Teaching and Implementation Models for Sustainable PSS Development: Motivations, Activities and Experiences

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The past two decades have seen increasing efforts to consider the potential negative effects of products’ manufacture, use and disposal on the local and global environment (Ehrenfeld, 2001). Over this time efforts have been made to relate the goals and ideals of sustainability to the domain of product development, thus adding new dimensions, such as social and moral values, to the original agenda of environmental improvement. The redefinition of the role of the product developer, from environmentally conscious product developer to sustainably aware product developer has led to new insights into the way in which products are developed and used – and to where environmental effects occur in the lifetime of a product. The product developer has thus a more complex role in relation to sustainability, as the focus for improvement of a product may not (and very often does not) lie in the physical artefactual ingredients of the product or the processes used to create it. Rather, the focus for improvement of a product’s environmental performance most often lies in the manner in which the product is used and consumed. A product’s use phase is often environmentally significant, as this is the largest source of environmental impact. A product’s consumption, or rather, a given user’s consumption behaviour is even more important, as this dictates exactly how many use-phases, how many products and how much product redundancy is created, due to the user’s lack of awareness, motivation or ability to consume a product in an environmentally respectful manner (McAloone, 2005). The problem with both use and consumption is that the product developer traditionally has very little power over these two elements; they occur after the product has left the factory and entered into the hands of the user (the consumer). Until the real environmentally harmful phases of a product’s life can be harnessed by the producing company, it is often impossible to make the radical (Factor X) environmental improvements to the product itself that are necessary to maintain an environmental equilibrium (e.g. Rejnders, 1998).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Sustainable Consumption and Production: Opportunities and Threats
VolumeBook 4
Place of PublicationWuppertal
PublisherSustainable Consumption Research Exchange (SCORE!) Network
Publication date2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventSustainable Consumption and Production: Opportunities and Threats - Wuppertal, Germany
Duration: 1 Jan 2006 → …


ConferenceSustainable Consumption and Production: Opportunities and Threats
CityWuppertal, Germany
Period01/01/2006 → …


  • PSS
  • Product life
  • PD methods
  • Competencies
  • Design
  • Eco-innovation
  • Innovation space
  • Life cycle thinking
  • Product development
  • Value chain
  • Value star

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