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Priority Products for Sustainability Information and Recommendation Software: Insights in the Context of the EU’s Action Plan Circular Economy

Wurster, Simone; Reis, Cristina Fróes de Borja

The diffusion of sustainable products is a global objective, particularly reflected by the UN’s vision of ensuring sustainable development. Mobilising the potential of product information’s digitalization is an important topic in this context, particularly in the EU’s circular economy plan CEAP. Cross-sector analyses on the need for digital sustainability recommendation systems and related product-specific requirements do not yet exist. Questions: This article aims to deepen the insight of information requirements and recommendation software to facilitate sustainability-oriented product decisions based on three questions: (1) to identify products specifically requiring four types of sustainability information, (2) to unveil needs for software that recommends sustainable products, and (3) to specify the information it shall provide. Method: As part of the ConCirMy recommendation system project, we conducted an exploratory survey among 134 sustainability experts from 5 circular and bio-economy networks, mainly from Germany. The results show priority products regarding four sustainability information needs and recommendation software, making specific relations between European regulation and stakeholders’ interests visible. In addition, ten factors influencing these needs and facilitating further product-related sustainability classifications were unveiled. Conclusions: Our findings reflect the significance of CEAP’s priority products regarding the need for sustainability information and provide conclusions for four target groups.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su141911951, MDPI