Integrating Environmental Decisions Into Design: Encouraging A Move Towards Sustainable Product Development

Tim C. McAloone, Stephen Evans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In recent years there has been a growing interest in making products more environmentally benign. New environmental standards require that companies not only account for their actions environmentally, but also provide some evidence as to how they intend to achieve improved environmental performance. Until now public policy has focused mainly on industrial waste streams and end-of-pipe problems, paying little or no attention to the design and development stage of a product’s life-cycle. Product designers are in a unique position within the product development process to have the opportunity to address environmental issues. However, considering that we are only just beginning to realise the benefits of acting in an environmentally responsible manner, (let alone understand the problem fully), designers face the dilemma of having to make long-term environmental decisions before they can begin to appreciate the consequences of their actions. Designers are now expected to produce goods that are ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, or ‘eco-friendly’ without first having understood the full breadth of the terms. (Indeed if they were to look into how to be ‘sustainable’ they would soon be bowled over by the term’s many interpretations.) This paper discusses some of the observations made during an industrially-based research project that is being carried out by two UK universities. The two industrial partners to the project manufacture goods in a global marketplace and have diverse product ranges. In the age of the global marketplace the design of the simplest product often involves liaison between many manufacturers and suppliers across the world, thus making the product development process more complex. If suitable environmental choices of components and materials from suppliers are to be possible, it is imperative that these decisions be made at exactly the right time in the design process and by the correct people.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1996 Conference of the Greening of Industry Network : Global Restructuring: A Place for Ecology?
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
PublisherGIN
Publication date1996
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 1996 Conference of the Greening of Industry Network : Global Restructuring: A Place for Ecology? - Heidelberg
Duration: 1 Jan 1996 → …

Conference

ConferenceThe 1996 Conference of the Greening of Industry Network : Global Restructuring: A Place for Ecology?
CityHeidelberg
Period01/01/1996 → …

Bibliographical note

Ecodesign; Product life; PD methods; Miljørigtig produktudvikling

Cite this

McAloone, T. C., & Evans, S. (1996). Integrating Environmental Decisions Into Design: Encouraging A Move Towards Sustainable Product Development. In Proceedings of the 1996 Conference of the Greening of Industry Network: Global Restructuring: A Place for Ecology? GIN.