Representation of ecodesign practice: International comparison of industrial design consultancies

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Sustainability, 2011, 3 (10), pp. 1778 - 1791
Issue Date:
2011-12-01
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Ecodesign offers significant potential to reduce the environmental impacts of products. Whilst some integration of environmental considerations into design occurs in progressive companies when engineering the product, this only represents a small share of the possible design interventions to improve the environmental performance of products. For example, developing new product concepts to fulfill needs in a less environmentally harmful way and considering user related aspects offers a large, currently under-realized potential. This paper identifies industrial design (ID) consultancies as potential agents to tackle this issue on a strategic and operational basis. The extent to which this potential is currently applied was assessed by conducting a content analysis of websites of ID consultancies in Australia, China, and Germany. How ID consultancies represent their ecodesign practice is country-specific. Despite the differences, some ID consultancies in all countries announce and/or show the capability to develop completely new concepts and to influence user related factors to improve environmental performance. This shows their potential to address current shortcomings in ecodesign practice. As ID consultancies embracing that potential still are a minority, further research should be directed to a deeper examination of barriers and stimuli for ID consultancies to take up ecodesign.© 2011 by the authors.
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