Product sustainability assessments present major challenges. These challenges will be mastered successfully and efficiently if work procedures and decision-making processes have a clear and well-reasoned structure – which, in PROSA, is imposed by a special process tool called the Pathfinder. The Pathfinder specifies the way PROSA is carried out – the chronological sequence, the selection of (core) tools – and provides aids such as indicator lists, time and cost management structures, graphics routines and interpretation frameworks.
The Pathfinder sets out the prototypical performance of PROSA (cf. figure on the right). When used by companies, the company’s own specific management tools, checklists or interpretation frameworks can be used readily. A strategy team should be formed within the company to carry out or support PROSA.
The sequence of the process is guided by the typical phases of strategy formulation processes: definition of objective, analysis of market and setting, brainstorming, evaluation and strategy formulation. The performance of PROSA is process-led and iterative – initial, orientative analyses are pursued in greater depth later on, new ideas or unexpected findings can change the course of the process or can cause previous phases to be reworked.