Where’s eco-design going?

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Thirteen years after the Bruntland Report, we have had time to read and digest and postulate about what is required to make the many small steps towards something which we call sustainability. In those years we have come great distances. We know how to systematically seek for solutions to environmental problems. We use the lessons learned from these systematic attempts to construct methods for preventing the problems from occurring in the first instance. Further to this, some environmental ‘leaders’ are beginning to make pro-active attempts at using the environmental credentials of their products as the corner-stones for their businesses. When we consider finding solutions to discreet environmental problems, we now have many tools and techniques, and these issues are relatively easily addressed – at least we know where the problems lie. When we talk about learning from these problems and developing repeatable methods, we are making good progress in this area too – we have ideas about how to prioritise and organise our efforts. If we are to move to thinking about how to be pro-active with our efforts and design-in more to our products than just snap-fits and expect more back from our customer than just complaints, we should look to some different areas for guidance. We could look at the domain of quality, to learn about how to get closer to the customer and the product and the product’s life-cycle. We could look at innovation theory, to see how to be clever about the things that we do to our products, and how we ‘package’ them as a complete need-fulfilment. But how can we be sure that we’re on the road to sustainability? Thirteen years later and we have theories such as Factor 4, Factor 10 and Factor 20. We have seen sustainability broken down into eco-centric and techno-centric, strong sustainability and weak sustainability. Is it really possible to have these shades of green? This paper puts together some experiences and ideas around the state-of-the-art in eco-design, from both literature and personal experience and hopes to ask where, perhaps, we should be heading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Electronics Goes Green 2000+ Conference
Place of PublicationBerlin
Publication date2000
Publication statusPublished - 2000
EventElectronics Goes Green 2000+ - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 11 Sep 200013 Sep 2000


ConferenceElectronics Goes Green 2000+


  • Ecodesign
  • PD methods
  • Open source


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