From Ecodesign to Sustainable Product/Service-Systems: A Journey Through Research Contributions over Recent Decades

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Abstract

Corporate approaches towards sustainability integration into product development have significantly evolved since the early 1990s. Ecodesign, defined as the integration of environmental issues into product development, arose in the 1990s as a key concept for the enhancement of products’ environmental performance. An intense development of ecodesign methods and tools could be observed in the 1990–2010 period, leading to successful pilot cases in industry, in which environmental gains were demonstrated. In the 2010s, the need for a systems perspective to solve the environmental crisis has been highlighted, and the concept of product/service-systems started to gain momentum due to the high potential for enhanced environmental performance and improved competitiveness, by means of new business models and dematerialization. Recently, a transition towards Circular Economy and the integration of social innovation into sustainability initiatives can be observed, which leads to strategic and holistic sustainability considerations in the design of complex systems. In this chapter, the evolution of sustainability concepts and their integration into product development is presented and exemplified in three periods: 1990–2010; 2010–2020 and 2020–2030. While the first two periods present the actual development of the field, the last period represents the evaluation and projection of the trends developed by the authors. By analysing the three periods, the authors aim to discuss the journey from ecodesign to sustainable product/service-systems over the last decades, experienced by academia and practitioners, and to highlight their views on how the field is going to develop over the next 10 years.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Manufacturing. Sustainable Production, Life Cycle Engineering and Management.
EditorsR. Stark, G. Seliger, J. Bonvoisin
PublisherSpringer
Publication date2017
Pages99-111
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-48513-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-48514-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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