The Product Development Process Roadblock that is Restricting the Widespread Adoption of Design for Sustainability

DS 58-3: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 3, Design Organization and Management, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Lee-Mortimer, Andrew; Short, Tim
Series: ICED
Section: Design Organization and Management
Page(s): 331-342


There is now growing pressure on manufacturers from all sectors, and of all sizes, to adopt Design for Sustainability (DfS). The aim of DfS is ensure that both the environmental impact, and any wider social concerns, of new a product or service are considered from a life cycle perspective, and appropriate decisions taken early in the design and development process. The past decade has also seen considerable research into developing effective tools, techniques and practices aimed at enabling DfS (including ecodesign) to be conducted more effectively, in all sizes of business. However, despite the increasing pressure on companies, and the research, there has been a distinct lack of progress to date in establishing environmental and social consideration as a part of mainstream product design in the majority of companies. This paper reviews some of the documented obstacles, but then proposes an alternative root cause for this lack of DfS integration. It then outlines an ongoing study of manufacturers, within the North West UK, which is being undertaken to examine this alternative, and includes the preliminary findings from the first part of this study.

Keywords: Keywords; Design for Sustainability, Product Development, Design Management


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