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Policy and Demand as Drivers for Product Quality and Sustainability: A Market Systems Approach

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven Hoffenson, Rikard Söderberg

Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

Paper No. DETC2014-34368, pp. V02AT03A028; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2A: 40th Design Automation Conference
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4631-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The market is a complex system with many different stakeholders and interactions. A number of decisions within this system affect the design of new products, not only from design teams but also from consumers, producers, and policy-makers. Market systems studies have shown how profit-optimal producer decisions regarding product design and pricing can influence a number of different factors including the quality, environmental impact, production costs, and ultimately consumer demand for the product. This study models the ways that policies and consumer demand combine in a market systems framework to influence optimal product design and, in particular, product quality and environmental sustainability. Implementing this model for the design of a mobile phone case shows how different environmental impact assessment methods, levels of taxation, and factors introduced to the consumer decision-making process will influence producer profits and overall environmental impacts. This demonstrates how different types of policies might be evaluated for their effectiveness in achieving economic success for the producer and reduced environmental impacts for society, and a “win-win” scenario was uncovered in the case of the mobile phone.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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