Special Issue on Design and Manufacturing for Environmental Sustainability
The University of Tokyo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
This is the sixth special issue on Design and Manufacturing for Environmental Sustainability. As the first special issue on this topic was issued in 2009, the topic has thirteen years of history in this journal. Environmental sustainability was recognized as important for manufacturing even at that time. This is why the special issue was started in this journal. The seriousness of this topic has been increasing not only in Europe but also in Japan and other countries. One critical trend as of late has been the way that the attitude of companies regarding this issue, including their positions on carbon neutrality, circular economy, and biodiversity, has come to determine the value of the company in the eyes of, for example, environment, society, and governance (ESG) finance. Nowadays, we cannot say sustainability or business; we should pursue businesses that contribute to sustainability.
This sixth special issue includes eighteen well-written papers, with one more paper to follow. This series of special issues has focused on topics related to ecodesign, recycling, remanufacturing, low-energy and low-emission manufacturing, and circular economy. The papers in this special issue are also deeply related to these topics. As a result of the thirteen-year history of the special issue, we have been able to learn some viewpoints specific to the series in this journal. This has led this special issue to consist of four subcategories, although they are not explicitly represented in the table of contents. The first subcategory consists of seven papers, from the first paper by K. Halada et al. to the seventh paper by A. Yoshimura et al. These papers are related to design, including evaluation, business, remanufacturing, and materials. Among others, the important viewpoint common to these papers is the “flow” of product lifecycles and materials. The second category starts with the eighth paper by C. Ye et al. and ends with the eleventh paper by Y. Yamashita et al. These papers deal with manufacturing issues in the context of the environmental sustainability. For example, the eighth paper deals with the crushing of a photovoltaic panel, and the nineth paper by T. Cheng et al. deals with detecting lithium-ion battery fires, which are a serious problem for recycling plants. The application of additive manufacturing to remanufacturing discussed in the tenth paper by N. Sato et al. is also an important topic in the field of sustainable manufacturing.
The third subcategory consists of three papers, from the twelfth paper by J.-C. Tu et al. to the fourteenth by A. Y. T. Panuju et al. These are related to consumer behavior. The fourth subcategory, from the fifteenth paper by M. Kojima to the last paper by S. Tajima, deals with issues related to developing countries and locality. These two topics of consumer behavior and developing countries are indispensable to the discussion of environmental sustainability, yet they are rarely discussed in engineering journals. The editor believes that no other journal deals with these four subcategories in a special issue.
Most of the papers, revised and extended in response to the editor’s invitations, were originally presented at EcoDesign 2021: the 12th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing, which was held online.
The editor sincerely thanks the authors and reviewers for their devoted work in making this special issue possible. We hope that these articles will encourage further research into design and manufacturing for environmental sustainability.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.