Everyday Industry - Pragmatic approaches for integrating sustainability into industry decision making

Many sustainability evaluation tools exist, but few are used on a day-to-day basis within the process industries to help project teams make better decisions regarding process and product improvements. This article presents collated experiences and views from the EU process sectors on the ‘state-of-the-art’ of sustainability evaluation tools, highlighting the differences between the practical use of such tools in an industrial setting versus simplified ideal-world case studies.

The review was performed as part of an EU cross-sector project, ‘STYLE’, through formation of an international consortium, reviewing current practice, testing of sustainability evaluation tools in industry case studies, academic validation of tools’ functions and features, and stakeholder consultations. Consequently, a proposal is made regarding the high-level features and functions of a toolkit to address gaps and shortfalls in currently available tools and identification of useful features that could be implemented more widely.

The proposed toolkit framework consists of a three-stage process:materiality setup, qualitative screening and semi-quantitative assessment. Recommendations are also made regarding further research and tool development needs, requiring collaboration between sustainability expertise and ‘soft’ sciences to address barriers to tools being used regularly and broadly across industry.

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