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Material efficiency measurements in manufacturing: Swedish case studies

Publication Type:

Journal article


Journal of Cleaner Production


A major factor in the continued deterioration of the global environment is unsustainable management of resources that includes the type and quantity of resources consumed and manufactured as well as the subsequent generation and treatment of wasted materials. Improved material efficiency (ME) in manufacturing is key to reducing resource consumption levels and improving waste management initiatives. However, ME must be measured, and related goals must be broken down into performance indicators for manufacturing companies. This paper aims to improve ME in manufacturing using a structured model for ME performance measurements. We present a set of ME key performance indicators (ME-KPIs) at the individual company and lower operational levels based on empirical studies and a structured literature review. Our empirical findings are based on data collected on the performance indicators and material and waste flows of nine manufacturing companies located in Sweden. The proposed model categorizes ME-KPIs into the following categories: productive input materials, auxiliary input materials, output products, and residual output materials. These categories must be measured equally to facilitate the measurement, assessment, improvement and reporting of material consumption and waste generation in a manufacturing context. Required qualities for ME-KPI suggested in literature are also discussed, and missing indicators are identified. Most of the identified ME-KPIs measure qualityand cost-related factors, while end-of-life scenarios, waste segregation and the environmental effects of waste generation and material consumption are not equally measured. Additionally, ME-KPIs must also be connected to pre-determined goals and that defining or revising ME-KPIs requires communication with various external and internal actors to increase employees’ awareness and engagement.


author = {Sasha Shahbazi and Christina J{\"o}nsson and Martin Kurdve and Marcus Bjelkemyr and Magnus Wiktorsson},
title = {Material efficiency measurements in manufacturing: Swedish case studies},
volume = {14},
number = {17},
month = {January},
year = {2018},
journal = {Journal of Cleaner Production},
url = {}