Skip to content
Åsa Ericson and Johan Holmqvist, Luleå University of Technology Photo: Linda Alfredsson
Åsa Ericson, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Johan Holmqvist, postdoctoral researcher of Product Innovation at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Linda Alfredsson View original picture , opens in new tab/window

With focus on greener products

Published: 2 February 2016

Researchers at Luleå University of Technology have led one of four pre-study projects in the prestigious Initiative Construction Climate Challenge, which Volvo CE stands behind. – We have challenged the companies with our questions and received a good response, says Åsa Ericson, Associate Professor of Information Systems.

The aim of Construction Climate Challenge, CCC, is to introduce sustainability throughout the whole value chain in manufacturing. As in the case of, for example, a wheel loader; from material and manufacturing all the way to the end user and the environment in which the vehicle moves around. As a first step, four pilot study projects have been carried out, including one by researchers at Luleå University of Technology; Enablers for change and innovation.

– The concept of sustainability and its importance to the manufacturing industry has been broadened, says Johan Holmqvist, postdoctoral researcher of Product Innovation.

– It is not just the production that affects the environment; the environmental impact will continue after the product leave the factory. We have been able to contribute to a more social perspective, less focus on technology and more interpersonal aspects.

Towards greener products

Åsa Ericson also emphasizes the importance of the whole chain of actors must take joint responsibility, that consciousness must reach out to developers, owners and for instance the operator of a machine.

– If everyone in the value chain think sustainability and want to make greener products, the products will finally get greener.

The set-up of the pre-study has been a bit different compared to conventional projects. A project with little money but a lot of attention, as Johan Holmqvist puts it. As a symbolic entry work has been going on during the time the sailboats in the Volvo Ocean Race was at sea. The researchers have participated in workshops, roundtable discussions and held lectures and thus had the opportunity to influence the direction of future research within the CCC initiative.

– How do we go from idea to green innovation? We had to think outside the engineering box and I think it made an impression on everyone, says Åsa Ericson.

– It has been interesting to follow a company that wants to change their behavior. We have learned a lot during the project, particularly from the other participants and the common understanding of what we strive for, concludes Johan Holmqvist.