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Exploring Sustainable Production Systems

Discover the importance of sustainable production systems for our natural environment, global economy, and local communities.

444 enrolled on this course

A group of people standing in front of a production system characterised by new technology and nature working in harmony.

Exploring Sustainable Production Systems

444 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Examine sustainable production through a social, economic, and ecological lens

Sustainable production systems are manufacturing processes that conserve natural resources and energy. They do not negatively impact the environment or the communities around them, nor harm the people working in them.

This form of production has become increasingly important in the global climate crisis as we fight to reduce our negative impact on the planet.

This three-week course from the Luleå University of Technology will introduce you to sustainable production systems and help you examine them through social, economic, and ecological perspectives.

Discover the benefits of sustainable production for waste and cost reduction

The current modes of production are centred on output in response to demand. Our population is reliant on products and services with fast turnaround times to satisfy their growing needs. This means that our systems of production are foregoing sustainability in favour of speed and quantity.

You’ll delve into systems of production to examine how alternative manufacturing can reduce waste, cost, and energy consumption while meeting public needs.

Assess production system design for sustainability

Like any product or means of manufacturing, production systems must meet certain standards or criteria to be deemed effective, safe and compliant.

With the guidance of your educators, you’ll explore how to assess production systems and make suggestions for how to make them socially, economically and ecologically sustainable.

Explore the possibilities of sustainable technological innovation

The Luleå University of Technology provides expertise and research on innovation and design of product and production systems.

With their help, you’ll be best positioned to examine how technological innovation in production systems can give way to a greener future.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to Sustainable Production

    • Introducing the Course

      This activity introduces the course and its content. You will also learn more about the teachers behind the course and get the opportunity to introduce yourself to the learning community here on FutureLearn.

    • Historical Development of Production Systems

      This activity takes a look at the production history both before and after the 18th century. You will also get the opportunity to reflect over how production could have functioned before and after the factory system was invented.

    • Introduction to Sustainable Development

      This activity introduces the concept of sustainable development and presents the basics of production systems. It also looks at the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).

    • Week Summary

      This activity contains a summary on what you have learned during the second week of this course. You will reflect on your insights regarding the content, and test your knowledge in the weekly quiz.

  • Week 2

    Production Systems

    • Historical Production Trends and Concepts

      This activity takes a look at important historical concepts, perspectives and strategies and examines how they have impacted and continue to impact production system develoment.

    • Sociotechnology, Production Innovation and Industry 4.0

      This activity investigates the concept of sociotechnology -- interaction between technology and people. It also examines production innovation and introduces you to Industry 4.0.

    • Introducing Production Systems

      This activity introduces the basics of production systems and the elements that constitutes a production system. It provides some examples of production system processes such as production realisation and the supply chain.

    • Week Summary

      This activity contains a summary on what you have learned during the second week of this course. You will reflect on your insights regarding the content and test your knowledge in the weekly quiz.

  • Week 3

    Designing Sustainable Production Systems

    • Sustainable Design

      This activity investigates the concepts, ideas, and problems you might face as working with developing sustainable production systems. You will also get the chance to work on your own design process.

    • Polarbröd's Perspective on Sustainable Production

      In this activity, you will get the opportunity to see how a large company works with sustainable design and digitalisation in its production processes. You will also be tested and asked to reflect on the processes.

    • Sandvik Coromant's Perspectives on Sustainable Production

      In this activity, you will work with another large company: Sandvik Coromant. It will introduce some other perspectives. We will end by discussion production innovation at the case company.

    • Tools and Methods

      This activity discovers some tools and methods that are often used when working with sustainable design, for example LCA and GPM. You will reflect on these methods and how they are related to the UN SDGs.

    • Wrap Up

      You did it! This final activity summarises the course content and gives you some key takeaways. With an upgraded membership, you will be able to take a final test and get a certificate.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the principles of a sustainable production system.
  • Reflect on sustainability aspects in a production system context in three dimensions (economic, social, and environmental).
  • Perform basic assessment of production systems with regards to economic, social and ecologic sustainability.
  • Explain different approaches to designing sustainable production system development.
  • Apply sustainability aspects on a production system.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those interested in learning about sustainable production systems, from an economic, social, and ecological perspective.

It will also be helpful to university students deciding whether to pursue studies in the subject area.

Who will you learn with?

Torbjörn is a senior lecture at Manufacturing System Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. His research and teaching span through different areas of production system development and design.

Lisa is a senior associate lecturer at Product Innovation. Her research focuses on the role of innovation in sustainable development of production.

Joel is associate senior lecturer in human work science. Joel researches technology, work environment and the mining industry. He also teaches courses on production environment and organsaition.

Magnus is lecturer at Human Work Science at Luleå University of Technology. His main research interest is health and safety and production development among small and medium enterprises.

Anna is professor in product innovation. Research and teaching: sustainable technology-based business development, innovation and product development, in close relation with small and large companies.

Who developed the course?

Luleå University of Technology

The Luleå University of Technology mission is to shape the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results. Located in the arctic region, the university creates global societal benefit.

Arbeta Tillsammans

The objective for Arbeta tillsammans –project will be promoting and enhancing knowledge about the common labour market area within Finland and Sweden.

Interreg Nord

Interreg V A Nord is a EU-program supporting cross-border cooperation in order to strengthen the economic and social development.

Areas included in the program are north Norway, north Finland, north Sweden and Sápmi (which spreads over all three countries).

Region Norrbotten

Region Norrbotten arbetar för dig som bor i Norrbottens län. Vi styrs av dig och de andra invånarna i länet genom allmänna politiska val. Region Norrbotten är länets största arbetsgivare. Vi har cirka 7 500 anställda, varav de flesta arbetar inom hälso- och sjukvården.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 5 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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