Action Research on a Locally Oriented Sustainable Product
Graduate School of Global and Transdisciplinary Studies, Chiba University
1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
This research aims to visualize the social relations of a locally oriented sustainable product based on specialty product development in Nagara, Chiba. Japan’s population has declined since 2008. Sustainable regional revitalization, such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, is an urgent issue. Developing specialty products to foster regional brands is flourishing in various places because regional brands will improve their earning power. Although various specialty products are being developed nationwide, there is no indicator of their social sustainability regarding how locally oriented products directly contribute to regional revitalization. Nagara Town is located in the central part of Chiba Prefecture and is the second-smallest town in the prefecture with a population of 6,520. Nagara Town and Chiba University signed a partnership agreement on regional revitalization in 2015 and are working on industry-government-academia collaborative community development with the theme of a continuous care retirement community (CCRC). In 2019, the university, local companies, and the town hall collaborated to develop a specialty product, “Nagara and Guarana (N&G).” Design thinking was used for the development, and the N&G prototype was completed in 2020. After prototype testing, N&G was commercialized in 2021, and 45,000 bottles were manufactured. It was sold at facilities and station shops inside and outside the town, and sold 36,510 bottles, successfully exceeding the original schedule. Unlike normal specialty product development, Nagara Town has become an N&G seller. Related studies have shown that locally oriented products contribute to social sustainability by localizing them according to the social context of the region on a global scale. However, in regional revitalization, building social connections within regions through locally oriented products contributes to social sustainability. However, there is no indicator of how locally oriented sustainable products contribute to this region. The author proposed a Socio-Relation Map (SRMap) to quantitatively measure the social relations of a product by counting the stakeholders involved. SRMap comprises stakeholders involved in product planning, manufacturing, and dissemination. Then, we applied SRMap to N&G to verify its effectiveness and limitations.
-  The Cabinet Office, “About Town / People / Work Creation Basic Policy 2021,” 2021 (in Japanese).
-  P. Schroeder, K. Anggraeni, and U. Weber, “The Relevance of Circular Economy Practices to the Sustainable Development Goals,” J. of Industrial Ecology, Vol.23, No.1, pp. 77-95, 2019.
-  S. Tajima, “Efforts that take advantage of the characteristics of the university: University-linked CCRC in Nagara,” Regional Development, Vol.625, pp. 29-32, 2018.
-  Nagara Town, “Population.” https://www.town.nagara.chiba.jp/soshiki/3/64.html (in Japanese) [Accessed April 28, 2022]
-  Nagara Town, “Nagara Town, Town / People / Work Creation Population Vision / Comprehensive Strategy,” 2016 (in Japanese).
-  H. Kobayashi, “Perspectives on Sustainable Product Design Methodology Focused on Local Communities,” M. Matsumoto et al. (Eds.), “Sustainability Through Innovation in Product Life Cycle Design,” pp. 79-92, Springer, 2016.
-  L. C. Dreyer, M. Z. Hauschild, and J. Schierbeck, “ A Framework for Social Life Cycle Impact Assessment,” Int. J. LCA, Vol.11, No.2, pp. 88-97, 2006.
-  T. Tamura, H. Kobayashi, and Y. Umeda, “Requirements for Design Methodology for Local Oriented Manufacturing in Developing Countries,” Procedia CIRP, Vol.40, pp. 431-436, 2016.
-  Y. Sugita, S. Fukusige, and H. Kobayashi, “A Visualization System of Design Information for Locally-oriented Sustainable Product,” Procedia CIRP, Vol.61, pp. 617-622, 2017.
-  H. Kobayashi and S. Fukushige, “A Living-sphere Approach for Locally Oriented Sustainable Design,” J. of Remanufacturing, Vol.8, No.3, pp. 103-113, 2018.
-  FFI J. Editorial Committee, “FFI Report Technical Reports Guarana,” Food and Food Additives Research J., Vol.208, No.8, pp. 670-674, 2013.
-  S. Tajima, “Modeling local product development through multidisciplinary collaboration: A case study in Nagara, Chiba Prefecture in Japan,” EcoDesign 2021, 2021.
-  K. Dorst, “The core of ‘design thinking’ and its application, Design Studies,” Vol.32, Issue 6, pp. 521-532, 2011.
-  The Cabinet Office, “Economic analysis of regional brands,” pp. 63-73, 2017. https://www5.cao.go.jp/j-j/cr/cr17/pdf/chr17_2-2.pdf (in Japanese) [Accessed July 22, 2022]
-  M. Wada, S. Sugano, M. Tokuyama, M. Nagao, and H. Wakabayashi, “Regional brand management,” Yuhikaku, 2009 (in Japanese).
-  S. Tajima, “Online activities toward the revitalization of Nagara, Chiba: Achievements and challenges,” Chiba University J. of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Vol.6, pp. 209-222, 2022.
-  A. Ishigaki, T. Yamada, and S. M. Gupta, “Design of a Closed-Loop Supply Chain with Stochastic Product Returns,” Int. J. Automation Technol., Vol.11, No.4, pp. 563-571, 2017.
-  N. Nakamura, K. Mandai, S. Fukushige, and Y. Umeda, “Proposal of a Methodology for Supporting Eco-Business Planning,” Int. J. Automation Technol., Vol.6, No.3, pp. 264-271, 2012.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.