Implications of EU instruments on company capabilities to design more sustainable solutions–Product Environmental Footprint and Digital Product Passport

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Lövdahl, Josefin (1); Hallstedt, Sophie I. (1,2); Schulte, Jesko (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden;2: Chalmers University of Technology
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2245-2254
DOI number:


In the EU, initiatives with concrete instruments for measuring and storing sustainability-related product data are now introduced in legislation. Based on literature review and semi-structured interviews, this study investigates two EU instruments, the Product Environmental Footprint method and Digital Product Passports, and their potential implications for company capabilities to design and select more sustainable solutions in a strategic way. The results show that these instruments can lead to increased transparency and traceability in the design and comparison of solutions, allowing for more effective collaboration across the value chain. By applying a strategic sustainability perspective, it was found that these EU instruments have major limitations as they lack a systems perspective, do not include a full socio-ecological sustainability perspective, and do not support strategic decision-making. This results in risks for suboptimization and the design of solutions that turn out to be costly dead-ends on the way towards a sustainable society. Research is therefore recommended to investigate how these instruments can facilitate a strategic development of sustainable solutions.

Keywords: Ecodesign, Circular economy, Sustainability, Sustainable Product Development, Digital Product Passport

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