How to Design Sustainable Products

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Use the following eight strategies to design products and services that are more environmentally and socially responsible.

Insights from a Systematic Review of the Research

Developing new products – or improving existing ones – is hard. The following eight strategies can help companies design products and services that are more environmentally and socially responsible.

You can view these strategies as a linear, life cycle process, beginning with new product design and ending with product disposal.

Alternatively, you can pick the individual strategy or strategies that best apply to your company or product depending on your specific phase(s) of development.

This graphic is based on Brezet and Hemel’s (1997) Sustainable Design Strategies as adapted by Colby (2011). For more detailed information about sustainable product design, see Innovating for Sustainability: A Systematic Review.

Brezet, H. & Hemel, C.V. 1997. Ecodesign: a promising approach to sustainable production and consumption. Paris: United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Industry and Environment.

Colby, C.C. 2011. The relationship between product design and business models in the context of sustainability. Masters thesis. University of Montreal.

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