Sustainability assessment tool

Sustainability is something that is very relevant in today's industries. Many companies show a desire to work more sustainably, but it is not always easy to know how. In the spring of 2020, in connection with our degree project, we worked with a sustainability tool that will facilitate the choice of manufacturing methods for cutting machining.

Sustainability is complex and it can vary greatly from person to person what perception you have of what sustainability means. This work has been based on the most common definition, which divides sustainability into economic, ecological and social sustainability. Ecological sustainability addresses issues related to the environment, economic is about economic capital and social sustainability deals with issues concerning human well-being. We have looked in particular at the durability aspects of cutting processing with cryotechnology, which is a newer manufacturing method that uses liquid nitrogen as a coolant. This has been compared with, among other things, the more common method where cutting fluid is used.

The tool that was designed is made in Excel and consists of three pages where each page represents part of the sustainability aspects. These are structured with indicators that are answered with yes or no, percentage or with a unit. By answering these, companies can compare different types of cutting processing and thus see which is best from a sustainability perspective. There is no specific unit that weighs in all three parts of sustainability, but by using this tool, the alternatives can be compared within each sustainability classification and in this way a more informed decision can be made. Inspiration for the indicators is mainly taken from articles in cutting processing, the UN's indicators for global goals and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Excerpt from the sustainability assessment tool, by Lisa Gustafsson and Evelina Karlsson

To select the indicators, a checklist consisting of 6 points has been created. This is to ensure that the indicators meet a certain standard and work well together. The hope is that companies will also be able to add and remove indicators in the tool themselves so that it is adapted depending on what is to be measured. A desirable further development is to make the sustainability tool so general that it should be possible to use it on other types of manufacturing techniques as well, not just in cutting machining. Then the checklist can serve as a template for how the indicators should be structured and formulated.

Excerpt from the section "Ecological sustainability" in the sustainability assessment tool, by Lisa Gustavsson and Evelina Karlsson

The work has provided good knowledge in sustainability aspects in the manufacturing industry. It is an area that is under development and it has been very interesting to be a part of the work on how to get a more sustainable industry. We have seen clearly how large and small companies demand this type of aid and believe that there are many opportunities to improve the situation we are in now through simple aids to make smart choices.


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This article is categorised as Advanced  |  Published 2020-06-10  |  Authored by Greta Braun