Resource – Efficient Production and Provision of Products

The research project by Nicoleta Gurita focuses on setting up and developing new industrial clusters around innovative business ideas. The aim of the research consists in an investigation of incentive-based approaches to sustainable and resource-efficient delivery of complex products. The outcomes will be illustrated with case studies on electronic products, such as mobile cell-phones and LED lightning systems.

As sustainability concept refers both to present and future generations, it requires the development of a system-wide approach to resource efficiency that motivates cost reduction and conservation of resources (Zamagni, 2012). The findings are aimed at being incorporated into the future design of new business clusters.

Currently, there is no established market for the technologies which enable the production of sustainable and resource efficient complex electronic products with respect to the issue of closed loop supply chains. There is also no market for the technologies closing the loops themselves (recovery and recycling). The business clusters can be seen as pilot projects which reveal pathways towards the establishment of niche markets. The incentives, if developed and adopted (legally or in voluntary arrangements) will take time to develop and they may act as drivers for the establishment of markets.

In order to reach a closed loop-supply chain of mobile-phones, three issues will be analysed from a business perspective: i) access to used products/consumer behaviour; ii) profitability or remanufacturing mobile phones from a remarketing point of view/consumer behaviour; iii) achieving recycling of mobile phones at a reasonable cost. From the business economics perspective, the game theory will be used to understand the strategic implications of product recovery.

The pathway chosen is to engage in partnerships with companies which are currently struggling with the development of their closed loop supply chain.

The scope is to develop a resource efficient business model for electronics driven by eco-innovations and focusing on product life cycle in order to integrate environmental aspects and reach a systemic approach towards development of closed loop supply chains; this novel, high-impact and potentially transformative approach to supplying goods and services presents major business opportunities. The market, product, macro and customer influencing factors will be assessed and analysed towards development of new business opportunities and frameworks.