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Developing environmental sustainability strategies, the Double Diamond method of LCA and design thinking: a case study from aged care

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)67-82
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/02/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper introduces a process to develop context-specific environmental sustainability strategies by utilising streamlined Life Cycle Assessment and design thinking. This process is referred to as the Double Diamond method of Life Cycle Assessment and Design Thinking, and is supported by an emperical case study of a major aged care organisation in Australia. The process asked four strategic questions to inform the development of the sustainability strategy: (1) What areas of aged care have the highest environmental impact? (2) How do the areas of high environmental impacts relate to day-to-day organisational practices? (3) What alternatives are available to reduce these impacts? And,(4) How could the alternatives formulate a plan to reduce impacts over time? Each question requires a specific disciplinary approach to answer, drawing on Life Cycle Assessment, social sciences and co-creative problem solving from design. The applied process can be viewed as an extension of ecodesign, moving from a product centric focus into an organizational setting, in part due to the emerging field of design thinking. The outcome of the case study is a plan proposing a mix of social and technical strategies to theoretically reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 54% over a ten-year time frame. Tying the plan together was a financing strategy that scaffolds strategy implementation across time. The paper provides insight into the environmental impacts of the aged care sector, the development of sustainability strategies, and a means to integrate Life Cycle Assessment into a creative problem solving process that may help businesses curtail environmental impacts.