Approximately one-third of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from energy and processing are from making products and chemicals. These emissions can be lowered if they are deliberately considered during the design of products. How can lean product and process development (LPPD) be used to build environmental considerations into the product development system? We explore if LPPD is an effective system in delivering sustainable manufacturing. We conducted case studies in the automotive and oil & gas industries in which LPPD was used to deliver significant physical changes to the product and product manufacturing. We completed semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and focused on the motivation for the change, how LPPD was either a help or hindrance, and the delivered cost savings and environmental benefits. Findings from the case studies were used to structure a workshop on LPPD and sustainability held at a leading manufacturing (industry focused) conference. In this workshop, we focused on first identifying the main environmental impacts in each industry, the physical opportunities to reduce those impacts, and how LPPD might help or hinder delivering that change. This article structures the findings from the case studies and workshop. We present a guide (with examples) for how various LPPD methods (e.g., concept papers, value stream mapping, and design guides) might be used to meet sustainability challenges (e.g., reducing the generation of manufacturing scrap). While LPPD is itself agnostic to sustainability, we suggest that it is an effective method of creating an organizational system for promoting sustainable manufacturing particularly in complex environments.

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