, we assessed how life-cycle thinking adoption can be pursued during management operations in the sustainability framework. Current trends in shared value theories have been assessed via systematic literature review and the response of the industry has been investigated with informal conversation and field notes. It has emerged the necessity of a socio-technical system describing the life-cycle of products and services market proposition alongside the business model and business strategy concepts. We defined it as the product-market system as it aims to relate the life-cycle of product market proposition to the wider firms’ sustainability performances. It builds on LCT and multi Capitals approaches, and it helps firms address their role within the market and society they operate. Its use should help multi-product businesses to align their product strategies around established targets and values. We propose that each product-market system of a multi-product business should be assessed in a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach for a company wanting to adopt sustainability as its core value.