The focus of environmental work in manufacturing companies has increasingly shifted from end-of-pipe solutions to the environmental performance of products and services. The product development process is central to creating value for customers. This thesis argues that companies can simultaneously create value for consumers and be profitable while taking environmental considerations into account.
Modernising ecodesign means taking advantage of environmental benefits and the innovation potential when developing solutions rather than using ecodesign simply to ensure that legal requirements or customer demands are met. Ecodesign is a strategic issue and should be included in early product development activities, such as for project selection and when setting product targets. There is also need to perform ecodesign according to the characteristics of specific development processes as for radical product development or when developing integrated solutions, using a combination of services and products.
This thesis reports on the findings from five different research studies, all of which adopted a qualitative approach in which the emphasis falls on exploring and creating understanding and meaning. The studies focused on three areas of ecodesign: A) rethinking approaches for manufacturing companies, B) setting environmental project targets and project selection and C) redesign of products.
Recommendations on how to modernise ecodesign have been developed and can be summarised in six points:
• Perform ecodesign both vertically and horizontally in a company.
• Increase interaction between organisational units.
• Take advantage of innovation potential in products, services, user behaviour and the delivery and take-back systems.
• Take environmental considerations into account in the project selection process.
• Set environmental targets for ensuring that environmental considerations are taken when developing innovative solutions.
• Develop ecodesign procedures that fit the characteristics of the development process
Stockholm: Maskinkonstruktion , 2006.
ecodesign, design for environment, product development, integrated solutions, product service systems