Supporting decisions in sustainability-related trade-off situations


Mariia Kravchenko, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Daniela Pigosso, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Tim McAloone, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark


Decision making for sustainability can be a challenging task. Firstly, the challenge can occur when selecting a suitable assessment approach to understand the sustainability performance of, for instance, a new product. Secondly, the challenge can occur when navigating the complexity of the data needed to calculate this performance. Once both are overcome, the result is there waiting for the actions to be taken. However, the results may not always conform to the desired directions. The challenge is, there are trade-offs, which impede taking actions because the decision between whether to minimize energy use or reduce waste generation is not straightforward once only one of them can be achieved.

The scope of the workshop is to introduce a decision support tool to assist industrial practitioners (e.g. product developers) in navigating situations when trade-offs within and across sustainability aspects occur. The support tool is based on the empirical learnings from the case studies conducted under the present research as well as on the literature recommendations. As a result, several criteria have been consolidated (these learnings are the focus of the paper which is submitted to the Design Conference) and used as a foundation for developing the support tool.

This goal of the workshop is to test the support tool within the Design Society community and to discuss it as an opportunity to support companies during sustainability-oriented decision-making processes.

The structure of the workshop is as follows:

  • introduce the support tool
  • introduce several examples of sustainability trade-off situations
  • apply the tools and facilitate open discussion about to what extent can the developed tool support decisions in trade-off situations.

Discussions and opinions from different perspectives (e.g. business modelling, product development) will be welcomed.

Target/expected audience are researchers from the field of sustainable design, and decision making for sustainability.

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