Company and Product Related Environmental Information Management -A pilot field study
This report is the first outcome from the PhD project Towards an Integrated Environmental Information System. It covers the findings from a pilot field study of environmental information management at flooring manufacturer Forbo.
Relevant, reliable, accessible and understandable environmental information is a cornerstone for any attempt on environmental management of production units and products, and also for making solid purchasing decisions. However, there are several known problems to environmental information management in companies. Ambiguous information, high time consumption, high costs, low organisational memory, limited availability and a poor product information flow are some of the problems that can be found.
The purpose of this study is to get an understanding of the preconditions for the efficient generation and use of relevant environmental information at the study object, both at site/company/group level and product level. Another aim is to refine the research questions and research methodology to prepare for further field studies.
Two Forbo units were chosen as study objects partly because they were known to manage both site related and product related environmental information. The study was carried out mainly through semi-structured interviews and by collecting and analysing documented environmental information.
The quality of product related environmental information at Forbo is lower than the professional site related environmental information. The product information lacks in objectivity, precision and actuality. Possible explanations are a weak market demand for products with lower environmental impact, weak third-party intervention on the product level and an organisation design that seems to create a barrier for the flow of product related information.
The detailed and extensive format of the product declaration seems to be a barrier for understanding and using environmental product information.
environmental information systems
Environmental information management
product related environmental information
integrated product policy