Development of Manufacturing Sustainability Assessment Using Systems Thinking
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSustainability. 2016, 8 (1), . 10.3390/su8010005
The existing body of knowledge in sustainability assessment of manufacturing indicates that although extensive research is going on, significant shortcomings remain unsolved. In this paper, the specific needs of a new sustainability assessment system are discussed. Systems thinking is suggested as an alternative to the reductionist approach which is commonly applied to sustainability assessment. Although previous research has recognized the potential of systems thinking applied to sustainability assessment, few practical examples have been demonstrated. Therefore, this article focuses on a practical application of systems thinking to the development of a sustainability assessment system of a manufacturing organization. A framework for development is proposed employing systems thinking. It is suggested that systems thinking reveals several aspects usually not addressed by the reductionist approaches. It is demonstrated that a combination of tools like analysis of multiple viewpoints, conceptagon, seven samurai, and model-based systems engineering can enhance a development of a suitable assessment systems.