Integrated Service Models for increased resource-efficiency in the business-to-business sector (INERIWI)

For the major resource intensive commercial sectors the real function of products will be ana-lysed and elaborated how to provide the function of the product without selling it. Based on the present material intensity of the branches the potential reduction of environmental burden by applying such models as well as economic and social implications will be deduced.

Short Description




Our present economy is based on the transfer of the ownership of products. The required products are bought, used and afterwards reused or handed over to disposal for which is paid once again. Hereby the responsibility for the use of the product and eventual arising liability is transferred to the owner. The producer regularly maximizes his sales and his revenues with increasing amounts of sold products. In contrary the user tries to cut his costs and to protect the environment by reducing the used amounts of products, which leads consequently to a conflict in interests.

To come to an aligned striving for dematerialisation and resource conservation in commerce, politics and society, new business models for the production but also for the use of goods and products are needed, which concentrate on the benefit for the client, created by the function of the products. These models should allow on one hand the producer to get his revenues decoupled from the sold amounts of products and guarantee on the other hand the optimal fulfilment of needs of the user by the application of the products. Ideally the idea of product-responsibility should be directly integrated in the models, which was incompletely integrated up to now.

Main objective of the project was the analysis of resource intensive service fields (this expression is used as the translation of "Bedarfsfeld", which developed to a common expression in the research of product-service-systems) in the business sector for the real needed function of the products. Hereafter it was aimed to develop possible models for the business-to-business sector how to provide primarily the real function of the products. An investigation in selected fields was planned together with producers and clients, followed by the development of innovative service models for the single fields. These models should be characterized concerning their advantages and disadvantages in relation to the actual situation and their acceptance at the producer and the user. Finally the potential for improving the environmental burden as well as the economic and social implications with the use of such models should have been estimated in the selected service fields.

Such an intensive analysis of the actual situation could be conducted in three service fields. Possible service oriented business models could be worked out and characterized according their chances and deficits and compared with the actual situation. A survey among clients brought responses about the possible acceptance on the market.

In two service fields detailed case studies allowed to work out the economically feasible range of framework conditions. For these conditions the effect of the implementation of such models on the economic, ecologic and social aspects could be estimated.

From the experiences of the investigated case studies a checklist could be derived, which shall support companies of the producing sector in their decision, whether the transfer from product selling to a service model will result in advantages for the company in the three aspects. Herewith the project will contribute to increased reflection of such service models in company strategies and facilitate the evaluation of their realistic benefits.

Project Partners

Contractor of the project:
Univ.Doz. Dr. Andreas Windsperger
Institut für Industrielle Ökologie (IIÖ)
Tor zum Landhaus, Rennbahnstr. 29C/3
A-3100 St.Pölten
Tel.: +43(0)2742/9005/15162

Project partner:
Dr. Ulrike Seebacher
IFF/IFZ - Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit und Kultur
Schlögelgasse 2, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316/813 909-0

ao.Univ.Prof. Dr. Hans Schnitzer
Joanneum Research ForschungsgesellschaftmbH
Institut für Nachhaltige Techniken und Systeme - JOINTS
Steyrergasse 17, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316 876-2412