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ISSUE 10 : JULY 1999

The Journal of
Sustainable Product Design





ISSN 1367–6679
Sustainable design in
the white goods sector
Analysis, page 43

Green cotton
Gallery, page 53

Eco-concept for a heater
Innovation, page 55

SL48 Solar Lantern
Gallery, page 53
ISSUE 10 : JULY 1999

The Journal of
Sustainable Product Design

5 Editorial
Martin Charter, Editor, The Journal of Sustainable Product Design

7 Making sustainability bite: transforming global consumption patterns
Nick Robins, Coordinator, Sustainable Markets Group, International Institute for
Environment and Development, UK

17 Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and eco-product development (EPD)

Professor Martin Charter and Inga Belmane, Co-ordinator and Researcher,
The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

30 Product-oriented environmental management systems: a case study

Cristina Rocha and Professor Han Brezet, Researcher, Department of Environmental
Strategy Studies, Instituto Nacional de Engenharia E Tecnologia Industrial (INETI),
Portugal and PhD researcher at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the
Netherlands and Professor at TU Delft and Director of the Design for Sustainability
Programme, the Netherlands

43 Progress towards sustainable design in the white goods sector

Edwin Datschefski, Founder and CEO, BioThinking International, UK

53 Green Cotton, Cycab and the SL48 Solar Lantern

55 A day in the life of a sustainable solutions designer in 2020
Ursula Tischner, Director, ec(o)ncept, Germany

59 Sustainable Product Research Network (SPRN)

O2 news
62 O2 France and O2 Belgium

© 1999 The Centre for Sustainable Design. 64 Diary of events

All written material, unless otherwise
stated, is the copyright of The Centre
for Sustainable Design, Surrey, UK.
Views expressed in articles and letters
are those of the contributors, and not
necessarily those of the publisher.
ISSN 1367–6679

Editorial information Editorial Board Professor Ezio Manzini

Director, Facolta di Architettura,
Professor Martin Charter: Editor Africa
Unita di ricerca Progetto, Prodotto,
and Journal marketing/production Gary Owen
Ambiente, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
CEO, ResponseAbility Alliance (Zimbabwe)
Russell White: Gallery, Reviews, and Diary
Dr Stefano Marzano
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design Head of Corporate Design,
Professor Chris Ryan
encourages response from its readers to Philips International (Netherlands)
Director, Centre for Design, Royal
any of the issues raised in the journal. Melbourne Institute for Technology Dr Diana Montgomery
Entries for the Diary of events and material (Australia) Head of Environment, Automobile
to be considered for review should all be Association (UK)
sent to the Editor at the address below. Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel Professor Jeremy Myerson
All articles published in the Analysis Director, Industry and Environment, UNEP Contemporary Design,
section are assessed by an external (France) De Montfort University (UK)
panel of business professionals, Hans Peter Becker Jonathan Smales
consultants and academics. Managing Director, Wilkhahn (UK) Ltd. (UK) CEO, The Earth Centre (UK)
Professor Eric Billett Dr Hans van Weenen
Subscription rates Pro Vice Chancellor, Brunel University Director, UNEP Working Group
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design College (UK) on Sustainable Product Design,
is a quarterly journal appearing in the Professor Dr Michael Braungart International Centre, University
months of April, July, October and January Head of Postgraduate Study Programme on of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
each year. Subscription rates for one year Material Flow Management; Technical Professor Jan-Olaf Willums
(four issues) are £90.00 (UK) and £100 University of Applied Sciences, Suderburg, Director, Foundation for Business and
(non-UK) for the paper-based version, and (Germany) Sustainable Development (Norway)
£50.00 for the online version. Special Professor Han Brezet Dr Jonathan Williams
subscription rates for developing countries Director, Section of Environmental Product Director, Group for Environmental
and students are available on application. Development, Faculty of Industrial Design Manufacturing (UK)
Cheques should be made payable to The Engineering, Delft University of Technology US
Surrey Institute in £ sterling and sent to: (Netherlands) Dr Brad Allenby
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design Ian Dumelow Director, Environmental,
Dean, Faculty of Design, Health & Safety, AT&T (US)
The Centre for Sustainable Design
Surrey Institute of Art & Design,
Faculty of Design Professor Patricia Dillon
University College (UK)
The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, The Gordon Institute, Tufts University (US)
University College Professor Dr Guenter Fleischer
Ralph Earle III
Falkner Road Director, Instit fuer Technischen
President, The Assabet Group (US)
Umweltschutz, Technische Universitat
Farnham Professor John Ehrenfeld
Berlin (Germany)
Surrey GU9 7DS Director, Technology, Business and
UK Peter James
Environment Program, Massachusetts
tel +44 (0)1252 892772 Director, Sustainable Business
Institute of Technology (US)
Centre (UK)
fax +44 (0)1252 892747
Dr Joseph Fiksel
email: Iris van de graaf de Keijser
Senior Director, Strategic Environmental,
internet: Director, Kiva Product Ecology
Health & Safety Management, Battelle
Memorial Institute (US)
Professor Karl Lidgren
James Hartzfeld
Director, The International Institute for
Vice President, Interface Research
Industrial Environmental Economics,
Corporation (US)
Lund University (Sweden)
Dorothy MacKenzie Professor William McDonough
Director, Dragon (UK) Dean, Faculty of Architecture,
University of Virginia (US)
Jacquelyn Ottman
President, J Ottman Consulting Inc (US)



Welcome to the tenth issue of

The Journal of Sustainable Product Design
Professor Martin Chartern
Editor, The Journal of Sustainable Product Design

Eco-design: a new core decision-makers who then gain become an important part of the
competence knowledge and experience over process.
time. If managed well this
If companies are to take advan-
knowledge will permeate into
tage of the business opportuni-
corporate culture eg. the sum of
Capturing eco-design
ties and minimise the impact of
organisational eco-design knowl- knowledge
changes that may emerge from a
edge is greater than its individual In today’s turbulent times of
greener and/or more sustainable
parts. There will need to be corporate re-structuring, busi-
world, then new expertise and
knowledge development cover- ness process re-engineering,
skills need to be developed. This
ing both how to manage eco- faster new product development
will mean the need to create
design systems and processes, as and information exchange there
new forms of organisations,
well as understanding the techni- is a need to develop systems to
processes and products (solu-
calities of eco-design. Eco-design retain knowledge and expertise
tions). Once we start to focus
knowledge involves a rich mix of in the firm. Generally there is a
on products (solutions) we are
technical and non-technical lack of experience and skills in
starting to get to the strategic
informational inputs from mate- eco-design and more broadly
core of the firm. However, at
rials and energy considerations, eco-product development, there-
present eco-design (eco-product
to reverse logistics and legislative fore if the ‘eco-design expert’
development) or more broadly
changes to awareness of eco- leaves the firm then the knowl-
sustainable product design is not
benchmarking and competitive edge leaves with him or her! (if a
defined as a core competence.
activity. To enable the develop- knowledge collection infrastruc-
This is due to a lack of a
ment of an appropriate organisa- ture has not been established).
perceived business need, unclear
tional infrastructure will mean This may mean that competitive
financial arguments and a weak
moving from the existing engi- advantage may be lost. With the
commitment to the continuous
neering mindset of eco-design to lack of availability of specialists,
integration of eco-design into
a broader, more outward orien- this will mean the need for the
the product creation process.
tated strategic focus. Therefore training of non-specialists who
Eco-design projects tend to be
to successfully manage eco- have been given the ‘eco-design
ad hoc and therefore knowledge
design will require a complex brief’. This is likely to be a huge
is disparate and uncoordinated.
corporate neural network that learning and experience curve
There needs to be senior level
captures, processes, stores and for the average manager. This
commitment to the strategic
disseminates information from will mean the need for the
importance of greener products
and to formal and informal development of new training
and frameworks to manage eco-
systems. In the short-term this approaches and the ‘knowledge
design need to be clearly defined
will primarily relate to environ- delivery systems’ to enable faster
and implemented. Building eco-
mental and financial aspects of performance. A planned
design knowledge will come
eco-efficiency, but in the future approach to knowledge building,
from collecting data and trans-
social and ethical aspects will education and training and
forming it into information for



information collection is a edge is shared or disseminated emerging the concept of

good starting point. within the firm. Product-Orientated
Environmental Management
The establishment of Product- Developing, retaining and build-
Systems (POEMS) highlighting
related Environmental ing eco-design knowledge and
an example of its application
Information Systems (PREIS) competencies will become a key
in a the truck manufacturing
structured to fulfill strategic, element of successful environ-
company. Edwin Datschefski,
tactical and operational goals mental and business performance
CEO of Biothinking
is a first step. Both formal and and strategic advantage into the
International, UK discusses eco-
informal information should next millennium.
product development issues in
be researched. It has been high-
the white goods sector and then
lighted in some surveys that eco-
design knowledge often comes
Overview of this issue highlights some of the future
opportunities that may arise
from outside the firm through Issue ten of the Journal of
from the application of sustain-
informal networks, workshops Sustainable Product Design
able design to products in this
and conferences. Some compa- continues the trend of recent
sector. The Innovation section
nies are now starting to use issues and explores some of
includes an article from Ursula
intranets to disseminate eco- policy level developments cover-
Tischner, Director of ec(o)ncept
design knowledge more widely. ing greener markets and prod-
in Germany which explores the
Some intranet managers are ucts. Nick Robins, Coordinator
day in the life of a sustainable
making links to external, as well of Sustainable Markets Group,
solutions designer in 2020. The
as, internal websites for the International Institute of
Sustainable Product Research
benefit of internal and external Environment and Development
Network (SPRN) section focuses
business partners. For example, (IIED) in the UK discusses
on research projects from
the environmental manager or sustainable consumption with
Sweden and the UK covering the
eco-designer may consider eco- real examples from around the
potential for dematerialisation in
design tool X developed by world. He argues that present
developing countries, chain
university Z to be useful and this governmental approaches to
management in the organic food
may be added to the intranet, or sustainable consumption (beyond
market, remanufacturing, prod-
he or she may simply highlight a green consumerism) are address-
uct-related environmental
useful website. However, there ing the issues in a piecemeal
communications and industrial
should to be a policy to hunt and manner rather than from a
designers involvement in eco-
collect information, if pockets of strategic and systemic viewpoint.
design. The O2 pages cover a new
project experience are not to be Professor Martin Charter and
publication that highlights 90
missed. For example, a product Inga Belmane, Coordinator and
examples of eco-design world-
section of an environmental Researcher at The Centre for
wide, and the development and
management intranet may Sustainable Design in the UK
implementation of a new eco-
successfully highlight eco-labels further explore the emerging
design project in Belgium.
worldwide, market research Integrated Product Policy (IPP)
summaries and new legislation and Environmental Product Due to the high quality of articles in
but there may be no documenta- Policy (EPP) debates and the this issue the Interview and Review
tion procedures to collect infor- relationship with eco-product sections have been held over to the
mation on ad hoc eco-design development drawing on exam- next issue.
projects in separate business ples from the electronics sector.
As always The Journal for
divisions or countries. For exam- Cristina Rocha and Professor Han
Sustainable Product Design
ple, there might be a project Brezet, Researcher and Director,
welcomes thoughts, comments
being completed in a US division Design for Sustainability
and ideas in relation to the
into the dismantlability of PC ‘A’ programme at Delft University
articles in this issue. •
and a similar project in Sweden of Technology in the Nether-
in PC ‘B’ but no common knowl- lands discuss the new and



Making sustainability bite:

transforming global
consumption patterns
Nick Robins|
Coordinator, Sustainable Markets Group, International
Institute for Environment and Development, UK

Nick Robins has more than 10 years This paper reviews the lessons Global consumption in crisis
experience with international learned in the global policy
lmost forty years ago at the
environment and development issues,
focusing on European Union policy-
dialogue on sustainable
consumption since the Earth
A height of the post-war
economic boom, Vance Packard
making and business practice. He is Summit in 1992. It draws on the
sounded perhaps the first warn-
currently the Coordinator of conclusions of the 1998 Kabelvåg
ing note about the downside to
International Institute for Environment workshop, ‘Consumption in a
Sustainable World’, hosted by the the modern consumer society.
and Development’s (IIED) new
Norwegian Ministry of Environment. In ‘The Waste Makers’, Packard
Sustainable Markets Group. His work
The paper shows how consumption argued that America had become
aims to find practical ways of
has now become a global policy ‘a force-fed society with a vested
delivering the transformation in global
priority and then identifies some of interest in prodigality and with
markets – in trade, investment,
the critical issues that remain. no end in sight to the need for
corporate responsibility and
Globalisation means that changing ever-greater and wasteful
consumption patterns – that
consumption patterns is no longer consumption’ (Packard, 1960).
sustainable development requires.
the exclusive responsibility of the Coining the phrases ‘planned
He is co-author of a number of recent
affluent economies. Furthermore, obsolescence’ and the ‘throw-
IIED publications, including ‘Unlocking
the paper explores how the sustain- away society’, Packard pointed
Trade Opportunities’, ‘Consumption in
able consumption agenda has to the serious social, economic
a Sustainable World’, ‘Rethinking
moved beyond the 1980s green and environmental consequences
Paper Consumption’ and ‘Incentives for
consumer movement by taking a of an unchecked expansion in
Eco-Efficiency’. Before joining IIED in
more strategic and systematic consumption. At the time, few
1993, he worked at the European
approach to the underlying factors paid attention to his critique. But
Commission in the run-up to the Earth
influencing behaviour. Many of the now, forty years on, the need to
Summit and also contributed chapters
solutions to consumption problems make consumption patterns
on corporate strategy and clean
lie in collective choices, but sustainable has risen to the top
technology to the WBCSD’s
governments in post-modern, secu- of the global environment and
‘Changing Course’ publication.
lar societies have generally proved development agenda.
unwilling to stimulate wide public
The reasons for this turnaround
debate and action about new forms
are clear. The scale of global
of ‘quality of life’. The result is a
series of policies seeking to consumption has expanded
achieve ‘sustainability by stealth’. dramatically, growing as much
The paper closes with a set of as four-fold since 1960, reaching
priorities for improving global $24 trillion in 1998. But this
cooperation on sustainable runaway growth in spending has
consumption. put unprecedented burdens on



Airborne heavy metal
SOx (stationary sources)
Phosphate fertiliser use
Nitrogenous fertiliser use
Industrial energy use
CO2 from energy use
Total material flows
Public water supply
Transport energy use
Municipal waste
-6% -5% -4% -3% -2% -1% 0% 1% 2% 3%
Average annual percentage change, 1985–1995

Source: OECD, Eco-Efficiency, Paris, 1998

Figure 1. OECD trends in GDP and key eco-efficiency indicators, 1985–1995

the environment. As the 1992 The immensity of the changes tion, a growing proportion come
Earth Summit recognised, ‘the needed in consumption patterns from consumption. New types of
major cause of the continued is illustrated by the problem of action on the demand-side are
deterioration of the global climate change. By 2050, the required.
environment is the unsustainable world’s population could have
In fact, the long-term economic
pattern of consumption and grown to about 10 billion people.
shift from a smokestack to a
production, particularly in the Now, the atmosphere can absorb
service economy has meant that
industrialised countries, aggravat- about 10 billion tonnes of carbon
while pollution from production
ing poverty and imbalances’ dioxide (CO2) a year before
has generally fallen across the
(UNCED, 1992). Since Rio, this carrying capacity limits are
industrialised world, the envi-
policy conclusion has become breached. If distributed equally
ronmental burden from
translated into a much wider this would mean that each
consumption has grown
awareness that consumption person on the planet could
remorselessly (see Figure 1).
patterns will need to be trans- sustainably generate a tonne of
The switch from ‘production to
formed over the coming decades CO2 each year. But per capita
pleasure’ has meant, for exam-
in the post-industrial economies emissions of CO2 currently stand
ple, that the growth in mobility
of Europe, North America and at almost 20 tonnes a year in the
and household comfort since
East Asia if sustainability is to be USA, 10 tonnes in Britain and
1973 has raised energy use almost
achieved. Here, the goal set by four-fifths of a tonne in India
as much as improved design has
the Wuppertal Institute in (Carley and Spapens, 1998). The
brought efficiency gains
Germany for a ‘factor 10’ reduc- emission reduction targets
(Schipper, 1994). A new model
tion in the use of materials and agreed at the Kyoto Summit in
of the Ford Ka, for example,
generation of pollution by the 1997 provide at best a modest
produces only two per cent of
middle of the next century has platform for these much deeper
the NOx emissions of a 1976
become a useful indicator of the cuts in greenhouse gases. While
model of the Ford Fiesta (CSD,
scale of change required many of these emissions are
1999). But these qualitative
(Schmidt-Bleek, 1996). generated by industrial produc-
improvements at the micro-level



have been more than outpaced at

the macro-level by the volume
58% of total energy use, 84% of
paper use and 87% of vehicle
The task ahead,
growth in car use and ownership. ownership. At the other end of
This structural shift means that
the spectrum, the poorest fifth of according to
the world’s population – more
environmental policymakers are
now being forced to broaden
than one billion people – still Ashok Khosla,
lack food, shelter, housing, water
their gaze beyond technical solu-
tions to encompass the messy
and sanitation and access to elec- president of
tricity. Given these extremes,
and contentious social realm of
consumption – and in particular
today’s global pattern of
consumption remains structurally
to re-examine the links between
consumption and ‘quality of life’.
skewed in favour of ‘private
affluence and public squalor’, to
Alternatives in
As Juliet Schor has shown in the
use the phrase of Packard’s
USA, the contemporary ‘cycle of
work and spend’ can bring high
contemporary John Kenneth India, is ‘to
Galbraith (Galbraith, 1958). For
social costs, not least in terms of
rising consumer debt (Schor,
example, basic health care and ‘raise the floors,
nutrition for all would cost about
1998). Over 80% of Americans
believe that they ‘buy and
$13 billion a year, while more bring down the
than $17 billion is spent on pet
consume far more than [they]
need’ (Merck Family Fund, 1998).
food in Europe and the USA ceilings and
alone (UNDP, 1998). The task
Although there is evidence that a
growing number of Americans
ahead, according to Ashok
Khosla, president of
plug the leaks’:
(and some Europeans) are
‘downshifting’ to simpler and
Development Alternatives in
India, is ‘to ‘raise the floors,
in other words,
more sustainable lifestyles, many
bring down the ceilings and plug
others feel stuck on a treadmill
of pressures to conform to ever-
the leaks’: in other words, meet meet the needs
the needs of the poor, limit
rising consumption, largely due
to inflexible working practices
excessive consumption by the of the poor,
rich and ensure all consumption
(Ghazi and Jones, 1997). Global
expenditure on advertising now
respects environmental limits limit excessive
(Turaga, 1998).
amounts to $435 billion per
annum and is a powerful force Yet, globalisation is blurring the consumption
for continued consumption, traditional distinctions between
potentially neutralising the North and South. A global by the rich
parallel growth in environmental consumer class is emerging,
awareness among consumers. sharing common lifestyles and ensure all
despite being separated by great

Understanding global
distances – and generating simi-
lar environmental impacts
But not only are today’s domi-
(Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994). One
estimate suggests that by 1996,
the emerging middle class of
nant consumption patterns
unsustainable, they are also China, India, Venezuela, Brazil, environmental
inequitable. The world’s richest Argentina, South Korea, Taiwan,
countries make up only a fifth of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand limits.
global population, but account amounted to roughly 750
for 45% of all meat consumption, million, almost as many of the



880 million consumers in the appears to be faced with a concentrate simply on the
industrialised countries – not all consumption crunch: either both environmental dimension or
of whom are affluent (Brandsma, North and South move together should also tackle the distribu-
1996). Already the richest fifth of – recognising the primary tion of consumption. Indeed, it
Chileans and Malaysians enjoy responsibility of the affluent to often appears that those engaged
higher incomes than the average change – or the global prospect in the sustainable consumption
German or Japanese (Barnet and is bleak. agenda are not talking the same
Cavanagh, 1994). Indeed, East language (see Figure 2).
Asians are now ‘leaders of post-
modern consumerism’,
The trouble with
Talking the same language?
renowned for their extravagance consumption
in luxury goods and prompting The 1990s have witnessed a ‘The issue is not to stop
the establishment of a recent consumption but to re-
growing consensus that some-
National Campaign against distribute it in a fair way.’
thing must be done about
Business Executive, Colombia
Excessive Consumption in Korea consumption. But disagreement
(Gong, 1999). In China alone, the frequently starts when discus- ‘When we talk about
spread of car ownership could sions turn to questions of what sustainable consumption we
reach current levels in the UK by should be done, how much and are talking about usefulness
2020. This would mean 400 by whom. In an attempt to work per unit of value.’
million more cars, doubling through these global tensions Government Official, OECD
global iron ore use and massively towards a shared vision of the ‘Simply because we are a
increasing landscape destruction, way forward, the Norwegian developing country, simply
local pollution and greenhouse Ministry of the Environment because our resources are
gas emissions (Nordic Council of invited more than 50 participants valuable and our means are
Ministers, 1999). Despite the from more than 28 countries to limited, we have to take care
recent shock to living standards the ‘Consumption in a of resources and consume
in Asia, there is no reason to Sustainable World’ workshop at in a sustainable way.’
believe that the upward surge in Kabelvåg in June 1998 (Robins Independent Analyst, Egypt
consumption will not continue and Roberts, 1998a).
‘The only way that conflict
in emerging economies over the
One immediate lesson was that a (over) sustainable consump-
long-term. Meanwhile, the poor-
lack of conceptual clarity and tion between North and
est fifth of the world’s popula-
analytical rigour has often held South can be resolved is that
tion continues to be left out of the discussion should start
back agreement and action. It is
the global consumption, with the with alleviating poverty in the
often unclear whether sustain-
average African household South – otherwise people
able consumption refers to the
consuming 20% less than it did will find it hard to accept.’
use of natural resources – an
20 years ago. Environmentalist, Ghana
environmentalist’s interpretation
Faced with this, the former – or to the expenditure on goods ‘If we are to improve
premier of Norway, Gro Harlem and services, the definition used consumption, we feel good
Brundtland concluded that, ‘it is by economists. A second confu- about it, pay attention to it,
simply impossible for the world sion lies in the fuzzy boundaries do it well, have fun – in other
as a whole to sustain a Western of the consumption debate, words, celebrate consump-
level of consumption for all. In whether it focuses exclusively on tion’
fact, if 7 billion people were to the demand side of the economy Researcher, USA
consume as much energy and or addresses the life cycle Source: ‘Consumption in a
resources as we do in the West linkages of production and Sustainable World’, 1998
today we would need 10 worlds, distribution. Disagreement also
not one, to satisfy all our needs’ exists over the extent to which
Figure 2 : Sustainable consumption –
(Brundtland, 1994). The world sustainable consumption should
different perspectives



A systematic approach
Examples of change
Working through these uncer-
tainties, a broad understanding Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, India: a collective purchasing scheme for
16,000 households is providing good quality food at low cost and gener-
of sustainable consumption
ating environmental benefits.
emerged at the workshop.
Sustainable consumption has Green Purchasing Network, Japan: over 1000 companies, public
grown far beyond the ‘green authorities and citizen groups are introducing practical guidelines to
consumer’ movement of the promote the purchase of sustainable goods and services.
late 1980s and early 1990s. Then,
Pro-Local Supply, Austria: municipalities are stimulating local
the emphasis was on providing
production for local consumption, boosting ‘quality of life’ and reducing
eco-products for niche markets transport.
serving affluent consumers,
supported by modest policy Waste Collection Charge, Korea: a volume-based garbage fee is
initiatives such as eco-labelling. cutting waste generation and transforming the packaging industry.
Now, the focus is more system- Remanufactured Copiers, Xerox: taking back and reusing old copiers
atic, emphasising the need to: has reduced environmental impacts, waste and costs, and improved
· make goods and services serve customer service.
sustainable development:
Trans-Century Environmental Tour, China: a popular television
meeting basic needs, improving
programme is reaching a wide audience with features on good and bad
‘quality of life’, raising practice.
efficiency and regenerating the
environment Town Twinning, Belfort, France: a joint venture between Belfort in
France and Mohammedia in Morocco is raising public awareness,
· reform the underlying patterns
stimulating participation in local policy and promoting solidarity across
of demand, such as market
the Mediterranean.
forces, demographics, social
and cultural values, technology, Source: Consumption in a Sustainable World, 1998
regulation, infrastructure
· use the demand side to lever Figure 3: Sustainable consumption in practice
long-term social, economic
and environmental benefits in
improvements to product design meeting. The issue is now one
use and along the product
and marketing. The task is to of strategic design: re-wiring the
chain (‘rucksacks’)
create the conditions which consumption system.
· influence the purchase, use
improve the capacity to choose,
and disposal choices made by
use and dispose of goods and
corporations (supply chain)
services sustainably: in other
Sustainability by stealth?
and public authorities, not just
words, to bring alternatives in The importance of taking a
individual consumers
from the margins and institu- strategic look at the consump-
· identify innovative political, tionalise them so that there is a tion system as a whole has been
cultural and market approaches fusion of individual choice with highlighted in a recent report
to comprehending and chang- equity and sustainability require- from the Nordic Council which
ing complex patterns. ments. The Kabelvåg meeting assessed the feasibility of achiev-
showed that there is no shortage ing a ‘factor 4’ and ‘factor 10’
Sustainable consumption is thus
of inspiring examples of change improvements in materials use
best seen as a strategic perspec-
in policy, corporations and and pollution by 2030 and 2050
tive. It seeks to tackle the
citizen action in favour of respectively. Ernst von
‘hidden wiring’ of demand
sustainable consumption: Weiszaecker and Amory Lovins’
which ultimately determines the
Figure 3 contains a range of bestselling book, ‘Factor Four:
success or failure of micro-level
examples presented at the Doubling Wealth, Halving



Resource Use’ contained a host tion clusters, such as food,

Despite the of practical examples of techni- energy, water and transport.
cal innovation delivering far- Yet, in secular, post-industrial
growth in reaching environmental and societies, most governments
service improvements (von have so far been reluctant to
national Weizsäcker and Lovins, 1998). show leadership and stimulate
But the systemic barriers to their public debate on the ‘wider
strategies, diffusion remain daunting, vision of welfare in which the
according to the Nordic satisfaction of needs, rather
plans and Council’s report. The study consumption per se, is the aim’
assessed four case studies: trans- (OECD, 1997). Indeed, despite
policies port in Denmark; forest products
in Finland; real estate in Norway;
the growth in national strategies,
plans and policies statements,

statements… and food in Sweden. In the case

of transport, the report
there remains an overriding
impression that governments are

governments concludes that ‘it does not seem

possible to reach factor 4 and 10
seeking to achieve sustainability
by stealth, introducing modest
targets without substantial policy changes, but not commu-
are seeking changes to and reductions of the nicating the need for more struc-
service offered to motorists by tural change or confronting
to achieve the present modes of transport’. vested interests. In Korea, for
In fact, progress will require example, a recent initiative to
sustainability ‘substantial changes in values in tax cars according to engine size
preferences related to the envi- to encourage more fuel efficient
by stealth, ronment; the service and mobil- vehicles was removed after
ity expected from the transport pressure from US car producers
introducing system; and the way production, keen to sustain exports of their
consumption and daily life is luxury cars.
modest policy organised’ (Nordic Council of
Ministers, 1999). The report high-
To fill the vacuum often left by
inadequate government action
changes, but lights that there is still a funda-
mental gap to be filled between
are a growing number of initia-
tives that extend the responsibil-
not communi- technical improvements at the
micro-level in terms of new
ity of business for consumption.
The Forest Stewardship Council
goods and services that can
cating the need generate ‘factor 4’ and ‘factor 10’
(FSC) is a notable example,
where the failure of govern-
improvements in efficiency, and
for more changes at the macro-level in the
ments to adopt an effective
international agreement to curb
overall consumption system.
structural Many of the solutions to unsus-
deforestation led to the intro-
duction of a market-based
tainable consumption thus lie in certification system. In the UK,
change or collective choices. Governments around 100 companies account-
have the primary responsibility ing for about 15% of the UK
confronting for putting in place the frame- market for timber products have
work that shapes consumption committed to source only FSC
vested choices and have a profound certified timber in the future. UK
steering role through utility supermarkets have also been a
interests. regulation and public expendi- primary driving force for the
ture in many critical consump- introduction of integrated crop



management techniques for food has outlined a seven point agenda Sustainable Development
production and more recently for for action (UNDP, 1998). (UNCSD) reviewed international
withdrawing genetically-modified progress on the issue, highlight-
foods (GMF) from sale. Similarly, A seven point agenda ing globalisation and urbanisation
development campaigns have for action as two crucial trends for future
prompted many companies to work.
adopt social codes of conduct to · Ensure minimum
consumption requirements What separates today’s efforts to
ensure decent labour standards in
for all achieve sustainable consumption
their developing country subcon-
from Vance Packard’s proposals
tractors. But while these volun- · Develop eco-efficient
for reform in the 1960s is not
tary initiatives can often move goods and services
necessarily any change in the
further faster than government · Remove perverse
content of what’s required: in
action they are by no means a subsidies and restructure
fact, there is an eerie sense of
substitute for formal frameworks. incentives
deja vu reading Packard’s five
In many ways, they demonstrate · Strengthen public action points for more ‘enlightened
what is possible and prefigure for consumer protection consumption’ (see Figure 5). But
new types of policy. · Strengthen international what has changed dramatically
For government positions to mechanisms to manage is the arena for action.
change, sustainable consumption consumption’s global Globalisation and the growing
will need to become popular and impacts integration of consumption
politically attractive. This will · Build strong alliances patterns worldwide poses an
mean going beyond the moralis- between consumer, unprecedented collective
tic approach that has dominated poverty and environment dilemma. As the American
many efforts to date. This can movements writer William Greider has put
appear threatening, implying · Foster synergies between it: ‘if industrial growth proceeds
‘giving up’ for the affluent and civil society, the private according to its accepted
‘losing out’ for the poor. Instead, sector and government. patterns, everyone is imperiled.
an emphasis on improving Yet, if industralisation is not
‘quality of life’ for all could allowed to proceed, a majority
Figure 4: UNDP’s checklist for
prove more successful, stressing of the world’s citizens are
sustainable consumption
the value that individuals and consigned to a permanent
institutions can achieve through Alongside this, the United second-class status, deprived
changes in consumption behav- Nations Environment Programme of the industrial artefacts that
iour. Sustainable consumption (UNEP) has established a new enhance life’s comfort, the
has to add up to a lifestyle that sustainable consumption tools that multiply human
people both want and is within programme, one of whose first choices. The world has entered
their reach – ‘low-impact actions was to work with the new ground, a place where
affluence’ in the words of advertising industry to develop a people have never been before.
Germany’s Wuppertal Institute wider sense of corporate respon- We will have no choice but to
(Sachs, Loske and Linz, 1998). sibility. An Oxford Commission think anew’ (Greider, 1997).
on Sustainable Consumption has Globalisation does not mean that
been also been launched in early local and national action are no
Achieving the global shift
1999, bringing together interna- longer necessary or important,
After a decade of dialogue and tional experts to tackle the but it requires five step changes
dispute, sustainable consumption social, cultural, ethical and insti- in the ways we approach
has now arrived as a global policy tutional changes that will be consumption (Robins and
priority. The United Nations needed. The 1999 session of the Roberts, 1998b).
Development Programme (UNDP) United Nations Commission on



· Extending responsibility in 1997). sure of sustainable living’

the North: In the global econ- · Leapfrogging in the South: (Carley and Spapens, 1998). For
omy, consumers and producers In many ways, the South has TERI in India, market signals
will have to take a far broader not yet invested in the physical can certainly drive home the
sense of their responsibility for infrastructure, technological environmental implications of
increasingly distant impacts. capital, lifestyles and regula- consumption. But these need
Upstream, there is already tions that drive unsustainable to be reinforced through ‘an
mounting pressure to improve consumption in the North. In assertion of traditional Indian
standards along the supply India, the Tata Energy Research values. Blind aping of the West
chain and downstream, Institute (TERI) has recently will lead us to disaster, envi-
business is increasingly assessed the country’s environ- ronmentally, economically and
required to take a life cycle mental performance in the fifty socially’. The question is how
responsibility for the emissions years since independence and developing countries can
and wastes that their products projected future trends. One of develop hybrid cultures of
cause. But at a more strategic their key conclusions is that ‘it consumption that combine
level, the post-industrial is vital that we are not locked eco-efficient technologies with
economies of the North will onto paths that lead to a sub- traditional ethical approaches
need to accept responsibility optimal dependence on a to nature and society. For the
not just for the direct environ- particular technology’, such as North, where traditional values
mental impacts of their the automobile (TERI, 1998). of frugality and caring for
consumption patterns, but also The issue for developing nature have been more thor-
for the demonstration effect countries is therefore to take oughly replaced by the current
these have on aspirations in preventive action, ‘leap- consumer culture, the task of
emerging economies. For Hans- frogging’ over conventional reinvention is that much
Peter Martin and Harald consumption patterns. But ‘to greater. One possible route is
Schumann, there is ‘no doubt leapfrog you need legs’ and to encourage more links
about it: if humanity had to many of the developing coun- between the generations. For
vote today on a choice of tries lack the capacity in terms example, in the community of
lifestyle, it would know what of institutions and expertise to Steigen in the north of
to do. Uniform pictures on a analyse the situation, assess Norway, the Local Agenda 21
billion television screens their needs and implement has helped to regenerate tradi-
nurture the same longings on strategies to change course tional knowledge about local
the Amur, Yangtse, Amazon, (Wijkman, 1999). New forms of food and materials by establish-
Ganges and Nile’ (Martin and international cooperation are ing a Generation Cafe, where
Schumann, 1998). Achieving clearly required to help fill older people can share their
this will require a considerable these gaps. skills with others.
imaginative leap for consumers, · Generating new cultures of · Building confidence and
business and policy makers. A consumption: Linked closely trust: Running through the
first step would be to focus on to the leapfrogging imperative global policy dialogue on
the sustainability of the goods for the South is the importance sustainable consumption is a
and services marketed by of re-evaluating the role of sense of deep distrust by the
multinational corporations in traditional lifestyles and values South of the North. Sustainable
emerging economies, who, in the face of mounting consumption is seen as a way
according to the Third World consumption. For Josefa of denying developing coun-
Network, are ‘responsible for Bautista, Vice President of the tries the fruits of development
most of the world’s resource Development Academy of the and also posing new green
extraction, pollution and Philippines, the critical issue is protectionist trade barriers
generation of consumer ‘to look back to our ancestors’ against their exports. The
culture’ (Third World Network, culture and reinculcate its trea- industrialised world is also seen



to have reneged on the Rio now accepted. While many also being questioned, and glob-
bargain in terms of increasing problems remain, ‘sustainable alisation is both highlighting the
the volume of financial assis- consumption is only as difficult inequalities in consumption
tance to support the transition as we make it’, according to one across the world and resulting in
to sustainable development in of the participants at the high-consuming sectors within
the South. Given the increas- Kabelvåg meeting, adding ‘there many emerging markets.
ingly global nature of the are many things which could be
The sustainable consumption
consumption crisis, practical put into action now – let’s do
agenda has moved on from the
mechanisms are needed that it!’
green consumerism of the 1990s,
help to build up trust between
and seeks to tackle the ‘hidden
governments, business and civil Developing enlightened wiring’ of demand which ulti-
society internationally. IIED is consumption patterns mately determines the success or
currently engaged in dialogue
· Restoring pride in failure of micro-level improve-
with a number of governments
prudence, tackling built-in ments to product and service
and research institutes to
obsolescence design. Many of the solutions to
launch a new Global
· Restoring pride in quality, unsustainable consumption lie in
Sustainable Consumption
ensuring better product collective choices, and the chal-
Partnership. The aim of the
labelling lenge for governments is now to
Partnership would be to bring
develop new conversations with
together a number of countries · Respecting the eternal
society to jointly resolve the
North and South who would balance, protecting the
environment embedded nature of the prob-
engage in the first coordinated
lems. To date, however, most
assessment of current · Facing the unmet
governments have sought to
consumption patterns and also challenges, targetting
achieve ‘sustainability by stealth’,
carry out a visioning exercise social needs
introducing modest policy
to lay down national scenarios · Achieving an enduring
changes that do not question
for sustainable consumption. style of life, balancing
prevailing lifestyles and
The country teams would then consumption with values.
consumption expectations. New
to engage in a thorough Source: The Waste Makers, 1960 forms of policy dialogue are
process of exchange and peer
required to link the flourishing
review, particularly enabling
growth in corporate and commu-
country teams from developing
Figure 5: Priorities for sustainable nity initiatives with the neces-
countries to evaluate the expe-
consumption – déjà vu sary policy reform at the
rience in the North. The
national level to achieve critical
Partnership will enable coun-
tries to root the global debate Conclusion
in national realities and to Transforming consumption is
This paper has attempted to
better communicate the now a global concern and the
show why the transformation of
complexities and dilemmas paper closes with four priorities
consumption has to be at the
into international policy nego- for building greater cooperation
heart of any strategy for sustain-
tiations, notably the Rio+10 internationally. The affluent
able development. The environ-
summit scheduled for 2002. industrialised countries need to
mental burden from consump-
take an extended sense of
tion is growing and eco-
Much has been achieved in the responsibility for their consump-
efficiency improvements at the
global debate on sustainable tion patterns, not just the direct
product level are proving
consumption over the past impacts, but also the aspirations
insufficient to cope with volume
decade. The need to change and models they generate else-
growth at the macro-economic
consumption – a highly where. The South too has an
level. The role of consumption
contentious political issue – is opportunity to take preventive
in delivering ‘quality of life’ is



action and ‘leapfrog’ over to be re-evaluated, perhaps in Finally, at the political level,
conventional consumption the South by drawing on tradi- confidence and trust needs to be
patterns. Together, the dominant tional values and in the North by built up through programmes of
culture of consumption will need a more thorough reinvention. joint analysis and learning. •


Packard, V., The Waste Makers, Quoted in Turaga, J., A Ringside Seat Nordic Council of Ministers, ibid.
Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1960 at the Conference in Development
Organisation for Economic
Alternatives Newsletter, New Delhi,
UNCED, Agenda 21, Rio de Janeiro, Cooperation and Development
May 1998.
UN, 1992. (OECD), Sustainable Consumption
Barnet, R. and Cavanagh, J., Global and Production, OECD, Paris, 1997.
Schmidt-Bleek, F., Factor 10, speech
Dreams, Simon & Schuster, New
to Fourth High Level Seminar on Sachs, W., Loske R., and Linz, M.,
York, 1994.
Cleaner Production, Oxford, 1996 Greening the North, Zed Books,
Brandsma, E., Consumption London, 1998.
Carley, M and Spapens, P., Sharing
Patterns: More or Less Sustainable?
the Future, Earthscan, 1998 UNDP, ibid
Presentation at Brasilia Workshop,
Schipper, L., Energy Use and Human December 1996. Greider, W., One World Ready or
Activity: what’s wrong and what can Not, Simon and Schuster, New York,
Barnet, R. and Cavanagh, J., ibid
be done, in Symposium: Sustainable 1997.
Consumption, Ministry of Gong, Y., Anomaly of Consumption:
Robins, N. and Roberts, S.,
Environment-Norway, 1994. Asian’s Extravagance in Luxury
Upshifting? Sustainable Consumption
Goods, in Sang-Whan Lho et al,
Commission on Sustainable and the South, IIED, London, 1998.
Sustainable Consumption Patterns,
Development (CSD), Comprehensive
Korea Environment Institute, Seoul, Martin, H-P., and Schumann, H.,
Review of Changing Consumption
1999. The Global Trap, Zed Books, London,
and Production Patterns: Report of
the Secretary-General, UN-DESA, Nordic Council of Ministers, Factor
New York, 1999. 4 and 10 in the Nordic Countries, Third World Network, The Need to
Copenhagen, 1999. Channel Globalisation Towards
Schor, J., The Overspent American,
Sustainable Development, Penang,
Basic Books, New York, 1998. Brundtland, G.H., The challenge
Malaysia, 1997.
of sustainable production and
Merck Family Fund, Yearning for
consumption patterns at Symposium: Tata Energy Research Institute
Balance, Tacoma, 1996
Sustainable consumption, Oslo, (TERI), Looking Back to Think Ahead,
Ghazi, P. and Jones, J., January 1994. New Delhi, 1998.
Downshifting, Coronet, London, 1997
Robins, N. and Roberts, S., Wijkman, A., The good life does
Galbraith, J.K., The Affluent Society, Consumption in a Sustainable World, not equal wasteful lifestyles, in
Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1958 IIED, London, 1998a. Available on San-Whan Lho et al, 1999.
United Nations Development Quoted in Carley M. and Spapens,
Programme (UNDP), Human von Weizsäcker, E. and Lovins, A., P., ibid
Development Report 1998, UNDP, Factor Four, Earthscan, London, 1998
New York, 1998.



Integrated Product Policy

(IPP) and eco-product
development (EPD)
Martin Charter has held strategic
planning, product development and
marketing positions for Save & Prosper, Professor Martin Charter and Inga Belmane|
Reed Exhibition Companies, the Creative
Co-ordinator and Researcher, The Centre for Sustainable
Marketing Group, Greenleaf Publishing
and The Earth Centre. He has over a Design, UK
decade of experience in ‘business and
environment’ including publishing, The paper explores the current Introduction
consulting, training and research. He has debate over Integrated Product
ntegrated Product Policy (IPP)
an MBA from Aston University Business
School and a postgraduate diploma in
Policy (IPP) and its relationship to
eco-product development (EPD).
I is a government policy tool-
box aimed at greening markets
marketing. His publications include IPP is a policy initiative of the EC’s
‘Greener Marketing’ (Greenleaf that incorporates tools to green
Environmental Directorate (DGXI)
Publishing, 1992), ‘Greener Marketing 2’ consumption (demand-side) and
that aims to address environmental
(Greenleaf Publishing, 1999), ‘The Green tools to green product develop-
impacts of products, taking into
Management Gurus’ (Epsilon, 1996), ment (supply-side). It is a part
account the life cycle perspective.
‘Managing eco-design: a training of a growing trend within
The paper gives a brief overview of
solution’ (The Centre for Sustainable certain environmentally
the IPP, presenting EC develop-
Design, UK, 1997) and ‘Environmental advanced countries in Northern
Management Websites’ (Epsilon, 1996). ments, and an example of a
Europe towards environmental
He is currently the Associate Editor of national Environmental Product
policies aimed at products and it
‘The Journal of Corporate Environmental Policy (EPP) approach from
represents a new shift in think-
Strategy’ (Elsevier, UK) and an editorial Denmark. The authors propose a
ing towards ‘front of pipe’ eg.
board member of Greener Management simplified perspective which
product development and
International (Greenleaf Publishing). suggests that IPP is a strategy to
design. Generally, existing
He is a former editor of ‘The Green green the marketplace through the
approaches have focused on
Management Letter’ (Euromanagement, integrated implementation of
processes (‘end of pipe’ tech-
the Netherlands). His training and policy tools to green consumption
nologies and ‘middle of pipe’,
research interests include eco- and (demand) and product development
eg. waste minimisation, cleaner
sustainable product innovation (supply). The co-ordination of tools
and business creativity. production, and pollution
on supply and demand side is
prevention). IPP is a policy
Inga Belmane is a researcher at The necessary in order to achieve
concept that takes a lifecycle
Centre for Sustainable Design, UK, optimal results. This co-ordinated
perspective (‘cradle to grave’),
currently working on Integrated Product approach has not yet happened.
includes all relevant stakeholder
Policy (IPP) and eco-product development The second part of paper focuses
viewpoints and considers the
project at the Centre. She has a BSc in on the concept of eco-product
product development process
Business Administration and has worked development (EPD) and how it
from idea generation to product
for both government and private relates to IPP developments,
management and reverse logis-
business in Latvia. She holds an MSc in particularly in the electronics
tics (ie. ‘end of life’ manage-
Environmental Management and Policy sector. There is also discussion
ment (EOLM)). However, in
from the International Institute for over the relationship between IPP
reality the holistic model of IPP
Industrial Environmental Economics at and supply chain management,
Lund University, Sweden. is yet to be implemented at EC
communications, EMS
or national level.
(Environmental Management
Systems) and innovation.



Background the Science Policy Research Unit Research Unit (SPRU) and Ernst
(SPRU), which was published in and Young, a major workshop
To achieve a real impact on
March 1998. on IPP was held by EC DGXI in
reducing product-related
Brussels in December 1999,
environmental impacts eg. However, the debate over IPP is
which resulted in a second
reducing waste and emissions still immature and in its early
report containing abstracts of
throughout the life cycle, then stages. As a part of the present
presentations and conclusions
environmental considerations IPP consultation process – initi-
from 12 working groups.
should be built into product ated by DGXI – an additional
Following this, in May 1999
development at the earliest study was commissioned to
Informal Meeting of
opportunity and customers determine different approaches
Environmental Ministers was
(domestic, ‘business to business’, to EPP amongst national govern-
held at Weimar, Germany where
distributors, public sector) ments in Europe (Rubik, 1999).
IPP was a central area of discus-
should be steered towards the The response rate was very low,
sion. The background paper
greener option(s). which reinforces the notion that
prepared by Federal Ministry
both EPP and IPP are in their
It is important to make a clear for the Environment, Nature
early stage of development
distinction between IPP Conservation and Nuclear Safety
across the member states.
(Integrated Product Policy) and (Germany) proposed another
EPP (Environmental Product Several countries are leading definition (Federal Ministry for
Policy). IPP is an EC initiative the EPP process, these include the Environment, Nature
and is aimed at common envi- the Netherlands, Denmark and Conservation and Nuclear Safety,
ronmental product policy formu- Sweden followed by Germany Bonn, 1999):
lation at EC level. EPP is a more and Austria. EPP is also starting
Public policy which aims at or
specific term, which means envi- to emerge in countries such as
is suitable for continuous improve-
ronmental product policies at a Belgium, United Kingdom and
ment in the environmental perfor-
national level inside and outside Finland. Countries such as
mance of products and services
Europe. France, Spain, Portugal and
within a life-cycle context.
Ireland seem to be lagging
Environmental Product Policies
behind. On the supply side the The new elements in this
(EPP) have been applied in coun-
Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden definition include:
tries such as the Netherlands,
and Austria have established
Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and · services have now been
projects and programmes cover-
Germany for some time. This added
ing eco-product development.
means that various approaches · the life cycle perspective has
and instruments have been been introduced
implemented in different coun- Integrated Product Policy · the principle of continuous
tries, and this has resulted in a (IPP) improvement has been
fragmented picture throughout incorporated.
Europe. One of the reasons for Definitions
introducing a common EC IPP was first defined by Science The major change seems to be
approach to environmental Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and inclusion of services. Initially,
product policy (eg. IPP) is the Ernst and Young (SPRU and Ernst Ernst and Young and SPRU
necessity of harmonising these and Young, 1998), in March 1998, report had focused on physical
natural approaches. Therefore, as: products rather than services.
the concept of Integrated Public policy which explicitly However, the results of the IPP
Product Policy (IPP) was intro- aims to modify and improve the workshop in December 1998 and
duced by DGXI as a blueprint for environmental performance of Weimar meeting in May 1999,
EPP harmonisation in Europe product systems. identified the need to consider
based on issues highlighted in a services as well, although a
As a part of the to follow-up to
report by Ernst and Young and longer timeframe will be
the report by Science Policy



required to formulate IPP strate- Although it is not clear how IPP Components
gies for services. The inclusion will evolve in future, it is clear The main report by SPRU and
of intangible products is a that there is more attention Ernst and Young highlighted five
significant increase in the scope being paid to products in envi- key components
of IPP, as more research will be ronmental policy. Therefore it (or building blocks):
needed since there are big seems reasonable to speculate · managing wastes (eg.
knowledge gaps regarding the that EPP measures might emerge take-back obligations)
service sector and its environ- more intensively not only in the
· green product innovation
mental impacts (James, 1999). leading green countries but also
(eg. stimulating R&D,
However, the potential danger is in those currently lagging behind
that the scope of IPP may (eg. France, Spain, Portugal,
· creating markets (eg. public
become unmanageable due to Ireland, Greece). International
high level complexity of the activities, such as OECD (eg.
· transmitting environmental
issue. The inclusion of lifecycle Green Goods conferences, work
information (eg. eco-labelling,
thinking and continuous on public procurement and
product declarations)
improvement highlights the ‘producer responsibility’) and
importance of the relationship activities within ISO (eg. work · allocating responsibility (eg.
of IPP with quality and environ- on environmental labelling, life producer responsibility).
mental management systems cycle assessments) also highlight
The Weimar background paper
(EMS). the international context of EPP.
(Federal Ministry for the
At national level, different EPP
Key milestones Environment, Nature
activities have developed in
The key milestones in the Conservation and Nuclear Safety,
various countries, such as the
development of Environmental 1999) added two more compo-
publication of consultation
Product Policy (EPP) and IPP are nents to the IPP building blocks:
papers (eg. UK, Denmark)
highlighted in Figure 1. · sustainable consumption
and the adoption of national
Environmental product policies environmental product policy · chemicals management.
are receiving more attention programmes and/or legislation
In the authors’ opinion the addi-
from policy makers both inter- (eg. Denmark, Belgium).
tion of these new components
nationally and nationally. Recent
The next major step in the devel- adds to the confusion of what
major developments at EC level
opment of IPP will be a Green still remains an emerging topic.
included the research and publi-
Paper, which is being prepared For instance, sustainable
cation on ‘Product Policy in
by DGXI and will be published consumption is one of the
Europe: New Environmental
in the third or fourth quarter of overarching concepts behind
Perspectives’ by Oosterhuis et al.
1999. Until then, it appears no IPP rather than just being one
(Germany) and ‘Instituut voor
major decisions are going to be element of IPP. However, it was
Milieuvraagstukken’ (the
undertaken by DGXI. In addi- significant that consumption
Netherlands) with support of
tion, there appears to be a ‘wait issues were stressed in the report
DGXII in 1996, research and
and see’ attitude amongst the since relatively little research has
publication on IPP (SPRU and
majority of stakeholders, particu- been completed into the green-
Ernst and Young, 1999) and
larly business, as they wait for ing of consumption compared to
the following workshop in
the publication of the Green the greening of the products.
December 1998. Also, the
Paper before any significant deci-
Informal meeting of Environ- These components indicate that
sions are made or any action is
mental Ministers at Weimar the idea of IPP is not new per se
taken. Business appears to see
(May 1999) gave IPP the political – as several instruments, such as
IPP as a bit of a fuzzy concept
‘go ahead’ (Informal Meeting of ‘producer responsibility’, eco-
and needs to see a more
EU Environmental Ministers, labelling, product ‘take back’
concrete model.
1999). and eco-design has been imple-



The chronology of IPP developments

1987: The Bruntdland report ‘Our common future’ 1996: The Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry
was published, introducing sustainability as a published a discussion paper on ‘Production,
principle of environmental policy. Products and Consumption Patterns in Sustainable
1987: Creation of the French prize ‘Ecoproduit’
[Eco-product], rewarding environmentally more 1997: Foundation of a Nordic IPP group (consisting
benign products of representatives from Denmark, Finland, Norway,
Sweden and Iceland); an agreement on a Nordic IPP
1992: The 5th European Environmental Action
document is anticipated at the beginning of 2000.
Programme (EAP) was published. Although it does
not explicitely mention product-oriented environmen- 1997: ‘Common position’ of the Council of the EU
tal policy, numerous references are made to ‘Towards Sustainability’ listing diverse product-
instruments and measures which are considered related issues and supporting sustainable production
to be IPP measures. and consumption patterns.
1992: Rio de Janeiro, Agenda 21 stresses the 1997: Adoption by the Belgian federal State of the
importance of a change in production and Law for the ‘Co-ordination of the Federal Policy on
consumption patterns. sustainable development’. A first attempt to manage
classical policy approaches (from process to product)
1993: Foundation of ISO TC 207 ‘Environmental
in an integrated way.
Management’ with sub-comittees on Environmental
Management Systems, Life Cycle Assessment, 1996–98: SPRU and Ernst and Young study on IPP,
Environmental Labelling. with the major report published in March 1998
1993: Foundation of the Swedish ‘Eco-cycle’ 1996: Publication of a discussion paper ‘An intensified
Comission, which delivered its final report ‘A Strategy product-oriented environmental initative’ by the
for Sustainable Materials and Products’ in 1997. Danish Environmental Protection Agency. In 1997, the
report ‘A product oriented environmental initative’
1993, 30 Sept – 1 Oct: First international conference
was published.
on ‘Green Goods’ in the Hague, The Netherlands. This
workshop was the start of a tradition of conferences 1998: The UK Department for the Environment,
in the product policy field. Since 1993, five ‘Green Transport and Regions (DETR) published a consulta-
Goods’ conferences have taken place. tion paper ‘Consumer products and the environment’.
1994: Publication of the ‘Policy document on 1998: adoption by the Belgian Federal State of the
Products and the Environment’ by the Dutch Ministry new Law on ‘Product Standards aiming at the
of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment promotion of sustainable production and consumption
(VROM). patterns to protect health and environment’.
1992–95: Conceptual report ‘Product Policy in Europe. 1998, 8 December: IPP workshop, Brussels, Belgium
New Environmental Perspectives’ by Oosterhuis et al. with approximately 180 participants.
(Germany) and ‘Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken’
1999, 7–9 May: Informal Meeting of Environmental
with support of DGXII within the ‘Environment and
Ministers, Weimar, Germany.
Climate’ programme.
1999 August: Publication of the results of the
1995: The OECD’s Pollution Prevention and Control
consultation process on ‘Consumer products and
Group started its activities in the field of IPP, its
the environment’ in the UK.
important output includes the ‘Preliminary results
of (Sustainable) Product Policy Survey’.

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, 1999

Figure 1: The chronology of IPP



consumption and supply-side

Products (supply) side Consumption (demand) side measures.

Eco-product development Consumer information The IPP debate focuses on the

(eg. eco-labelling) concept of ‘shared responsibility’
(as opposed to ‘producer respon-
‘Producer responsibility’ Indirect taxation
sibility’), where different tasks
Grants/subsidies for EPD Green(er) purchasing are shared by different stake-
Environmental management Subsidies holders along the product’s life
systems (EMS) cycle. Industry is more in favour
of a ‘shared responsibility’
Eco-design competitions/awards
approach rather than passing all
the responsibility to the
Figure 2: IPP supply and demand-side tools producer.

Environmental Product Policy

mented for some time. However, at greening of consumption (EPP): Denmark’s approach
what is new is the idea of a strategic (demand side) and greening of
The Danish EPP programme illus-
and integrated approach. product development (supply
trates how EPP can be tackled at
side). It has been realised in
IPP toolbox a national level and provides
stakeholder discussions (Ernst
Until now vertical tools have lessons for IPP at an EC level.
and Young and SPRU, 1998; EC
been applied within national and Denmark is a good example as it
DGXI, 1998; CfSD, 1999b) that
regional EPP approaches usually represents one of the leading
there will not be a ‘one fits all’
in a specific and uncoordinated countries in the implementation
solution and a mix of
manner – this appears to have of national approaches to EPP.
instruments should be used on
produced sub-optimal results. A range of publications has been
a ‘case by case’ basis dependent
A good example is eco-labels. produced on EPP in Denmark. In
on different variables, such as
In certain geographical (eg. 1996, the Danish EPA published a
environmental objectives, prod-
Scandinavia, Germany) and prod- discussion paper ‘An intensified
uct categories, stakeholders’
uct markets (eg. white goods, product-oriented environmental
interests and the economic
washing detergents) eco-labels initiative’ which was circulated
context. Only a combination of
seem to had some influence on for comments amongst a range of
direct regulation, incentives (eg.
the greening of consumption and stakeholders. In 1997, the report
economic) and informational
on consumer education. But in ‘A product oriented environmen-
elements is capable of coping
other European countries and tal initiative’ was published
with the environmental prob-
other markets the results are which outlined the position of
lems (Oosterhuis et al., 1996). For
more questionable. Eco-labelling EPP in Denmark and presented
example, without education and
schemes do not appear to have an action plan for the period
information campaigns to raise
succeeded in countries such as 1998–2002.
customer awareness, eco-
UK, France and Belgium often
labelling schemes are unlikely to The objectives of Denmark’s EPP
due to lack of customer aware-
function efficiently. approach are:
ness and education. Also, the
diversity of eco-labelling The IPP toolbox aims at · to intensify the development
schemes in the marketplace incorporating both supply (eg. and marketing of cleaner
often causes confusion for eco-product development, envi- products, so as to reduce the
customers. ronmental management systems total environmental impact
(EMS)) and demand (greener from production, use and
The current proposed IPP disposal of products
purchasing, eco-labels, customer
toolbox (see Note 1) is a mix of
education) side measures. Figure · to consolidate the competi-
different policy measures, aimed
2 gives an example of different tiveness of Danish trade and to



focus industry on a future to improve decision-making, Environmental manuals

market, which increasingly whilst at the same time encour- Manuals are intended to
incorporates environmental aging suppliers to develop envi- provide information for final
considerations and calls for ronmentally sounder products. users about how to use,
cleaner products (Danish EPA, These guidelines have been maintain and dispose of prod-
1997). The evaluation of widely distributed to public ucts. The Danish EPA is exam-
Denmark’s environmental sector purchasing managers. ining the need for environmen-
policy by OECD indicates that There will be around 50 tal manuals amongst different
the relatively stringent Danish guidelines published in the year groups and whether there
environmental policy does not 2000 which will mainly should be mandatory environ-
pose barriers for economic describe issues to be consid- mental manuals required for
competitiveness and economic ered when purchasing products specific product groups, eg.
growth and is actually consid- with significant environmental washing machines (Danish EPA,
ered to be an important sales impacts, eg. office equipment, 1997)
argument for Danish industry office furniture, cleaning
· Green taxes
(Danish Environment, 1999). agents, paint, lighting, transport
There are several environmen-
equipment, kitchen hardware
Denmark’s main work areas tal taxes and charges in
and equipment, and organic
have included: Denmark, mainly connected
food products. Information
· Accumulation of know- with certain raw materials (eg.
about undesirable substances is
how, methodology and sand, gravel, clay), certain
also included (Danish EPA,
competence products and waste types, (eg.
The ‘Environmental Design of batteries, cars, leaded petrol,
Industrial Products’ (EDIP) disposable tableware, light
There are two eco-labelling
project, initiated by Danish bulbs, chlorofluorocarbons
schemes in Denmark – ‘Nordic
government has had a budget (CFCs), halons and pesticides).
Swan’ (also operating in
around 40–50 million Dkr. The Proposed green taxes and
Denmark, Norway, Finland and
major outcome of the project is charges in other countries have
Iceland) and the EC eco-label
a detailed environmental not succeeded due to practical
(‘Flower’). The Nordic Swan
assessment tool for products, implementation problems and
has worked successfully in the
including supportive databases high administrative costs
Danish market, however, the
and software that can be used (Oosterhuis et al., 1996). The
EC eco-labelling has not been a
for product design. Danish action plan (Danish
success. There is also a special
EPA, 1997) created an inter-
· Information tools eco-label for foodstuffs (Danish
ministerial committee to evalu-
The Danish EPA is working on EPA, 1997).
ate existing green taxes with
an overall information strategy. Environmental product declarations the results feeding into the
The Consumer Council and The Product declarations aim to development of new taxes and
National Consumer Agency of provide information about the charges as part of EPP.
Denmark are also exploring the most significant environmental
inclusion of environmental impact of a product during its · Green public procurement
considerations into product life cycle, but do not necessar- Since 1994, activities related to
comparisons and information ily provide information about greener public procurement
on the environmental impact the environmentally ‘best’ or have been incorporated within
of different products. These ‘poorest’ products on the an ‘Action Plan for Sustainable
information tools include: marketplace. However, it is not Public Procurement Policy’. In
Environmental guidelines clear how these declarations 1995, the Danish Government
These are designed to be an will be used in the Danish sent a circular to all state-
information tool for purchasing environmental information owned and controlled institu-
professionals and are intended strategy (Danish EPA, 1997). tions and companies stating



that government purchasing their thinking as an input for IPP for different stakeholders:
must include environmental discussion. national governments, industry,
considerations alongside price consumers, retailers and envi-
The Centre for Sustainable
and quality factors. The prelim- ronmental non-governmental
Design (CfSD) has evolved a
inary results show that the organisations (NGOs)?
much simpler perspective on IPP
circular has been positively
in comparison with current EC
accepted amongst the govern- The question as to ‘what is IPP’
DGXI approach:
mental institutions and has is still being asked amongst
Public policy aiming at greening the stakeholder groups and a clearer
resulted in a change in purchas-
marketplace through integrated use vision and practical interpreta-
ing behaviour.
of supply and demand side tools. tion of IPP needs to be formu-
· Establishment of product lated (CfSDb, 1999; DETR, 1999).
area panels In this context, the key
The Danish EPA has established components are:
product area panels where · green(er) consumption tools IPP and eco-product
stakeholders within one prod- · green(er) product development development
uct group are brought together tools (with life cycle considera- It is recognised in the literature
to establish a dialogue and tions and stakeholder involve- and research that the environ-
strengthen co-operation in ment being key principles). mental considerations should be
order to facilitate the develop-
taken into account in product
ment and marketing of cleaner IPP is a policy initiative that
development process if a
products. The first three pilot includes both the supply and
significant environmental
product groups are: demand side of the equation.
improvement in products are to
· electronics Governments or policy makers
be achieved (Oosterhuis et al.,
· textiles can influence both sides of the
1996; Ernst and Young and SPRU,
· transportation IPP toolbox, but business has
1998). Eco-design has been used
little control over the consump-
· Subsidies in companies as a tool to incor-
tion side, except through brand,
The ‘Programme for Cleaner porate environmental considera-
product or corporate communi-
Products’ was launched in 1999 tions into product design and
cations (eg. advertising).
by the Danish government and development. It is being increas-
will end in 2002. It is intended There may be a misperception in ingly recognised by some leading
to give subsidies for the devel- business that IPP only covers the companies that eco-design can
opment and marketing of supply side, eg. eco-product cut costs of production and raw
cleaner products, including development. To avoid percep- materials, reduce environmental
the creation of know-how, tion gaps that may be already impact and provide new market
methods, product development starting to emerge, the continued benefits (Oosterhuis et al, 1996;
processes, greener marketing, and balanced use of a consulta- Philips, 1998) However, at
and waste/ recycling systems tive approach by DG XI, incorpo- present eco-design has not been
(Hounum, 1999; Danish EPA, rating a wide range of stake- widely accepted by industry
1997). holder input, will be essential. (CfSD, 1996), particularly in small
and medium sized companies
Uncertainty surrounding IPP
(SMEs) (CfSD, 1999a).
IPP – a different perspective IPP is not fixed and many
questions are being considered, Defining eco-product
The debate over IPP is new and
such as: development (EPD)
evolving, and stakeholders are
· what are the objectives of IPP? The first phase of eco-design has
being invited by DGXI to provide
· what are the priorities? evolved from an engineering
input for discussion on the
· how will IPP be implemented? mindset. The outcomes of this
further development of IPP. The
approach have tended to be
authors would like to present · what implications will IPP have



In a new IPP interesting ‘one off’ projects in

R&D but this has not led to
product development process.
In a new IPP landscape, those
ongoing programmes in compa-
landscape, nies (Rocha, Brezet, 1999).
who have developed EPD
approaches will be better

those who have The second phase of eco-design

is about integration of environ-
prepared for the opportunities
arising from greener markets, as
mental considerations in the well as for threats of new regula-
developed EPD complete product development tions and economic measures.
process from idea generation to Although the IPP approach at the
approaches ‘end of life’ management EC level is new and unclear,
(EOLM). This is called ‘eco- national approaches are moving
will be better product development’ (EPD) fast eg. ‘we are not waiting for
process (Charter, 1999) EC’ (Alhner, 1999) and there are
prepared for the · idea generation the development of vertical EPP
tools (eg. greener purchasing,
· concept development
opportunities · evaluation
national eco-labelling schemes,
consumer education, green
· prototype building
arising from · testing
taxes, ‘producer responsibility’,
etc). It means that companies
· manufacturing will have to be prepared for
greener · launch emerging policies amongst
· product management national states regardless of how
markets, as · ‘end of life’ management. IPP develops in the future at the
EC level.
well as for Therefore, eco(re)design (adapta-
tion of existing products) and
Companies should develop EPD
programmes, which should be
threats of new eco-innovation (new product
development) are EPD strategies.
based on sound management
regulations The broader definition of EPD is
used in this paper.
· Policy
A set of principles and inten-
and economic EPD is a supply side issue. At
present, most EPD has focused
tions should be established
with respect to environmental
measures. on eco(re)design, the adaptation
of existing products to incorpo-
product development (Roberts,
Robinson, 1998).
rate environmental considera-
tions and there has been rela- IBM environmental policy
tively few examples of statement on products
eco-innovation (the launch of
Develop, manufacture and
new products/services explicitly
market products that are
incorporating environmental
safe for their intended use,
considerations). Eco-design or
efficient in their use of
‘Design for Environment’ (DfE)
energy, protective of the
tends to be managed by environ-
environment, and that can
mental management function
be reused, recycled or
rather than being integrated into disposed of safely.
mainstream product develop-
Source: IBM
ment. A key issue is lack of ‘buy
Environmental Report, 1998
in’ from the marketing function
– who are key role players in the



· Objectives and targets chosen organisational structure EPD: focus on electronics

Broad goals should be set by (Roberts, Robinson, 1998). sector
the company in relation to · Budgets
The electronics sector is charac-
environmental performance of Appropriate budgets must be
terised by rapid technological
products eg. ‘to improve energy allocated to EPD.
change, complex supply chains
efficiency by 10% in the use
Philips Eco-vision and fast product obsolescence
phase of new products’. Targets
rate (Charter, 1999; Matthews et
should be measurable and
An example of an EPD al., 1997). It has been highlighted
quantifiable statements such as
programme is Philips by DGXI as a key sector for
‘reduce components used in Eco-Vision programme potential IPP pilot projects
production by 20% within two (1998–2002). It focuses on (Federal Ministry for the
years’ (Roberts, Robinson, green product develop-
Environment, Nature
1998). ment (Green flagship prod-
Conservation and Nuclear Safety,
· Strategies ucts) and manufacturing.
1999). In addition, electronics
The company’s business These ‘flagship’ products
has been chosen as one of the
strategy should be the optimum are defined as products
key product groups in the Danish
allocation of resources in order with demonstrably superior
EPP (Danish EPA, 1997) and an
to achieve competitive advan- environmental perform-
ance in one or more of five action plan is now being devel-
tage. From an EPD perspective,
green focal areas, which oped (Jakobson, 1999). The
it means developing ‘green’
are: increased attention to the elec-
products with a focus on
· weight (reduction) tronics sector is also linked to
reduced costs and improved
· hazardous substances proposed ‘producer responsibil-
efficiency, reduced environ-
(reduction) ity’ legislation at EC level (eg.
mental impact and market
· recycling (increase) draft WEEE Directive) and
differentiation if price, perfor-
· energy consumption national approaches to electron-
mance, quality et al are as good
(reduction) ics waste legislation. From CfSD’s
or better than the competitor.
· packaging (reduction). initial research in the electronics
Interestingly, adding the green
Philips have also recog- sector there appears to be
dimension may also create
nised that green products following key issues in EPD:
innovative solutions and new
can bring financial supply chain management,
business opportunities
benefits: communications, links with
(Banerjee, 1999).
· bill of materials -5% environmental management
· Programmes
· market share +2% systems (EMS), and innovation.
For a given objective the · price premium +3%
environmental management Supply chain management
programme should identify In addition, Philips under- IPP discussions have not really
stands that EPD can
how targets will be met, who addressed supply chain issues.
improve the environmental
is responsible for each of the However, supply chain manage-
performance of its prod-
activities required to meet that ment (SCM) is becoming more
ucts and also generates
target and when those activities and more important in EPD. For
new business opportunities
should be completed (Roberts, instance, a lot of electronics
that may emerge from
Robinson, 1998). companies are no longer manu-
· Responsibilities facturers, but ‘systems integra-
Source: Philips,
Responsibility refers to the tors’ and significant environmen-
Environmental Report,
roles, authorities and inter- tal impacts result from their
1998; Philips presentation
relations of the key personnel at OECD conference, supply chains. A number of
required to ensure the achieve- Sydney, March 1999 customers now demand that
ment of objectives and the their suppliers are ISO 14000 or



EMAS certified (Barthel, 1999). · How should information be market is necessary. Conven-
So, the ISO 14000 certification passed down the supply chain? tional market research tech-
process is indirectly linked to Are manufacturers of final niques have not worked and this
EPD through assessment of goods able to educate all their has led to a lack of knowledge
indirect impacts. suppliers about environmental about customer needs and
issues? (when there may be expectations in relation to envi-
As a part of ETMUEL project (see
thousands of components in ronmental issues. For instance,
Note 2) the following points and
the final electronics products Rank Xerox have two questions
questions have been raised in
or equipment) and what are on environmental issues in the
the discussions with electronics
the costs and benefits? main yearly customer survey –
· The supply chain is a poten- this displaces two marketing
· The international aspects of
tially powerful channel to questions. The Environment
supply chain: where are the
influence small and medium Director lobbied hard for the
majority of electronics compo-
sized companies (SMEs) to questions and has to report back
nent suppliers located? CfSD’s
improve their environmental on business benefits resulting
research shows that it has been
performance since SMEs are from asking those questions
hard to find component suppli-
more likely listen to their (CfSD, unpublished, 1999c).
ers based in the UK (CfSD,
customers (CfSD, 1999b). Most EPD has focused on
1999a). The work in Danish
electronics product area panels Communications improving the internal eco-
indicates that majority of the efficiency of the product, with
Poor communications inside
component suppliers are from little attempt to understand the
and outside companies have
Far East (Jakobson, 1999). use phase of products. Where
been major barriers to selling
· Should companies educate and this has been undertaken, there
‘eco-design’ (internally) or ‘eco-
train their suppliers worldwide are cases of real eco-improve-
products’ (externally). Generally,
(eg. produce eco-design check- ment. For example, the
EPD has been an isolated activity
lists in Chinese) if they are Kambrook (Axis) kettle: it was
within environmental manage-
going to reduce environmental only when the researchers/
ment or R&D and has, at
impacts in national markets? designers observed how
present, been rarely treated as
consumers used the kettle, that
· Can suppliers worldwide a mainstream management issue.
they started to define significant
comply with the European
Internal communication: a major environmental improvements
standards? For instance, is it
obstacle to the development and (Sweatman and Gerstakis, 1997).
possible for a component
management of ‘greener’ prod-
manufacturer in China, to Lack of awareness, understand-
ucts (EPD) is that the communi-
‘design for dismantling’, as ing and poor communications
cation function with customers
implicitly suggested by the may be some of the reasons why
is often carried out by marketing
proposed EC WEEE (Waste there is the emergence of ‘re-
and sales functions, which are
from Electronics and Electric bound effects’ – the situation
two of the least ‘green’ business
Equipment) Directive (EC, when improving the environ-
functions. In addition, marketing
1999). mental features of the product
usually has siginificant influence
· The above research has also causes increased consumption.
on product decisions (CfSD,
indicated that amongst elec- Good examples are light bulbs
1996). This has resulted in poor
tronics component suppliers and washing machines, where
internal marketing of EPD to
there is very little or no cost savings have encouraged
internal stake-holders eg. selling
awareness about ‘business and customers to increase the
environment’ issues, eco- consumption (eg. leave the lights
External communications: in on, wash clothes more often)
design, and even the proposed
order to establish customer (C. Rocha, 1999).
WEEE Directive now in its
needs, better dialogue with the
third draft (CfSD, 1999a).



EPD and environmental was needed, incorporating both business drivers for the electron-
management systems (EMS) technical and management ics industry, combined with
The Dutch government and eco-design considerations rapid technological change. For
industry have developed the (Ministry of Housing, Spatial instance, market research in
POEM concept, which links Planning and the Environment, consumer electronics indicates
EMS and product development 1998). that there is a need for funda-
(Ministry of Housing, Spatial mentally new products since in
The Netherlands has started many West European countries
Planning and the Environment,
work on POEMS and the prelimi- consumer electronics products
nary findings are: have low volume growth and
· POEMS can easily be integrated profitability (Reed Business
The Dutch approach:
into existing environmental Information, 1998). Innovation is
Integrating product manage-
management systems (EMS) a key challenge for industry if
ment with Environmental
Management Systems (EMS) · POEMS requires higher co- eco-efficiency (eg. ‘factor four’
operation amongst different and ‘factor ten’) goals are to be
The Dutch government and business functions compared achieved. Therefore, it is impor-
industry has introduced a to conventional product tant to explore how to combine
new component of environ- development innovation with the environ-
mental management: POEMS
· the business benefits of POEM mental policies. EPP instruments
(Product Oriented Environ-
are not clear (Rocha, 1999). differ in relation to their ability
mental Management
to stimulate innovation.
System). POEM is an instru- Separately, an ad hoc Subsidies for research and devel-
ment to integrate product
International Standards opment (R&D) probably have
aspects into environmental
Organisation (ISO) working most direct potential influence
management systems in
group on ‘Design for Environ- on eco-innovation, although
companies. POEMS should
ment’ (DfE) has held three work- other instruments (eg. taxes and
systematically monitor and
shops. The last workshop charges) may have an impact
control the environmental
concluded that there was a need (Oosterhuis et al., 1996).
impacts of products and
should be considered as an for an ISO document that high-
extension and elaboration of lighted environmental aspects at
each stage of the product devel- Concluding remarks
opment process. The proposal · The IPP approach is new and
Source: Ministry of Housing, was to create a ‘Technical report: discussions are still in their
Spatial Planning and the infancy. The main questions
for information purposes only’
Environment, The are: What are the objectives
(Lehmann, 1999). It was agreed
Netherlands, ‘Product- and priorities of IPP? How
that it should be informative and
Oriented Environmental
provide guidance to companies will it be incorporated into
Management – Its Theory
but should not be an ISO legislation and other policy
and Practice’, 1998.
standard. Discussions are contin- measures? And how to measure
uing within the ISO TC207 success/progress of IPP?
The reasons for introducing the committee and national stan- · IPP is a government policy tool
POEMS concept were: dards bodies. which influences both supply
· around 1000 eco-design and demand sides. However,
projects have been completed manufacturers have little or no
Product innovations are consid-
in the Netherlands and the control over the consumption
ered to be necessary in order to
majority of them appeared to side. Environmental Product
expand and maintain a
be ad hoc projects without Policies (EPP) often appear
company’s market share.
continuation (Rocha, 1999) to be focussed more to the
(Oosterhuis et al, 1996).
· a more systematic approach ‘greening’ of supply rather than
Innovation is one of the major



the consumption side. The Supply chain tion campaigns, co-ordination

recognition of the importance Supply chain management of information flows and
of the consumption side in (SCM) in the electronics sector support for greener purchasing.
achieving sustainability goals is might have a real opportunity It has also been realised that
becoming more and more to reduce eco-impacts since increased environmental
important. overall environmental product considerations can result in
· The majority of stakeholders performance is closely related competitive advantage so there
have adopted a ‘wait and see’ to how EPD is managed up and is more room to link the envi-
approach to IPP until a Green down the supply chain. ronmental requirements to
Paper is published by DGXI in Additionally, supply chains industrial development.
the third or fourth quarter of hold a large potential to green · It is important to remember
1999. SMEs. that all stakeholders must ‘buy
· The synergies and overall Communications into’ the IPP process, since IPP
benefits resulting from IPP will Poor environmental communi- is based on ‘shared responsibil-
be achieved through the inte- cations both internally and ity’ rather than ‘producer
gration of supply and demand externally has been one of the responsibility’.
side measures. The develop- major obstacles to developing · IPP at the EC level is progress-
ment of greener products with- and promoting ‘greener’ prod- ing slower in comparison to
out greener markets is sub- ucts. Can IPP help tackle these national EPP approaches in
optimal. issues? different EC countries (eg.
· Companies can develop their Environmental management Sweden, Denmark, Austria,
own EPD programmes, which systems (EMS) Germany, the Netherlands) and
can bring financial benefits and The integration of EPD into non-EC (eg. Japan, Norway)
generate new ideas and busi- existing EMS schemes is being countries. Therefore it is
ness opportunities. However, tried in the Netherlands (eg. important for companies to
the issue needs to be managed POEMS). Similar discussions are develop and to continue to
and new tools need to be evolving within ISO where work on their own EPD
developed to enable environ- there have been suggestions of programmes without waiting
mental considerations to be the need to prepare an ISO for developments at EC level.
integrated into product devel- information and guidance
opment from the idea genera- document on EPD. However,
tion to the ‘end of life’ it is too early to derive any
management phase. Companies major conclusions from these 1. Presented in the background
with EPD in place will be initiatives since the work has paper for Informal Meeting of
better prepared for new policy just started. Environmental Ministers at
Weimar, May 1999.
developments (eg. new market Innovation
opportunities, product liabili- Innovation is an important 2. ‘Eco-design and Training for
ties etc.) that might emerge business driver in the electron- Manufacture, Use and ‘End of
from the EPP or IPP debates at ics sector as well as one of the Life’ for SMEs’ (ETMUEL) is a
either national or EC level. key eco-efficiency challenges project run by CfSD and funded
by the Adapt programme of the
· There seems to be several key on the supply side. Eco-inno-
European Social Fund. It is a
issues in relation to EPD in the vation should be regarded as
two year training programme
electronics sector: supply chain one of the strategic elements
focusing on the implementation
management, communications, in greening of the supply side. of environmental considera-
links to environmental tions in product development
· There are several ways that
management systems (EMS), and design (eco-design) in the
governments can help progress
and innovation. electronics sector. Further
the EPD process, such as
details can be found at
through funding and subsidies,
public information and educa-



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environmental management
systems: a case study
Cristina Rocha and Professor Han BrezetI
Researcher, Department of Environmental Strategy Studies,
Instituto Nacional de Engenharia E Tecnologia Industrial
(INETI), Portugal and PhD researcher at Delft University of
Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands and Professor at TU
Delft and Director of the Design for Sustainability
Programme, the Netherlands

Cristina Rocha is completing research This paper presents the concept of Why product oriented
into environmental issues and product Product-Oriented Environmental environmental management
development at both Instituto Nacional Management Systems (POEMS),
a management tool for improving a
de Engenharia E Tecnologia Industrial
product’s eco-efficiency which ne often mentioned
(INETI) in Portugal and TU Delft
in the Netherlands. addresses the complete life-cycle
and not only the production phase.
O limitation of the success
of the eco-design concept (the
After finishing his studies in Electrical The Dutch government is stimulat- integration of environmental
Engineering at the Delft University of ing the adoption of POEMS by aspects into product develop-
Technology (DUT), Han Brezet received businesses, through an incentive ment) is the pilot project char-
his PhD in Environment Sociology at the scheme that has involved over 60
acter of many existing initia-
Erasmus University Rotterdam. Since companies. POEMS is highly rele-
tives. It is recognised that
1992, after a career in cleaner produc- vant in the context of the recent
eco-design activities will be
tion consultancy, he holds the chair on developments on the Integrated
limited if they are not integrated
eco-design at the sub-faculty of Product Policy (IPP) in the EU.
into strategic management and
Industrial Design Engineering at A research project with a truck
the daily operations of compa-
the DUT. In his present position, he is manufacturer was undertaken by
the Design for Sustainability nies as part of a dynamic
leader of the Design for Sustainability
Programme at Delft University of process of continuous environ-
Programme of his Faculty and is
Technology (TU Delft) in which a mental performance improve-
research director of Kathalys, the
POEMS model was developed and ment. However this has been
Joint Centre for Sustainable Product
initially tested with the aim of rarely accomplished yet. In
Innovation of TNO Industry and
making eco-design part of the general, after completing an
DUT established in 1998.
company’s strategies and practices eco-design project, companies
as well as creating a basis for tend to return to their ‘business
environmentally driven product as usual’ activities and the
innovations. The findings of the improvement process looses its
project and the model are continuity (Rocha & Clerigo,
described. 1998). In the Netherlands it is
estimated that approximately
1000 eco-design pilot projects
have already been undertaken



and it is therefore important to a factor four within fifteen years in attaining such objectives, for
seek mechanisms to ensure that (Von Weizsacker, Lovins and a number of reasons:
these efforts become ‘normal Lovins, 1996; Fussler and James, · standardised EMS (such as
business’ and ensure that the 1996). presented in the voluntary Eco-
significant knowledge gained Management and Audit Scheme
Such far-reaching eco-efficiency
during these projects is retained. (EMAS) and ISO 14001 standard)
improvements demand top-
In order to deal with the chal- management policy changes, are appealing to industry as
lenging issues that underlie the including the establishment of they become recognised as a
sustainable development new ‘sustainable business’ units useful structure to implement a
concept, companies will have to and ‘green coalitions’ in, company’s environmental
drastically change the way they between and outside existing strategy, ie. to put strategic
address environmental product companies. principles and objectives into
development and its manage- practice, evaluate the results
Actions taken so far in the
ment. Eco-design is now evolv- achieved and re-define the
majority of companies seldom
ing into a broader concept path, aiming at continuous
involve a willingness to experi-
described as sustainable product improvement of environmental
ment, improve and substitute
innovation (SPI), which includes performance. An EMS provides
products, except under public or
more radical innovations, eg. order and consistency for
regulatory pressure (Cramer and
questioning the function of the companies to address environ-
Schot, 1993). These authors state
product. SPI also means influ- mental concerns through the
that an eco-innovative strategy,
encing the existing patterns of allocation of resources, assign-
instead, aims at improving the
(unsustainable) consumption ment of responsibilities and an
company’s capability to produce
which are an essential contribu- on going evaluation of prac-
environmentally sound products,
tion to sustainable development. tices, procedures and
taking into consideration, for
processes. In spite of its rela-
The argument for radical envi- example, the following aspects:
tive newness and the initial
ronmental-oriented innovation · the need to incorporate resistance shown by compa-
relies on the challenge of environmental considerations nies, the uptake of EMAS and
achieving the right balance into the business strategy of ISO 14001 within industry is
between production and popula- the whole firm, including showing a significant increase.
tion growth, on the one hand, departments responsible for
· eco-design can be seen as a
and maintaining the earth’s innovation, such as R&D and
continuous improvement
carrying capacity, on the other. marketing
process in line with the EMS.
Experts estimate that in order to · the need to create organisa- The ISO 14001 structure can be
reduce the level of pollution to tional conditions for synergy applied in relation to product
40% of the current level, an between the environmental impact reduction. In specific
improvement in the eco- function and other functions cases the process of incremen-
efficiency of a ‘factor of 20’ is involved in formulating busi- tal improvement is accelerated
required over the next 25 years ness strategy by a product innovation or
(Weterings and Opschoor, 1992,
· the need to promote breakthrough.
as referred in Van Hemel, 1998).
co-operation among firms, · some companies are taking the
This means that the environmen-
through exchange of informa- lead in fostering a systematic
tal impact of human activities
tion and the establishment of approach to their environmen-
has to decrease 20 fold and the
environmentally-oriented tal product development
use of raw materials and energy
supply chain management. efforts by implementing stan-
has to be 20 times more
dardised EMS that integrate
efficient. As an interim target, it It is pertinent to explore the
environmental product devel-
has been argued that eco- role that environmental manage-
opment issues. This is the case,
efficiency has to be improved by ment systems (EMS) might play
for instance, in Philips Sound



and Vision (Cramer and Stevels, not establish requirements for through the systematic integration of
1997) and ATAG Kitchen environmental performance eco-design in the company’s strate-
Group. This approach applies beyond legal compliance and gies and practices
not only to large companies continuous improvement,
The core elements of such a
but also to small and medium- together with the fact that
system are:
sized enterprises (SMEs). A cleaner production and lifecycle
· the eco-efficiency (ecological
research study conducted thinking are not objectively
and, simultaneously,
within the Dutch Innovation required have been strong points
economic) of a company’s
Centres (ICs) eco-design of criticism with regard to the
products is considered at a
Project involved 77 SMEs and effective contribution of these
strategic level, through the
showed that an EMS could be systems to the pursuit of the
definition of an environmental
the stepping stone towards objectives of sustainable devel-
product policy
eco-design, and vice versa (Van opment. So, although an EMS
Hemel, 1998). The findings of provides the framework for · the environmental
this study showed that compa- sound environmental manage- performance of the products
nies active in the field of eco- ment, the extent of their contri- (throughout the lifecycle) is
design had often already estab- bution to environmental optimi- evaluated on a regular basis
lished a (partial) EMS. sation and the innovation of · environmental criteria are
Furthermore, these companies processes and products depends taken into account in the prod-
were inclined to establish a on the companies strategic uct development processes
link between their EMS and choices (Cramer, 1997). · goals are formulated to ensure
eco-design initiatives. that – in addition to compli-
Environmental management
· both at EMAS Committee and ance with the environmental
systems are still in the process of
ISO levels actions are being regulations – the company
development. Depending on the
undertaken to explore a closer continuously improves the
country and the specific industry
relationship between EMS and eco-efficiency of its products,
sector, the experiences regarding
eco-design activities. There is in co-operation with other
the introduction of these
the recognition that products elements of the product chain.
systems may differ. Based on the
are of increasing importance in theory that: In the following sections, a
assessing the overall environ-
· EMS can be a carrier to enable Dutch initiative to promote the
mental performance of an
eco-design to be part of the adoption of POEMS is presented
organisation. This aspect is
company’s strategies and daily and a case study is discussed
being discussed both within the
practices, from the truck manufacturing
context of the EMAS revision
· EMS could enable environ- industry.
process of EMAS and within
mental product innovation
ISO, where an Ad hoc-Group
· EMS standards are not
on ‘Design for Environment’ Stimulating product oriented
sufficient to adequately address
has been established. environmental management
environmental aspects in prod-
In spite of the potential and uct development processes, in the Netherlands
opportunities that EMS brings the question is how a product- The Integrated Product Policy
to promote more eco-efficient oriented environmental manage- (IPP) approach is receiving
products, it is recognised that ment system (POEMS), should be increasing attention in several
such systems, as currently developed. POEM is: EU Member states as well as in
defined in the EMAS regulation international organisations like
an environmental management
and particularly the ISO 14001 the Orgasnisation for Economic
system with a special focus on the
standard, are not a guarantee Cooperation and Development
continuous improvement of products’
of optimal environmental (OECD) and the United Nations
eco-efficiency (ecological and
outcomes. The fact that they do Commission on Sustainable
economic) along the life cycle,



Development (CSD). IPP The VROM Ministry’s concept In spite of these encouraging
addresses the whole lifecycle of of POEM is broader than the results, some aspects of the
a product, thus avoiding shifting definition of POEMS presented POEMS concept, methodology
environmental problems from above, in the sense that it is and its applicability to different
one medium to another, as understood to be an instrument industry sectors still have to be
opposed to specific product to achieve integrated product clarified. During a workshop
policy, which addresses one chain management. Therefore organised by the VROM Ministry
particular environmental effect companies that do not have in April 1999, a range of issues
(Ernst & Young and SPRU, 1998). product development activities were raised including the impor-
also fall into the scope of the tance of developing a clear
At EU level, IPP calls for thehar-
PMZ Programme. The first phase commercial advantage for
monisation of different policy
(1996-1998) encompassed in- POEMS, the opportunity for a
measures applied in member
company feasibility studies, better clarification of the
states and is being proposed as a
development projects and practi- concept and the need for
basis for a common framework
cal experiments. A total of 66 stronger communication
for EU and national countries’
projects were supported (VROM, concerning POEM (VROM, 1999).
product policies, aiming at
1998) and the last projects will Furthermore it is not clear
facilitating the development of
have to be completed by the end whether or not the projects
greener markets through demand
of the year 2000. Only then will within the PMZ Programme
(consumption) and supply (prod-
a thorough evaluation be under- involve ‘type 2’ eco-design
ucts) side measures (Charter and
taken. (integral re-design) and therefore
Belmane, 1999).
what the motivation is in terms
The main preliminary findings of
In line with the IPP approach, an of eco-efficiency.
the pilot projects that started in
important objective of the Dutch
1997-1998 have been (VROM, A follow-up initiative for the
environmental policy is reducing
1998): period 1999–2003 has been
the environmental impacts of
· POEM systems can be easily established by the Directorate
products during their life cycle,
incorporated into business General for Environmental
as stated in its 1993 policy docu-
operations; its implementation Protection of the VROM
ment ‘Product and Environment’
is not hampered by major Ministry, which aims at a
(VROM, 1993).
financial or organisational widening of the implementation
To explore the concept of and communication on POEMS.
POEMS the Dutch Ministry of
· POEM is closely related to
Housing, Spatial Planning and
R&D, purchasing, production,
Environment (VROM) introduced Case study at a truck
sales and (especially) market-
a subsidy scheme in 1996–1998: manufacturer
ing. Therefore, almost every
the ‘Stimulating Product
company conducting a pilot Company T, a large European
Oriented Environmental
project placed POEM directly truck developer and manufac-
Management’ Incentive
under top management turer has addressed environmen-
Programme (PMZ Programme).
· if desired, companies can also tal aspects in product design for
The objective of this programme
use POEM systems as a means some years, due to legal require-
was to encourage and introduce
of comparing themselves to ments and market demands.
a process of continuous product
other companies. By comparing Such initiatives resulted in low
improvement and permanent
the environmental exhaust emissions, low noise
product environmental innova-
performance of products, engines and reduced fuel
tion, through the development
companies are able to discover consumption, which is translated
of POEM systems (Directorate
new opportunities for product in lower costs during the use
General for Environmental
improvement. phase (the main concern of
Protection, 1996).



Whereas these concerns are POEMS would not only formalise tive, that reflected not only
already integrated into the the current and planned activi- formal statements and docu-
company’s Product Creation ties in eco-design but would also mentation, but also the general
Process (PCP), new opportunities be a catalyst for future activities perceptions and opinions
for eco-design are still to be in this area. communicated during the
explored. Recently an eco-design interviews
For the company, the rationale
project was set up, resulting in a · an analysis of current strategies
for exploring the link between
number of actions, including a and practices regarding envi-
the EMS and eco-design was the
pilot project on plastics recy- ronmental product develop-
cling, the inclusion of eco-design ment
· the company’s present EMS
guidelines in a dedicated tool · an evaluation of opportunities
model and its elements (which
and an eco-design newsletter. for integrating eco-design
are in accordance with ISO
The eco-design project at 14001 standard) are considered activities and requirements into
Company T aims at highlighting to be a sound managerial struc- the company’s Product
environmental requirements and ture to support continuous Creation Process (PCP).
opportunities of product design improvement of the company’s · the development of a general
(like eco-efficient materials, environmental performance. model of POEMS for the
reuse and recycling, the involve- · since Company T is ISO 14001 company.
ment of suppliers, etc.) with an certified it makes sense to Main findings
integrated life cycle perspective, extend the scope of the exist-
The company has established an
translated into increased cost ing EMS to eco-design activi-
environmental policy and an
efficiency, improved quality, ties. It was agreed as a basic
environmental product policy,
improved customer satisfaction principle that integrating eco-
including the commitment to
and increased market share. design into business should
design environmental friendly
This is a recent initiative in not become a burden to the
products taking into account the
the company and the benefits company and therefore POEMS
whole lifecycle, whilst consider-
(ecological and economic) are should not be a separate
ing functionality, quality and
not fully perceived yet. management system.
costs. Nevertheless, this environ-
Company T implemented an · from the moment when the mental strategy has not been
EMS and attained ISO 14001 existing EMS formally includes extensively communicated
certification in 1998. Although the eco-design requirements, throughout the organisation, and
the EMS was primarily designed there will be a control system within the product development
to address the environmental in place that will ensure that department, environment is
aspects of the production activities are performed and perceived as being an issue of
processes, it has already started results evaluated. less strategic importance than,
to include product related issues. for example, quality. The main
The methodology for this project
In order to optimise the poten- relied on a combination of docu- environmental concerns in prod-
tial of the eco-design strategy mentation review, meetings, uct development are legal
in Company T, a project with interviews and a brainstorming compliance and reduction of fuel
TU Delft/DfS (Design for session where the current situa- consumption; with other eco-
Sustainability Programme) was tion and improvement opportu- design possibilities are not
undertaken. The project’s goal nities for POEMS were analysed explored.
was to explore the possibilities and discussed. The project As a result, clear environmental
of integrating eco-design activi- focused on the following main objectives concerning exhaust
ties into the framework of the areas: emissions, noise and fuel
existing EMS by means of · a review of the existing EMS, consumption are defined for
POEMS. It was the intention that from an eco-design perspec- product development, whereas



other aspects such as materials From a chain management ment plans are approved. At this
selection and ‘end of life’ perspective, it has been recog- point, product targets and
management are still to be nised that suppliers play an specifications are set up and the
defined. There is also some important role in product devel- people involved in the project
resistance to eco-design amongst opment in the company. agree on all the consequences
product developers as it is Approximately 70–80% of trucks of the project. Therefore, eco-
perceived as an extra burden are made from bought-in design requirements should be
to the product development components, therefore a close defined and incorporated at this
process. co-operation between the stage, otherwise they will not
company and its suppliers is be integrated in the product
There has not been a compre-
essential for the success of eco- development process.
hensive evaluation of the
design. This co-operation already
environmental aspects of the The development of new
exists, but further criteria for
products, but a detailed LCA is systems, processes or technolo-
supplier selection (eg. on the
planned for the near future. gies is undertaken by the
basis of the guidelines in the
Advanced Technology Groups
As mentioned previously, the eco-design tool) is needed.
(ATG), within different develop-
main activities of the eco-design
During the brainstorming ment departments. Such activi-
project have been the definition
session, the eco-design activities ties do not belong to the formal
of eco-design guidelines in an
that were suggested for the PCP, but are considered as pre-
eco-design tool, the publishing
company, as well as the POEMS development activities in which
of an eco-design newsletter and
model were discussed (see next eco-design projects can also be
the undertaking of a pilot project
paragraphs). integrated. This is the case for
on plastics recycling. The eco-
engine development projects
design tool is a company-specific Suggested eco-design activities
that were undertaken with the
intranet-based site, including The Product Creation Process
objective of reducing exhaust
eco-design techniques, guide- (PCP) was recently formalised at
emissions, noise and fuel
lines for materials and processes Company T. It offers possibilities
selection and for supplier for more effective work utilising
involvement. There is still cross-functional teams, rather POEMS model
limited feedback on the utility of than the traditional sequence of The POEMS model developed for
this tool and no decision has ‘department to department’. The Company T is a general model
been made on how it will be PCP aims at speeding up the aimed at supporting the imple-
integrated into the PCP. product development process mentation of eco-design at two
The existing EMS is already and ensuring that functionality, different levels:
addressing product development quality and cost are considered · Projects: in specific ad hoc
and management to some extent from the very beginning of the eco-design, R&D or advanced
and there is a clear commitment design process. It is therefore an technology projects (results
to improve. The review obvious opportunity for eco- may be translated into environ-
completed in this project indi- design. mental objectives and
cated the EMS has the necessary Taking into account eco-design specifications for the PCP)
mechanisms to evaluate and models and best practice, a · Functions: the implementation
control the achievement of the number of eco-design activities of eco-design and the achieve-
company’s environmental objec- as presented in Table 1 were ment of environmental objec-
tives for product development. suggested for the different stages tives for product development
The next question is then how of the PCP. At the end of the and management requires co-
ambitious are the objectives and concept stage, the product’s ordination among various func-
this of course is dependent on ‘programme of demands’ is in tions in the company business
the company’s strategic deci- principle fixed and any invest- development, purchasing and
sions. suppliers management, product



Stage of the PCP Eco-design activities

0 Orientation phase · Eco-design objectives

· Green marketing objectives

1 Definition stage · Involvement of eco-design staff support

· Environmental benchmarking
· Suppliers information
· Other stakeholders information (Government, EU, recyclers, users,
environmental organisations)
· Green options generation (assessment of environmental innovation
· Green options validation
· Eco-design R&D agenda
· Concept environmental program of demands (input to concept PBD)

2 Concept stage · Eco-design support for environmental specifications and product concepts
· Consult environmental material databases and other eco-design expertise
· Green perception (emotional)
· Eco-design R&D agenda (technical)
· Environmental ‘programme of demands’

3 Engineering stage · Consult environmental material databases and other eco-design expertise
· Environmental validation (production, use, ‘end of life’, regulations)
· Tactical green marketing and communication plan

4 Volume validation · Eco-design after sales plan (user/dealer instructions, etc.)

5 Evaluation stage · Evaluation of POEMS (procedures, expertise support)

· Feedback to eco-design goals setting

Table 1: Suggested eco-design activities in relation to the stages of the PCP

development, manufacturing, ambitiousness of the eco-design tion (in the sense of systematic
marketing, sales and after sales objectives. implementation) of eco-design.
In order to analyse how POEMS
These aspects are worked out
activities relate to the eco-design
Some of the elements of the through POEMS by asking the
inputs into the PCP, a distinction
POEMS model presented here go following questions:
has to be made, amongst activi-
beyond the strict requirements · where do we stand (which is
ties that:
of ISO 14001. The idea is to our product’s/product group’s
optimise the contents of the EMS · lead to the concrete definition
environmental profile)?
(from an eco-design point of of environmental objectives
· what do we want to achieve
view) relying on the structure and performance criteria for
(in terms of the product’s eco-
that ISO 14001 offers. To what the product
extent this optimisation is · ensure capability for eco-
· how do we ensure that we
achieved depends primarily on design, including resources and
have the capability to achieve
the company’s commitment to know how
improved environmental prod-
an eco-design strategy and the · ensure control and routinisa-
uct performance?



· Competitors’ analysis · Impact/cost assessment · Legal requirements

(eco-benchmarking) tools (LCA, eLCC, others) (Government, EU)
· Suppliers’ information
· Customers’ requirements
· Others (recyclers, etc.)

Product’s environmental profile/Product indicators


Figure 1: Where do we stand (which is our product’s/product group’s environmental profile)?

· how do we ensure effective competitors? Do we have the mance criteria in the context of
routinisation and control of necessary environmental infor- its EMS in general and in relation
inclusion of eco-design in PCP/ mation on supplied parts and to product-related aspects in
ad hoc projects? materials? Are customers envi- particular.
· have product’s environmental ronmental concerns being
The previous phase in intended
objectives been met? is the fulfilled?, etc.).
to define where to focus, in
system effective? (set directions An LCA or other tools should terms of environmental (and
and reinitiate the continuous be used for an evaluation of the economic) aspects of the prod-
improvement cycle). products’ environmental impacts uct’s profile, and the next step is
and it was recommended that the definition of objectives and
Figures 1 to 5 show how POEMS
the results of the LCA were targets. Objectives and targets
might follow the Plan–Do–Check
combined with an assessment of can either be managerial or
–Act cycle and how it could
the environmental costs across performance related; at this stage
support eco-design activities at
the lifecycle (eLCC). This allows we are focusing on the perfor-
Company T, indicating which
the identification of those areas mance type. Stakeholders’ views
departments/functions should be
that have most improvement should be taken into account
involved. It was recommended
potential from an environmental when defining eco-design objec-
that the details of the system
and economic point of view. tives and targets, and these
should be worked out through
should be in line with the busi-
practical application (pilot The results of the LCA or other
ness strategy and environmental
project), in relation to the design assessment studies should feed
product policy.
process of a specific product or into a comprehensive environ-
component. mental performance indicators Green options generation and
system, from which concrete validation activities will help to
The process starts with the analy-
objectives can be derived. ISO establish improvement opportu-
sis of the product’s (or product
has recently released the final nities. Some of them may be
groups’) environmental profile.
draft standard on environmental feasible in the shorter term,
This analysis should take into
performance evaluation others will require the undertak-
account legal requirements and
(ISO/FDIS 14031) that can assist ing of R&D projects where envi-
convenants, an evaluation of the
companies in evaluating perfor- ronmental innovation potential
impacts along the lifecycle and
mance against their environmen- is explored.
other stakeholders’ demands and
tal policy, objectives, targets
opportunities (Where do we Depending on the availability of
and other environmental perfor-
stand in comparison to our accurate information and on the



Policy Business strategy/Environmental product policy

· Competitors’ analysis · Green options generation · Legal requirements

(eco-benchmarking) (innovation potential) (Government, EU)
· Suppliers’ information · Green options validation
· Customers’ requirements
· Others (recyclers, etc.)
· Impact/cost assessment

Eco-design objectives and targets PCP

Plan (performance) Environmental programme
of requirements

Eco-design projects
R&D projects
Advanced technology projects


Figure 2: What do we want to achieve (in terms of product’s eco-efficiency)?

technological implications, eco- assignment of responsibilities, people change jobs or new staff
design objectives and targets building expertise (including the are hired.
may: development/ application of
The procedures should be estab-
· be directly translated into adequate tools) and internal and
lished to support eco-design
environmental requirements external communication.
activities that are agreed as a
for the PCP (environmental The detailed requirements for ‘standard’ in the company,
programme of demands) each of these elements should be and the integration into existing
· have to be worked out through worked out on the basis of the EMS and quality procedures is
specific projects, eg. in the needs of the eco-design activities recommended.
context of the advanced tech- in the PCP and of other ad hoc
In the establishment of an eco-
nology groups. Such projects’ eco-design projects.
design procedure for product
results will later on be an input
In order to guarantee environ- development, the following
to the PCP.
mentally sound management, elements should be included:
Managerial objectives and targets operating methods in the form · the assignment of eco-design
aim at building capability and of written procedures for eco- responsibilities as well as creat-
routines for the implementation design should be established. ing and maintaining an
of eco-design. Building capability Procedures clearly define meth- adequate level of competence
for eco-design requires the allo- ods of operation to be followed · the inclusion of eco-design
cation of appropriate resources, and guarantee continuity when objectives, methodologies and



Eco-design objectives and targets


Allocate resources Eco-design projects Eco-design activities

(human, financial, technical) R&D projects in PCP (Table 1)
Advanced technology projects

Define responsibilities

Evaluate and fulfil expertise

needs (training, networking

Evaluate awareness –
green internal and external


Figure 3: How to ensure capability to improved environmental product performance?

Eco-design objectives and targets


Eco-design projects Eco-design activities

R&D projects in PCP (Table 1)
Advanced technology projects

Define procedures (internal,

requirements to suppliers)

Integrate eco-design
requirements in existing


Figure 4: How to ensure effective routinisation and control of inclusion of eco-design in PCP?



POEMS audits Projects evaluation Project and product

Eco-design projects evaluation
R&D projects
Advanced technology projects PCP

Act Management review

Product environmental Product environmental

policy performance/objectives

Figure 5: Have product environmental objectives been met? Is the system effective?

tools in the PCP and other · making the Board of Directors · the development of a training
relevant projects. aware of the current situation and communication
of eco-design implementation programme for eco-design. The
This is a ‘review and set direc- and of the results of the existing eco-design newsletter
tions phase’, described in ISO project, and to request a clear and eco-design guidelines are
14001 as the management review, statement of support on the important mechanisms that
which addresses the possible strategic importance of POEMS have to be enforced.
need for changes to policy, to the company and a view on · the undertaking of eco-
objectives and other elements of the level of ambition of envi- benchmarking, which is a
the POEMS in the light of the ronmental objectives for prod- recognised technique eg. for
audit’s results, product and uct development. This is fuel consumption, but also
project evaluations, changing viewed as a crucial aspect of addressing other eco-design
circumstances and the commit- the potential for the success of aspects.
ment to continuously improve POEMS in the company. · the performance of a detailed
the products’ environmental
· the inclusion of an environ- LCA and lifecycle costing study,
performance. POEMS is again
mental statement in the in order to identify opportuni-
analysed at a strategic level and
company’s Vision. ties for environmental and
as an on-going process.
· the constitution of working economic improve-ment.
Planned short term actions groups on the following areas:
The POEMS model and suggested – strategic eco-design
eco-design activities were objectives, (following the
presented and discussed at the Vision) ‘Producer responsibility’ is
company. It was considered that – short-term eco-design targets becoming a strategic issue world-
POEMS is compatible with the for the new heavy line truck wide. As a result various coun-
existing EMS and that short- tries in Europe are starting to
– procedures for eco-design in
term initiatives will focus on: evolve Environmental Product
product development
Policies (EPP_). This is leading to a



fragmented picture across the EU future developments will be process. There are various key
with EC DGXI now exploring a tracked. questions that need answers.
harmonised approach – · To what extent and under
One important finding of this
Integrated Product Policy (IPP). which conditions do EMS and
project was that a clear top
In the Netherlands, POEMS has eco-design enhance or oppose
management commitment for
been developed as an approach each other in product develop-
eco-design as a strategic issue,
to EPP on the supply-side. TU ment practice?
translated into the availability of
Delft’s Design for Sustainability · Which are the relevant
capabilities and resources, is the
programme has worked with a (internal and external) factors
key factor for success of POEMS.
truck manufacturer to define the and actors in this context?
The external environmental
practicalities of POEM in a
product policy context, as well · Will the implementation of
corporate context.
as market demands, have so far product-oriented EMS enhance
The results of the case study been the determinants in terms the company’s competitive
were encouraging in relation to of the company’s strategic advantage?
the role that the POEMS model choices for product develop- · Will it foster innovation with
can play in the systematic imple- ment. The opportunities that regards to environmental prod-
mentation of eco-design. The eco-design can bring from cost uct development?
project acted as a ‘launch pad’ effectiveness and competitive- · Is it possible to implement
for a number of start-up activi- ness have not been comprehen- POEMS both effectively and
ties in eco-design in the sively explored and in this efficiently in all product devel-
company. So far no major context an adequate product opment companies?
conflicts between the existing policy at EU level focusing both
EMS – its extention towards a the production and consumption These questions are still to be
comprehensive integration of sides is essential. answered and constitute the core
product development activities of a larger research project
The POEMS concept and its
by the means of a POEMS – and currently being undertaken by
operationalisation is still in its
the PCP have been identified. But the authors at TU Delft. •
infancy and it is not yet possible
the details of its implementation
to have a clear picture of the
are still to be worked out and
mechanisms involved in such a

EMS – Environmental management system
POEMS – Product oriented environmental management system
LCA – Life cycle assessment
eLCC – Environmental life cycle cost assessment
PCP – Product Creation Process
BD – Business Development Department
PD – Product Development Department
P – Purchasing Department
M – Manufacturing Department
M&S – Marketing and Sales Department
HR – Human Resources Department
H,S&E – Health, Safety and Environmental Affairs Department



Charter, M. and Belmane, I., Directorate General for Rocha, C. and Rigo, C.,
Integrated Product Policy and Eco- Environmental Protection, Incentive ISO 14001 and EMAS: Constribution
Product Development. Initial Programme for Product-Oriented to a Dynamic and Participated
Discussion paper. The Centre for Environmental Management, presen- Environmental Strategy in
Sustainable Design, The Surrey tation letter, 12 July 1996. VROM Companies. Fifth European
Institute of Art and Design, Ministry. Roundtable on Cleaner Production -
University College, UK, 1999 ERCP98. 29-30 October, 1998
Ernst & Young and Spru, European
INETI/ITA, Lisbon, Portugal.
Cramer, J., Towards Innovative, Commission: DG XI : Integrated
More Efficient Product Design Product Policy. Final Report, VROM (Dutch Ministry of Housing,
Strategies, in ISO 14001 and Beyond March, 1998 Spatial Planning and Environment),
: Environmental Management Product and Environment, 1993
Fussler, C. and James, P., Driving
Systems in the Real World. Ed.
Eco Innovation. A Breakthrough VROM, Product-Oriented
Christopher Sheldon. Greenleaf
Discipline for Innovation and Environmental Management : Its
Publishing, UK. ISBN 1874719012.
Sustainability. Pitman Publishing, Theory and Practice. October, 1998
pp. 359 - 370, 1997
London, UK. 364 p., 1996
VROM, PMZ in uitvoering: Verlag
Cramer, J. and Schot, J., The
Hemel, C. van, EcoDesign Empirically van de bijeenkomst van overheden,
Greening of Interfirm Relationships,
Explored : Design for Environment in branch-organisaties en bedrijven in
in Fischer, K and Schot, J. (eds.) –
Dutch Small and Medium Sized het kader van Productgerichte
Environmental Strategies for
Enterprises. PhD Thesis, Delft Milieuzorg (POEM in Practice :
Industry : International Perspectives
University of Technology, Delft, The Report of a meeting of Government,
on Research Needs and Political
Netherlands. ISBN 90-9011667-2. 271 branch organisations and companies
Implications. Island Press, 1993
p., 1998 in the framework of product oriented
Cramer, J.M. and Stevels, A.L.N. environmental management). 27
ISO 14 001:1996(E) Environmental
Strategic Environmental Product April, 1999
Management Systems –
Planning within Philips Sound and
Specification with Guidance for Use. Weizsacker von, E., Lovins, A., and
Vision. Environmental Quality
Lovins, L , Faktor Vier, Doppelter
Management. Autumn 1997. pp 91 - ISO/FDIS 14 031, Environmental
Wohlstand – Halbierter
102, 1997 management – Environmental
Naturverbrauch, Droemer Knaur,
performance evaluation –
Munich, 1996
Guidelines. Final Draft International
Standard, 1998



Progress towards sustainable

design in the white goods
Edwin Datschefskii
Founder and CEO, BioThinking International, UK

Edwin Datschefski is the founder and This paper is in two sections, the ing process. The philosophy of
CEO of BioThinking International, a first part covers manufacturers’ the EU label has been to focus
non-profit organisation promoting the progress to date and the second on the larger impacts that occur
idea that sustainability will be achieved part looks to the future, exploring during the use phase of white
by modelling industrial systems on what improvements would lead to goods, but nonetheless these
nature — making them more cyclic, sustainable white goods. Much of impacts are significant in
solar and safe, as well as more the progress to date has been absolute terms. Only the Nordic
eco-efficient. After studying Biology driven by energy- and eco- eco-label specifically addresses
at Bristol University, Edwin spent labelling, and therefore this paper surface coating, stating that
five years working on business and is informed by the US, Nordic, ‘paints must not contain
environmental protection issues for German and EU labelling criteria, pigment or additives based on
The Environment Council, and five as well as data from manufactur- lead, cadmium, chromium,
years as a consultant to blue chip ers. The section on future improve- mercury or their compounds.
corporations, central and local ments is derived from a ‘biothink- The paints must not contain
government. Since 1994, Edwin ing’ approach to sustainability – more than 5% by weight of
has trained over 5000 people in making products cyclic, solar, safe organic solvents.’ This is a trend
environmental management and and efficient. reflected in other industries,
sustainable product development. such as the automobile sector
where Volvo has been using
Core white goods water-based metal painting
characteristics systems.
here are a number of envi-
T ronmental aspects that are
common to all white goods,
Metal plating processes cause
widespread release of heavy
metals to watercourses, and
such as the manufacture of the unnecessary plating should be
white metal cabinet, the degree avoided completely. The Nordic
of repairability and durability, eco-label is specific that ‘metals
recovery at end of use, packag- must not be plated with
ing, consumer education and cadmium, chromium, nickel or
noise in operation. their compounds. In exceptional
Cabinet manufacture cases, small parts such as screws
Most white goods are made of and hinges may be plated with
steel with a surface coating, and chromium, nickel or their
impacts arise from the toxicity compounds.’ In the case of
of coatings and the solvents washing machines, the washing
released during the manufactur- drum can be chromed if it can



be shown that the drum can be steel. with a ‘log book’. If the machine
recovered at ‘end of life’. To aid in recycling, plastic parts is sold on by the original
should be labelled, and both the purchaser, the ‘log book’ would
The Nordic eco-label also reflects
EU, Nordic and Blue Angel go with it. The deposit could
Scandinavia’s more advanced
schemes require this for plastic eventually be ‘cashed in’ if the
views on toxicity, stating that
parts weighing more than 50g. machine was responsibly
‘plastic materials must not
Markings are permanent (usually disposed of at the ‘end of (its)
contain substances based on
embossed) and follow the usual life’; either to a local authority
cadmium, lead, mercury or
material abbreviations: for scrap or to a community
their compounds, chlorinated/
· PET organisation for parts recovery.
bromated paraffins or bromated
diphenyl esters.’ The Blue Angel · HDPE Miele was the first white goods
criteria for fridges also bans the · PVC manufacturer to introduce an
use of cadmium and lead addi- · LDPE appliance recycling system in
tives in plastic parts, but prag- · PP Germany in June 1994. The
matically allows up to 75ppm of · PS reusable material provided by a
such additives to be present (but · all other plastics (which product mix of Miele washing
presumably not added during should themselves to machines, tumble dryers, electric
manufacture) if recycled plastics conform to ISO1043). ovens and dishwashers is
are used. between 82% and 85% in terms
The Nordic label requires that a
of weight. These valuable
Reliability ‘plan shall be drawn up describ-
materials are then recycled. This
Despite the fact that most house- ing a method and estimating the
network is available to specialist
hold appliances have become costs of disposing of the dish-
dealers, the specialist trade and
steadily more reliable, washing washers at the end of their
local communities.
machines and washer-driers still service life. The estimate shall be
top the poll of the least reliable made in current monetary values Some local authorities offer an
pieces of equipment, according and shall be based on present appliance pick up service, such
to a UK Consumers’ Association price information for disman- as the one in Chicagoin the US
survey of 15,000 Which? tling, shredding, disposal and sale which reclaims freon, takes
magazine readers. For washing of usable parts, or whatever else usable parts to make other, and
machines, the most reliable the handling may comprise. separates various metals for recy-
brands were found to be AEG, When selling a Nordic Swan- cling. The shell of the appliance
Ariston, Candy Indesit, Miele, labelled dishwasher, the licence is then taken to a shredding
Tricity Bendix, and Zanussi. The holder shall offer the facility of facility and recycled to make
least reliable were Hoover and returning the dishwasher to the other steel products. This
Hotpoint. dealer at the end of its service scheme was created in 1994
life, possibly against payment of when the Illinois general assem-
Appliance recovery bly placed a ban on the disposal
a fee. The objective is that the
Every year, 100,000 tonnes of dishwasher shall be recovered.’ of white goods into landfills in
white goods are discarded in the This sort of approach has not yet Illinois.
UK and recycling is erractic. taken off, but interest in such
For refrigerators, the freon is deposits is increasing, with a
extracted from old machines by While only a minor impact in
‘Disposal and Re-use of White
local authorities and by retailers the overall lifetime of an
Goods’ Bill being proposed in
when they supply new machines. appliance, wholesale and retail
the UK in 1998. The Bill proposed
However, the potential for packaging is being improved. For
that white goods retailers should
recycling white goods is there — example, the US Green Seals for
levy a ‘green’ deposit (10% of the
by weight, the typical appliance both fridges and washing
purchase price) on all appliances
consists of approximately 75% machines state that:
sold. Purchasers would be issued
· ‘Packaging shall not contain



inks, dyes, pigments, stabilisers,

or any other additives to which Label standard Maximum noise level dB(A)
any lead, cadmium, mercury, or Nordic dishwasher 57
hexavalent chromium has been
intentionally introduced.’ Nordic fridge 40
· ‘The sum of the concentration Nordic washing machine 72 during spinning, 60 otherwise
levels of lead, cadmium,
EU fridge 42
mercury, and hexavalent
chromium present in any
package or packaging compo- Table 1: Maximum noise levels (as defined by specific eco-labels)
nents shall not exceed 100
is within the control of the ture settings and for different
parts per million by weight.’
consumer. The corresponding load settings.’ (EU Washing
· ‘The product package shall control available for water usage, Machine Label).
have a minimum post- via the economy or half loading · ‘Information about the washing
consumer content of 25%.’ buttons, does not offer such machine being made of parts
Consumer education dramatic savings. and materials which are
The Nordic Eco-label criteria for All the eco-labels require clear reusable and/or recyclable,
washing machines quote some information to be presented to advice that when disposing of
studies which have shown that consumers on how to minimise the washing machine the
users normally fill machines environmental impact, usually in consumer should enquire
inadequately, usually with 2–3 kg the form of manuals. For about, and follow the applica-
of cotton laundry, instead of the example: ble water-management routes.’
optimal 5kg. As a result of part (EU Washing Machine Label).
· ‘If the water in your home is
loads, the machines consume heated by an environmentally Noise
more electricity and water per kg approved wood burner, or Control of noise is useful in
of laundry. Most machines now boiler fired with wood chips or domestic settings. Several labels
have a half load setting to help pellets, by a heat pump which have noise standards (see Table
address this tendency. Some takes heat from the air, the 1). These standards are highly
more expensive machines have ground, rock or the sun, or by achievable, and one (unlabelled)
weighing scales built in and a taking solar heat directly during Swedish washing machine, the
logic chip which allows water most of the year, the ASKO 20605, washes at a noise
and possibly detergent levels to dishwasher should preferably level of only 52 dB(A), which is
be matched exactly to the load be connected to the hot water comparable to a whisper (see
with minimal user input. Such system. This usually also applies Figure 1).
approaches are likely to be much if your home is connected to
more effective than requiring the district heating system.’
calculations on the part of the (Nordic Dishwasher Label) Washing clothes
user. · ‘Advice to use a full load Taking our white box and adding
Consumers can reduce energy whenever possible ... with clear heat, water and motion we get a
usage dramatically by washing at examples of (a) typical maxi- washing machine.
cooler temperatures, something mum load(s) must be included,
The washing of clothes is
which is not always made abun- advice on varying the detergent
achieved by adding a optimum
dantly clear in user manuals. For dose according to water hard-
amount of water and then apply-
example, washing at 30°C or ness, load size and the degree
ing time, heat, motion and deter-
room temperature can save up of soiling, information about
gent. Different countries have
to 80% of energy — a huge the energy consumption and
adopted different mixes of these
improvement and as all machines the water consumption of the
elements in their machines, but
have a temperature dial this machine for different tempera-



thus qualify for energy efficiency

classes ‘A’ and ‘B’.
The US Green Seal label uses an
energy factor calculation based
on volume, rather than mass of
washload, making transatlantic
comparison tricky. The Green
Seal Class A Certification Level
requires that the product shall
have an energy factor greater
than 2.5 ft3/(kWh/cycle). The
average European drum size is
1.65 ft3, so this means that the
AEG 86720 (an EU ‘A’ rated
machine) which uses 0.89 kWh
per load would have an energy
Figure 1: Asko washing machine from Sweden factor of 1.85 ft3/(kWh/cycle),
so not qualifying for a Green
Seal ‘A’ level certification.
Country approach Time Heat Movement
US machines have traditionally
US 40 minutes 60°C High been top-loading, vertical-axis
machines that are heavy energy
UK 100 minutes 60°C Medium
and water users. However, since
Italy 8 hours Room temperature Low the advent of the Green Seal
label, and the fact that water and
electric companies now offer
Table 2: Washing clothes – different national approaches
rebates for buyers of efficient
machines, a new breed of front-
all achieve the same result (see incentive for low energy
loading machines has emerged.
Table 2). appliances
These horizontal axis machines
US machines have more agitation The biggest difference is made are quite large (about 8kg load)
and consequently wear out by running machines at lower and when calculated per loading,
clothes more quickly, making temperatures and with optimal are more energy efficient than
this approach less desirable envi- loads. EU machines and often comply
ronmentally, although giving a with the EU water use threshold.
benefit of quicker washing. Several brands, such as Frigidaire,
The difference between energy
In Italy, washes can be much Gibson and General Electric have
consumption in the worst and
longer as machines are designed a better energy factor than lead-
best machines is about 1:2. If all
to exploit special electricity ing EU brands such as Asko,
machines in the Nordic countries
meters that limit electricity use Miele and Creda.
complied with the eco-label,
to an agreed maximum load. If about 0.7 TWh of washing and The average new US vertical-axis
this load is set at 3.3 kW, then drying electricity would be saved machine is 2.72 ft3, and uses 2.22
householders pay at the ‘social per year. kWh per cycle, an energy factor
tariff’, which is about 40% of 1.23 or equivalent to approxi-
The EU ecolabel requires the use
cheaper than standard rates. As mately 1.35 kWh/kg — a poor
of less than or equal to 0.23 kWh
the standard rate is the second rating but it is still possible to
of electrical energy per kg of
most expensive in Europe (after buy EU front loaders that use
washload in a standard 60∞ C
Belgium), this provides an extra that much energy.
cotton cycle. Such machines will



The Nordic Swan eco-label has a Here the 1992 AEG 610 would get machine without a locking
broader approach to energy a score of W=(83+76+83+44)/ device.
calculations. Instead of the usual (5+2+5+1)=22, qualifying easily,
The type of washing powder
60∞C 5kg load used by the EU, the whereas under the EU label it
employed can make a big differ-
Nordic energy performance is would score 16.6 l/kg, not quite
ence, with three main types
aggregated from tests at cotton the required 15 l/kg.
being available: ‘Standard’,
60∞C full load and 2kg, and non-
Detergent ‘Improved’ by means of meeting
iron 40∞C at full load and 1 kg
The impact of detergents is due the EU Ecolabel (currently only
load. These four modes are then
not only to the ingredients and the ‘Down to Earth’ brand
averaged as follows:
chemicals present in the formu- achieves this) and ‘organic’
E <= 0.35 kWh/kg where E= lations but also to the sheer brands such as Ecover and Bio-D.
(e1+e2+e3+e4)/(m1+m2+m3+m4) volume of the quantities used — The best form of detergent is
over 3.5 million tonnes per year reckoned by the Environmental
For example, the 1992 AEG 610
of heavy and low duty detergents Detergent Manufacturer’s
would get a score of
were used within the EU during Association (EDMA) to be the
E=(1.1+0.75+0.8+0.4)/ (5+2+5+1)
1992. Excess detergent use concentrated powders, which
= 0.23, and so would easily qual-
increases the environmental have optimal packaging and
ify, whereas its cotton 60∞C full
loading of the wastewater, and about a quarter of the surfactants
load usage of 1.1 kWh would be
until the early 90s, most found in equivalent liquid deter-
0.22 kWh/kg, only just making
machines lost quite a lot of gents. Concentrated powders are
the EU Label requirement of 0.23
detergent out of the bottom also more likely to meet packag-
kWh/kg. This would seem to
before it could be used for wash- ing goals, such as the EU eco-
imply that the Nordic Swan is a
ing. Consequently, the EU label label requirement for the sum
little less stringent than the EU
requires that the machine must for the primary packaging, of
lose less than or equal to 5% of total packaging and virgin mater-
The only machines to hold the ial to not exceed 9 g/wash.
Nordic eco-label are the Miele
For example, the AEG OKO valve The best method is to ‘build
W 986, WS 5425, and WS 5426,
closes off the wash tub from the your own’ with a modular
and the only machines to hold
drainage system during all wash system (using various compo-
the EU label are the Edy/
programmes. This not only rein- nents to construct your own
Nordland range and the Hoover
forces the cleaning effect but washing powder), according to
New Wave. However, there are
also saves detergent, requiring the Ö÷ko-Institut, Freiburg,
several others on the market that
20% less detergent than a Germany.
qualify for the criteria, but have
not applied for the label.

Water Brand Water litres/kg Electricity kWh/kg

The EU label says that a machine Creda 17088 Cascade Eco Wash 15.0 0.26
must use less than or equal to 15
litres of water per kg of Hoover Quattro AE160 9.8 0.19
washload. The US Green Seal Edy/Nordland (Frenko) 10.4 0.21
Class ‘A’ certification level
requires that maximum per cycle AEG OKO_Lavamat 610 16.6 0.22
water use shall be no greater AEG OKO_Lavamat 86720 7.8 0.18
than 11.0 gal/ft3/cycle.
Frigidaire FWT445GE (estimated) 12.0 0.10
The Nordic Swan takes its
aggregate approach again: EU ecolabel criteria 15.0 0.23

W <= 32 l/kg where W=

Table 3: Water and electricity use comparisons



Creda 17088
0.25 x

x Edy/Nordland x
Energy use, kWh/kg

x AEG 610 (1990)
x Hoover Quattro AE 160
0.15 AEG 86720 (1997)

0.1 x
Frigidaire FWT 445GE (Est.)

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Water use, litres/kg

Figure 2: Energy and water use

Machine comparisons
Table 3 shows some comparisons Standard Energy use per year in kWh
of water and electricity use by (V = cabinet volume)
brand. Green Seal 1993 0.48 V + 299
Refrigeration Green Seal 2001 0.31 V + 248.4
Taking our white box and adding Nordic Swan fridge freezer 0.36 V + 230
insulation, a compressor and a
refrigerant, we get a refrigerator. Nordic Swan larder fridge 0.24 V + 130

Home refrigerators are a

Table 4: Refrigerators – energy use
significant user of world electric-
ity; hundreds of millions are
market is in the ratio of about Now new standards continue to
currently in use, and 58 million
1:3. Improvements have been drive efficiency, although gains
new units are manufactured
steady — in the US, new are beginning to take off (see
worldwide each year. The main
compressor technology which Table 4).
environmental impacts result
was introduced during the 1980s
from the use of electrical energy For example, the Danish firm
helped reduce annual refrigerator
and the use and possible emis- Vestfrost produce Vestfrost
energy use from 1500 kilowatt
sion of refrigerants and foaming SKF375 with a capacity of 2961
hours (kWh) to 900 kWh per
agents that could deplete the which uses 0.88 kWh a day or
year in 1990. Between 1980 and
ozone (O3) layer and contribute 321.2kWh per year. The Nordic
1990, according to the US
to global warming. label requires an annual energy
Department of Energy (DOE) the
use of (296*0.36)+230 = 336.56,
Energy energy-efficient refrigerator
and the Vestfrost qualifies. The
The difference in energy compressors saved US consumers
US Green Seal goal requires
consumption between the best $6 billion in energy costs.
(296*0.31)+248.4 = 340.16, and so
and worst machines on the



it meets that, too. The Vestfrost committed to replacing chloro- the EU to be awarded an eco-
has the EU ecolabel, which fluorocarbons (CFCs) with label for refrigerators, and is one
requires that the appliance must hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) such of the world’s largest producers
qualify for either energy class as R134a, a compound with a of refrigerators and freezers,
‘A’ or ‘B’ as defined in Directive global warming potential three with a turnover of DKK 1.4
94/2/EC, Annex V. thousand times greater than billion. It introduced its first
carbon dioxide (CO2). When a greenfreeze model in 1993 and
The Bosch KKI3301GB fridge/
professor from South Bank the following year found produc-
freezer is 300 litres and uses 412
University in the UK came to tion had increased by 39 per cent
kWh per year, and so would not
give his talk on using propane/ to 725,000 units compared to
qualify for Nordic or Green Seal.
butane as a substitute, people the previous financial year.
The Bosch KDR3701 larder fridge
literally laughed at him and said
at 363 l and 135 kWh per year
it was unfeasible and dangerous.
would meet those goals. The four design
Yet within two or three years,
Users of refrigerators do not requirements for
the ‘greenfreeze revolution’ took
make as big a difference as they sustainable products
off, led by Greenpeace and the
do for washing machines, but
small German manufacturer DKK The ‘biothinking’ model shows
there are various guidelines that
Scharfenstein. Now all manufac- how technologies can become
are worth following:
turers use hydrocarbon refriger- fully compatible with nature. The
· the door or lid should not be
ants, finding that they are first three mimick the protocols
opened more often than
efficient, have no ozone deple- used by plant and animal eco-
needed and no longer than
tion potential and very low systems.
necessary, especially with
global warming potential. The Cyclic: The product is made
regard to upright freezers
explosion risk is negligible — a from organic materials, and is
· hot foodstuffs should be
fridge contains as much propane recyclable or compostable, or is
allowed to cool down before
as a cigarette lighter does. made from minerals that are
placing in the appliance, as the
The propane/butane mix of continuously cycled in a ‘closed
steam from the foodstuffs
refrigerant is effectively required loop’.
contributes to the icing up
of the evaporator unit in order to meet the EU eco- Solar: The product uses solar
label, as it states, ‘the refriger- energy or other forms of renew-
· the evaporator unit should be
ants in the refrigerating circuit able energy, both during use and
kept clean from thick layers of
and foaming agents used for the manufacture.
ice and that frequent defrosting
insulation of the appliance shall
facilitates the removal of the Safe: The product is non-toxic in
have an ozone depletion poten-
ice cover use and disposal, and its manufac-
tial equal to zero, and shall have
· the radiator on the back of the ture does not involve toxic
a global warming potential equal
appliance and the space under- releases or the disruption of
to, or lower than, 15 (rated as
neath the appliance should be ecosystems.
carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents
kept clean from dust or kitchen
over a period of 100 years).’ The fourth requirement is based
on the need to maximise the
The Green Seal Class ‘A’
Refrigerants utility of resources in a finite
certification also disallows HFCs
Back in 1991, the author organ- world:
by stating that, ‘products shall
ised a seminar on ‘refrigerators not contain any chemicals that Efficient: The product in
and the environment’. Large are ozone-depleting or have manufacture and use requires
chemical firms such as ICI and significant global-warming 90% less materials, energy and
Rhone Poulenc and some fridge potential’. water than products providing
manufacturers spoke at the equivalent utility did in 1990.
Vestfrost is the first company in
event. They were all totally



For a given product, it is possible April 2001 with an initial recy-

to score each of these require- cling capacity of 360,000 units a
50 ments out of 100, and this infor- year.
80 mation can be expressed in a
Washing machines and dish-
simple logo (see Figure 3).
washers can be engineered to
50 play more of a role in the water
Potential innovations that would
F10 60 cycle. Given the use of a suitable
move white goods towards true
detergent and a filtering system,
sustainability can be identified
effluent can be made good
by considering each of the four
enough quality to flush toilets or
Figure 3: ‘Biothinking’ score requirements in turn:
be applied to gardens. The
for Frenko washing machine
Cyclic compounds removed from
Appliances can become 100% clothing (blood, sweat, food
recyclable, from their current stains, etc.) are usually suitable
Where level of 70 to 85%. This would for composting and could be
mean paying attention to metal treated in a bio-system such as a
renewable paints and finishes, and perhaps
opting for an unpainted box of
reed bed or mussel tank. Such a
system could be engineered to

energy is brushed recycled stainless steel

or recycled aluminium. The
look like a domestic appliance
or could be centralised within a
paints could be more cyclic in
available their manufacture and applica-
housing area.

tion, such as the vegetable-
for hot water derived water based paints from
Where renewable energy is
available for hot water heating,
companies like Auro and
heating, as Holzweg. An improvement on
as in Iceland or Sweden, then
any of today’s washing machines
this would be to have more re-
in Iceland or use, becoming more like a refur-
hooked up as ‘hot fill’ will
become 80% solar. Adding
bishment process, as exemplified
renewable electricity, such as
Sweden, then by Xerox in their photocopier
remanufacturing process. In this
that supplied by a Green Tariff
or the householder’s own wind
any of today’s case, elements like motors and
drums and refrigerants would be
or photovoltaic (PV) supplies,
would make the washing
refurbished to meet their origi-
washing nal quality specifications, and
machine 100% solar, as would
hooking up a refrigerator to such
built into new appliances. Steps
machines are already being made towards
a connection.
this by Miele, who ‘take back’ Solar manufacture would tackle
hooked up machines. In Japan, Sharp the 5% or so of lifetime energy
Corporation and Mitsubishi that is not covered in the use
as hot fill Materials Corporation phase. This would require
announced in August 1999 that connecting the steelworks and
will become they would set up a joint venture
in October 1999 in Osaka to
assembly plant to a renewable
source. In the case of the

80% solar. recycle Sharp-made electric

home appliances, including TV
aluminium mentioned above,
the remelting process is already
sets, refrigerators, washing likely to be powered by renew-
machines and air-conditioners. able Icelandic or Norwegian
The plant will start operation in electricity.



If a washing machine is set up as Eliminating the toxic emissions

hot fill, or cold water washing is of the manufacturing stages
being used, then the agitation would require looking at a wide
process is all that remains — a range of suppliers’ activities, but
very light energy requirement is possible. For example, while
which could in theory be met by there are no zero-emission
a ‘secondary renewable’ source chroming processes at the
such as muscle power, perhaps moment, a ceramic or plastic
via a pedal/exercise bicycle washing machine drum could be
system. used. Another example is the
ecosystem impacts of metals Figure 4: Laundry disc electromagnetic
mining could be avoided by detergent substitute
Much of the water impacts are
using only recovered metals,
from the detergent, so eliminat-
and in the interim high impact
ing detergent would be good for
metals such as copper could be
reducing lifetime aquatic toxic-
reduced, as in the low copper
ity. The use of laundry disks (see
motors used in Philips’ Eco
Figure 4) or balls has already
Vision vacuum cleaner.
become widespread. They work
with a ceramic surface or Efficient
replaceable crystals which A large part of the mass of a
change the tension of the water washing machine is the base,
to make it ‘wetter’ in the same which is needed for stability. A
way surfactants do, although report from Merloni, the Italian
they do not replace stain manufacturer, compared
removers or bleaches or condi- concrete and cast iron counter-
tioners. Such disks last for up to weights. The former material
700 washes, and a manufacturer won, registering less than half
could incorporate the same tech- the ecopoints of the latter.
Figure 5: Soapnut natural washing
nology into the drum of a Going one step further is to use
machine, and then sell a special water chamber as a base. This
kit of conditioner, bleach and reduces both manufacturing and
stain remover that can be applied transportation impacts. However,
as necessary — although these a foolproof way of avoiding stag-
products are already available nation in this chamber is also
separately. required.
Vegetable detergents would Using ambient outdoor energy
eliminate the use of petrochemi- is possible, as in the Fria concept
cals, and several are already on fridge developed by Ursula
the market. An interesting vari- Tischner at ec(o)ncept – which
ant on this is the Soap Nut, liter- is built into an outside wall and
ally a nut from India which has has a larder section, making use
good cleaning properties. In of European winter conditions to
most of Europe, you can find on maintain a cool temperature for
the edges of forest a plant called various foodstuffs.
soapwort (Saponaria officinalis),
Three water inputs — the Nordic
the leaves of which should be
eco-label on washing machines
boiled in an enamel pan to make Figure 6: Fria concept fridge by
postulates that machines are best
a nice gentle soap solution. Ursula Tischner of ec(o)ncept
connected to both hot and cold



The appliances are equipped

with a ‘state of the art’ regula-
tion system, built with new
strong velcro
8 layers of thick hardware (specific microchips,
cotton for ‘mini computers’ that regulate
the appliances). New sensors,
developed especially from
Merloni Elettrodomestici, supply
100% brushed
unbleached cotton
the microchip with all the neces-
soft elastic leg
bands and waistband sary information to guarantee a
better performance and the
lowest possible consumption
(water, power, etc.).

Figure 6: A ‘superterry’-style nappy with flushable liner Conclusion

Over the past fifteen years, there
water supplies. If a third line for flushable paper liner and a have been substantial improve-
lukewarm water from waste heat washable cotton outer that ments in the eco-efficiency of
or solar collectors was added, needs to washed much less white goods in use. The amount
then the system could become frequently than standard terries. electricity needed to run a fridge
optimal. for a day, and the amount of
More precise control through
Cold water detergents, and improved electronics and coor- water, electricity and detergent
design of machines for their use, dination. Italian firm Merloni has needed to wash a kilogramme of
would result in up to 80% energy launched its ‘Ariston Digital’ laundry have approximately
savings. range of domestic appliances, halved. However, the rate of
which have the ability to improvement is starting to level
Apart from recycling waste off, and attention must focus on
communicate with one another
water, it may also be possible to turning white goods into systems
and the outside world. Via an
capture waste heat. Michael that are fully compatible with
external telephone or within
Rowe, an electrical engineering nature. In particular, more
the house through the mains
professor at Cardiff University’s progress needs to be made to
circuits, each appliance
School of Engineering in Wales achieve the goals of:
constantly transmits information
used a series of thermocouples
to the Assistance Centre on their · ‘closed loop’ appliance
to generate current from heated
running conditions or possible recovery and remanufacture;
water, successfully powering a
faults. The Centre is therefore · recovery and zero toxicity of
colour TV from bathwater. The
aware, at all times, of how much washing machine effluent;
University has received a $2.9
power is being consumed and · effective low temperature
million grant from the Japanese
can regulate the consumption washing;
New Energy Development
accordingly, so as to avoid the · zero toxicity in manufacture
Organisation (NEDO) to develop
risk of a black-out. They are also · use of 100% renewable energy
commercial products based on
able to decide, should a black- in manufacture and use.
the idea. (Source: Environmental
out be likely to occur, which
News Service)
appliance should be given prior- A free course on using the Cyclic,
Clothing design for stain target- ity, eg. the washing machine Solar, Safe principles is available at
ing can be achieved for example over the oven. At the same time, www.biothinking. com •
by having shirts with removable they can make appliances run
cuffs, collar and even armpits. more intensely during off-peak,
The ‘superterry’ nappy has a cheaper rate hours.



Green cotton

Novotex A/S in Denmark are involved · cutting and sewing

in the private label production and · use and recycling.
sales of Green Cotton textiles which
include: T-shirts, sweat-shirts, jogging The company have attained EMAS
suits, casualwear, shirts/blouses, and ISO14001 for its environmental
skirts/dresses, trousers, jackets, tights, management systems, and the EU
socks, suits, pullovers, cardigans, (flower) eco-labelling criteria for
underwear, nightwear, bedlinen, T-shirts and the Nordic (Swan)
towels and bathrobes. The Novotex eco-label for textiles
eco-product development process aims
Design philosophy
to minimise environmental impacts
throughout lifecycle of the 'textiles ‘Green Cotton is a basic product that
cycle': comes in close contact with the body.
The clothing that carries the Green
· cultivation
Cotton label must be a pleasure to
· ginning
wear. Our priorities are comfort,
· spinning, knitting and weaving
quality, a good fit and utility.’
· dyeing and printing Source: Novotex A/S corporate


Since 1991, researchers from the Instit · CGFTE (transit opeartor)

National de Recherche en Informatique · Dassault Electronique (electronics
et en Automatique (INRIA) and INRETS company)
in France have been working on a new · ECDF (electric utility)
concept for intelligent transportation
· Renault (car manufacturer).
systems for the cities of tommorrow.
The prime focus of the research and This programme enables more efficient
development has been on: use of vehicles (private cars remain
· car-sharing stationary for 95% of their lifetime),
reduced environmental impact and
· intelligent vehicles.
reduced congestion.
A pilot public transport system project
The second project – Cycab – was
for urban areas called Praxitele has
established by Avenir-Havas in 1997.
been established in Saint-Quentin-en-
Cycab is an electric vehicle designed
Yvellines in France utilising 50 self-
and developed specifically for car-free
service electric vehicles from Renault
cities using manual or automatic
based at five recharging stations.
computer control. Avenir-Havas in is to limit the use of private cars in
The Praxitele project has been devel- partnership with a number of cities is cities by offering an attractive trans-
oped through the cooperation of a range now studying the possibility of imple- portation alternative with lower noise,
of industrial partners: menting a new transporatation system energy use and pollution, and that
based on these vehicles. The objective creates fewer parking problems.



Solar lantern

The SL48 lantern, designed by BP Solar International, converts sunshine

into DC power through the use of photovoltaic cells. The power is stored by
high capacity, high temperature nickel cadmium batteries until required.
The company says the lantern is designed to last for years and is capable
of resisting the roughest treatment in the worst conditions.

The lantern has been built by the company’s Systems Development Unit, a
group of specialist engineers, who design photovoltaic systems for applica-
tions which include lighting, water pumping, refrigeration and water treat-
ment. It is currently developing a range of hybrid systems varying in size
Solar module
between 10 and 1500W which may combine solar energy, wind energy and
Type: High stability crystalline silicon diesel to produce a cost effective and reliable means of power generation.
Power: 9/10 watts at 6 volts DC
Lifetime: 10 to 15 years
Light Unit
Construction: ABS/Polycarbonate Lamp: 8 inch 8 watt fluorescent
Impact resistant Light output: Equivalent to 40 watt incandescent
Water resistant to BS 5490 Lamp life: Typically 3 years (2000 starts)
Lifetime: 10 to 15 years Switch: Water resistant flick switch
Dimensions: 560x90x337mm Inverter: 6 volt high frequency type
Weight: 4kg Inverter life: Typically 5 years depending on service,
Spare parts environment and usage rate
· solar module Battery pack: 6 volt, 4 ampere hour Nicad
· battery pack Battery life: Typically 3 years
· 8 watt tube
The lantern incorporates a solar module, control electronics,
· switch/inverter assembly
rechargeable battery pack and 8 watt fluorescent tube in a tough
polycarbonate case. The 8 watt fluorescent tube provides as much
light as a typical 40 watt incandescent light bulb, suitable for general
room lighting or for close work such as reading.



A day in the life of a

sustainable solutions
designer in 2020
Ursula Tischner|
Director, ec(o)ncept, Germany

Ursula Tischner studied architecture The brief estsblished and agreed with
and Industrial Design in Aachen and their suppliers and ‘end of life’
normally start my workday
Wuppertal, Germany, and specialised
in eco-design. From 1992 to 1996 she
I with a cup of coffee (fair
trade and organically grown, of

worked at the Wuppertal Institute for

course) in the garden and first of Research
Climate, Environment and Energy in the
all read my e-mails on my
field of ecology and design. At the To give me an overview of the
laptop. Ah, my customer in the
Institute she was engaged in theoreti- ‘state of the art’ of heaters I go
household appliance sector
cal and practical projects and wrote a to Internet and research the
wants me to design a new small
guide for environment-friendly product home pages of my client’s
heater for apartments in energy
design on behalf of the Austrian competitors and the industry
efficient buildings. He has sent a
Ministry for Science and Research, association where I download
brief including information on
which was published in 1995. In lifecycle assessment (LCA) data
the target group, the final price,
1996 she established ec(o)ncept, a on the average heater. I also
and production costs. In
consultancy specialising in ecological browse through the databases of
addition, he has also indicated
considerations in product design the international and national
that he does not want to sell
based in Cologne, Germany. Now standardisation organisations.
the device outright, and that it
she advises small and medium sized Additionally I log into my
should be designed for leasing.
companies (SMEs) in eco-design and client’s Intranet to retrieve the
Good, I thought, since the
helps to implement environmental latest market research data on
European Commission estab-
improvements. She undertakes the needs of the target group. I
lished ‘take back’ laws for all
research projects, gives lectures in phone some typical representa-
products in 2015 and leasing
the field of ecology and design, tives of that target group, who
concepts and product ‘take back’
teaches at design schools and have applied as voluntary test
strategies have become more
develops environmentally sound users and have a short chat
and more popular. Products are
products and service-concepts. about their ideas on good
not sold but leased and if the
heaters. I thought it was
user does not want to use them
interesting that most of the
any more, they are returned to
consumers are aware of environ-
the producer and are systemati-
mental issues associated with
cally remanufactured/repaired/
heaters and some also think
recycled. Attached to the e-mail
about social and ethical issues
I find the company quality
when they buy a product or
guidelines, which also consist of
the environmental and social
aspects that the company has



sub-contractors organise smaller

repairs and maintenance inde-
pendently, collect the worn out
products, separate the durables
from the other components and
return them both into the best
recycling processes.

After we agree on the scope of
project development, the targets
and timescales, I start to develop
ideas for a new and better
heater. First of all I define exactly
the function of the product.
Then I brainstorm by scribbling
and sketching down ideas (I still
like to scribble by hand although
there are some very good 3D-
modelling computer programs
available now). I work through
an eco-design checklist for
household appliances on my
Figure 1: Eco-concepts
computer with hot-button links
to appropriate websites and data-
Product development the environmental, social and bases – to make sure that I have
ethical issues along the not forgotten any of the relevant
I then contact my client’s
company’s supply chain and environmental aspects in the
product development team via
throughout the product life- whole lifecycle of the product.
Intranet and we have a
cycle). The product development Since our government started to
videoconference to discuss the
team decides that because the fund systematic research on the
specifications of the new
product should be leased and lifecycle impact of products and
product. The team consists of the
taken back by the company, it is services there is now very reli-
marketing manager, executives
important to design a modular able data available. I also check
from the purchasing and the
structure where technical an Internet database on new
sales departments and produc-
components and all parts that materials to find out, if any new
tion engineers, as well as the
have a short life span could be renewable or smart materials
sustainability manager (the
exchanged, while the durable have been developed. I do the
sustainability manager is a new
components could cleaned and same at the Network of
position that the company has
reused. We therefore decide that Environmental Research &
established recognising that
it may be useful to work Development (a United Nations
many companies have had very
together with local repair and sponsored project) where the
bad customer relationships
recycling centres and use their current findings of universities
because they were not aware of
optimised logistics systems to and research institutes are avail-
the environmental and social
avoid transportation. These types able free of charge. After this I
impacts of their business activi-
of reuse and recycling partner- develop three interesting
ties. He coordinates business
ships are becoming more and designs, and scan the drawings
sustainability programmes and
more common today. The local into my project folder, write up



Information, design and

Back at home I find a reply from
the product development team
in my email box. They are
especially interested in the
product solution no. 3 called
‘dematerialisation’. This was a
design where I tried to fulfil the
function by using the smallest
amount of material and energy.
But now I have to detail the
solution to establish if the
concept could be achieved and
if it is also environmentally and
socially friendly from ‘cradle to
cradle’. Via Intranet I log into
my customer’s database to access
information about their produc-
tion capabilities and the suppli-
Figure 2: UNEP WG–SPD homepage ers with whom they have estab-
lished supply chain and ‘end of
life’ partnerships. The Intranet
also gives me access to the main
the description of the concepts arguments. Furthermore he tells
supplier databases, where I can
and send them via Intranet to me that they have had some
find information on different
the product development team. adverse publicity resulting from
product components and their
their last Environmental/Social
environmental specifications. I
Audit – that is regularly
Marketing completed by an Independent
am now able to do a rough LCA
estimation for the whole product
Then I fix a date with the Consumer Organisation and
lifecycle by using the MIPS
marketing manager and we meet published via Internet. As a
method (Material Input per unit
in the city to have lunch result the company management
of Service). Because some of the
together. I suggest trying the new has decided to have a strong
LCA results have been unclear I
SusFood bar which only provides emphasis on these ‘softer’con-
contact, via my videophone,
organic meals and drinks from siderations in the design and
some specialists from my expert
fair trade projects. Because my delivery of their new products.
network to discuss problematic
bike is at the repair service, I call He also asks me to think about
areas. Through the use of a
the local community rikshaw icons for the product graphic
spider web diagram, a visualisa-
service to take me to my meet- that will communicate these
tion tool to compare different
ing venue. There we discuss the considerations in a positive and
designs, I check if I can optimise
marketing strategy for the new attractive way. Finally we discuss
the product by using another
product. We want to communi- the financial strategy that he has
material or another construction.
cate the environment-friendli- to work out with their financial
Then I check again to see if I am
ness and social responsibility of partners as the leasing strategies
still in line with my customer’s
our new product as a ‘nice to need investment over time and
quality guidelines. I also consider
have’ aspect for the consumers have an extended pay-back
the Black (forbidden) and White
because we know that our target period.
(allowed) material lists – these
group is aware of these



Figure 3: Spider diagram

have become increasingly …and finally

important as the link between
Sitting in my garden and drinking
hazardous materials and health
a glass of organically grown red
problems have become a global
wine from 2000 I think about
concern. At the end of the day I
the time – maybe 20 years ago –
scan my product sketch into the
when it was still very rare to
computer and a program creates
consider (as a product designer),
an animated 3D model. It also
the whole product lifecycle and
includes data for rapid proto-
the environmental as well as
typing, that could be used by the
social aspects of solutions design
company to produce a real 3D
and delivery. In 2000 it was still
model within a very short time.
very difficult to get good infor-
I send the 3D model animation
mation and there was very little
and my description to my
communication along the supply
customer’s product development
chain and between the ‘end of
team and finish my work for
life’ actors and the producers.
And I feel quite satisfied with
the work I completed today. ª•



Sustainable Product
Research Network (SPRN)
Martin Charter|
Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

SPRN aims to disseminate Dematerialisation tate such leapfrogging will be

information on current and future researched including key ques-
ksana Mont of the
research in eco-design and
sustainable product design.
O International Institute
of Industrial Environmental
tions such as: can de-
materialisation serve as a
strategic tool for facilitating
SPRN will publish summaries Economics (IIIEE) at Lund
and sustaining development of
of PhD, post doctoral or other University in Sweden is under-
industrialising countries?; where
research projects. taking a PhD that explores the
should investments be made in
concept of dematerialisation as a
SPRN provides a resource for order to facilitate sustainable
means to leapfrog outdated tech-
researchers to network and keep development?; and what are the
nology. The key focus of the
up to date with new research. barriers to that?
research is: can dematerialisation
Areas of coverage include: help countries in transition ✉ Oksana Mont, Researcher,
International Institute of Industrial
· sustainable product development leapfrog by turning them into
Environmental Economics (IEEE),
· sustainable consumption more service-orientated Lund University, Sweden
· management of eco-design economies. The concept of
· green marketing dematerialisation will be studied
· eco-design strategies by concentrating on issues such
· eco-design tools as ‘added value’ through services Strategies to promote
· life cycle costing and the substitution of products organic food
· new materials with services. The project’s goals Pia Heidenmark is completing a
are to analyse the dematerialisa- PhD study at IIIEE into the
tion concept and find successful organic food market. Interest in
examples of implementation in the supply of organic food has
developed countries, as well as risen substantially in Sweden
the policy instruments that during the last decade and several
supported these strategies. The retail chains now have organic
target groups to be researched food policies. However, supply
will be academia, industry and is still unsatisfactory and the
policymakers. The key objective Swedish agricultural sector is
is to analyse the development lagging behind Denmark –
paths of specific industrialising where an ecological ‘boom’ has
countries to investigate if they occurred. Danish food products
are able to catch up with devel- are now penetrating the Swedish
oped countries by leapfrogging market because domestic supply
post industrial technologies with connot fulfil demand. The
knowledge-based services. The purpose of the study is to find
strategic issues that might facili- means to increase and improve



the communication and co- environmental product informa- to involve industrial designers in
operation along the Swedish tion has been identified as an the process of eco-design.
food supply chain by involving important element of any envi-
This collaborative project
all actors in the process. The ronmental strategy that aims to
between Electrolux and Cranfield
project will analyse strategies to improve the environmental
University, aims to address this
increase the supply and demand performance of products from a
problem and investigate how
for organic food products. life cycle perspective. A key
industrial designers can be
✉ Pia Heidenmark, Researcher, consideration is that the
actively encouraged to partici-
International Institute of Industrial management of environmental
pate in eco-design. The intended
Environmental Economics (IEEE), product information should
outcome of the study is to
Lund University, Sweden remain cost-effective as well as provide new information and
credible. The issue of good
potentially new approaches to
information is being highlighted
improve the way in which indus-
Remanufacturing or the within recent discussions
trial designers tackle eco-design.
back-track factory concerning Integrated Product
Policy (IPP). This research will The aims of the project will be:
Remanufacturing has been include a review of existing and · to determine how eco-design
covered from a wide range of planned environmental product thinking can be encouraged in
perspectives and generally information systems (EPIS) and industrial design
appears to be a promising an analysis of the process of · to identify the most effective
approach to the future problems transferring information to methods being used by compa-
of waste generation and actors along the supply chain. nies to communicate eco-
resources shortages. However, The review will include national design thinking to their
relatively few products are and sectoral initiatives such as designers
remanufactured today. Nicholas environmental product declara- · to look at how industrial
Jacobsson of IIIEE is completing tions as well as company specific design skills can be/are being
a PhD study into how remanu- systems found in larger enter- used to benefit eco-design
facturing applies to industry and prises. The purpose of the · to identify ideas and
what factors are crucial for a research is to identify possible approaches which may be
further expansion of the concept areas of improvement in existing suitable for use in mainstream
worldwide. systems and the informational industrial design.
✉ Nicolas Jacobsson, Researcher, needs of the stakeholders in the
International Institute of Industrial The project will involve collect-
product chain.
Environmental Economics (IEEE), ing data from companies and
Lund University, Sweden ✉ Karin Jonsson, Researcher,
organisations that show particu- International Institute of Industrial
Environmental Economics (IEEE), lar prowess in design and/or
Lund University, Sweden eco-design. For example, infor-
Environmental product infor- mation will be drawn from the
work carried out by; industrial
mation/communication as a
designers in inherently green
product management tool Involving the industrial companies, designers in pro-
Karin Jonsson is completing a designer in eco-design active companies and eco-design
PhD research project at IIIEE Although the most proactive focused design consultancies.
covering environmental product companies are clearly recognis- Particular attention will be paid
information. This area is being ing the benefits and necessity of to creativity, communication and
increasingly recognised as a key environmental commitment education processes.
component of proactive eco- within their organisation, little By benchmarking a broad range
product development. The research has been carried out to of companies it is anticipated
continuous supply of relevant help companies understand how that a detailed picture of the



current best practice approaches ing, generic approaches to help industrial designers, in turn
to eco-design, being used by industrial designers to develop this should lead to a greater
industrial designers, can be built their understanding and understanding of how the
up. Appropriate ideas will be approach to eco-design, will design profession should tackle
selected from the findings to be be produced. eco-design. •
developed for testing on the
It is anticipated that the ✉ Vicky Lofthouse, Eco Innovations
Electrolux design team, through Group, Cranfield University, UK.
outcome of this project will lead
live design projects, to help them
to the development of a clearer
tackle eco-design. Through a
picture of how successful eco-
process of testing and develop-
design can be achieved by



O2 France and O2 Belgium

Professor Martin Chartern
Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

The Journal of Sustainable Product Product design and For each case history, key eco-
Design has developed a partnership theenvironment design strategies are highlighted
with the O2 Global Network to further by a set of pictograms under-
new publication about
disseminate information and ideas on
eco-design and sustainable product A eco-design featuring 90
examples from around the
scoring nine key eco-design
approaches. •
design. O2 Global Network is an
international network of ecological world is now available. This is a
designers. The O2 Global Network is bilingual French/English book
organised into national O2 groups published by the French Agency
which work together to provide various for Environment and Energy
services such as: O2 Broadcasts, which Management (ADEME) with Large-scale demonstration
O2 France. The book has been
report live from O2 events using email project on eco-design
and the Worldwide Web (WWW); O2 written for companies (design-
ers, R&D, marketing managers, In Belgium, a large-scale demon-
Text meetings, a meeting place on the
environmental managers, stration project on eco-design
Web; the O2 WWW pages, which
communication managers), started in September 1999. The
provides an overview of activities; O2
consultants, laboratories and project is funded by the
Gallery, an exhibition of eco-products
research bodies, design and European LIFE programme (ref.
on the Web; and, an O2 mailing list.
engineering schools. LIFE99 ENV/B/000639) and is
For further information on the above executed by the Regional
This publication aims to illus-
activities and the O2 Global Network Development Authority of West
trate the eco-design concept and
contact: O2 Global Network Flanders (GOM West-
promote its increased integra-
Tourslaan 39 Vlaanderen), VDAB Training and
tion in business. It shows the
5627 KW Eindhoven Education and Vito (Flemish
different forms of eco-design,
The Netherlands Institute for Technological
through case studies that have
tel/fax: +31 40 2428 483 Research) in Belgium.
been researched worldwide.
O2 Global Network new homepage: The goal of the project is to give Chapter 1 covers each stage of a
Flemish industry the opportunity
e-mail: product's life (life cycle
to build up knowledge and expe-
mailinglist: approach). Chapter 2 discusses
rience in the area of sustainable
uk/lists.o2global.db the need to inform and appeal
product design (eco-design) and
to consumers (communication).
to stimulate companies to imple-
‘O2 News’ will update readers of Chapter 3 emphasises the
ment eco-design.
the Journal on the latest eco-design importance of co-operation and
issues from around the world and sharing (management). Finally The project runs over a 2.5 year
on O2’s national activities. Chapter 4 illustrates the period and includes the follow-
inspiration that can be found in ing stages:
ecosystems and dematerialisa- · research to select 50
tion (natural principles, services, companies to participate
factor 4). in the project



· screening of the eco-design The results of the demonstration · developing course material for
potential of selected companies project will include: teaching eco-design to the
by means of a Quick Scan · fine-tuning of the Quick Scan different actors in the product
instrument developed by Vito instrument, developed to chain: product developers,
· developing an eco-design screen the eco-design potential companies, suppliers,
project in 20 companies of a company customers and authorities.
covering one specific product · putting into practice a scheme
The first phase of the project
(selected after the screening for selecting the most appropri-
(selection of 50 companies)
of eco-design potential) ate eco-design instrument for a
started in September 1999 and is
· implementation of eco-design company;
planned to be finalised by the
in product development in 5 · setting up a stepwise approach
end of November 1999. Then, the
companies (selected out of 20 to integrate the eco-design
screening of the eco-design
at the end of the previous concept in a company, with
potential of the companies will
phase) taking account of the particular attention to the
be launched. •
company's specific situation. company's specific situation
This stage in the project will be An Vercalsteren, UNITO
(culture, internal procedures,
finalised by translating the
‘green’ product concept into a · developing an economic
marketable product and the assessment methodology which
introduction of these products can be used to screen the
in the market economic viability of individual
· dissemination of the results of options for environmental
the demonstration project. improvement



16–17 September 1999 22–25 September 1999 13–16 October 1999

The 8th Annual Business Strategy ‘International Conference on Envirotech ’99 – 5th International
and the Environment Conference Industrial Ecology and Exhibition on Environment
Leeds, UK Substainability’ Protection Technologies
✉ Elaine White University of Technology of Troyes, Tunis, Tunisia
Conference Co-ordinator France ✉ Conference Secretariat
ERP Environment ✉ Conference Secretariat +216 1 773 822
PO Box 75 Universite de Technologie de Troyes +216 1 809 200
Shipley Departement TSH
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BD17 6EZ F-10010 3–5 November 1999
UK Troyes Cedex Business for Social Responsibility
+44 1274 530408 France Conference
+44 1274 530409 +33 3 25 71 76 90 San Francisco, USA +33 3 25 71 76 98
✉ Conference Secretariat
Business for Social Responsibility
21–23 September 1999 609 Mission Street
The Future of Waste Management 28–30 September 1999 2nd Floor
and Minimisation Conference Eco-Design from Life Cycle Analysis San Francisco
London, UK to Life Cycle Managementî CA 94105 ñ3506
✉ Jennie Hung Paris, France USA
37–41 Mortimer House ✉ Sophie Noel +1 415 537 0888
Mortimer Street Euroforum 35 +1 415 537 0889
London W1N 7RJ rue Grenata
+44 171 637 4383 75002 Paris
+44 171 631 3214 France 10–12 November 1999 +33 1 44 88 14 63 The Fourth International Conference
+33 1 44 88 14 99 on Ecomaterials
21–24 September 1999 Gifu, Japan
Pollutec Industry ’99 – 15th +81 3 3503 4681
International Exhibition of 6 October 1999 +81 3 3597 0535
Environment Equipment, Making Stark Choices: Greenpeace
Technologies & Services for Business 4th annual conference
Industry London, UK 10–12 November 1999
Paris, France ✉ Conference Secretariat The Fourth International Conference
✉ Ilse Dopper Centaur Publishing Ltd on Ecomaterials
70 rue Rivay St Giles House Gifu, Japan
92532 Perret 50 Poland Street
France London W1V 4AX
✉ Conference Secretariat
+81 3 3503 4681
+33 1 4756 21 12 +44 171 970 4770 +81 3 3597 0535
+33 1 4756 21 10 +44 171 970 4799
14–17 November 1999
21–24 September 1999 13–14 October 1999
Sustainability: Ways of
Waste Tech 99 – international New Purchasing Factor 4+ Knowing/Ways of Acting
exhibition & conference on Congress and Trade Fair North Carolina, USA
waste management Klagenfurt, Austria
✉ Stuart Hart
Moscow, Russia ✉ Christopher Manstein Kenan-Flagler Business School
✉ Conference Secretariat Klagenfurter Messe University of North Carolina
+7 095 975 3423 Betriebsges m.b.H Chapel Hill or Messeplatz 1 North Carolina 27599-3490 A-9021 Klagenfurt| USA
Austria +1 919 843 9731
+43 463 800 71 +1 919 843 9667
+43 463 800 29



22–24 March 2000 13-15 June 2000 September 2000

GLOBE 2000 Eco-Efficiency 2000 Conference: A ‘Towards Sustainable Product
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Business-Oriented Event Design’, 5th International
✉ Conference Secretariat Towards Sustainable Economic Growth Conference
GLOBE Foundation Stockholm, Sweden Berlin, Germany
504-999 Canada Place ✉ Conference Secretariat ❽ Martin Charter/Russell White
Vancouver The Centre for Sustainable Design
BC V6C 3E1 Faculty of Design
Canada 29-30 June 2000 The Surrey Institute of Art & Design,
+1 604 775 7300 Eco-Management and Auditing University College
+1 604 666 8123 Conference/Symposium on Culture, Falkner Road Organisations and the Environment Farnham
Leeds, UK Surrey
13–14 April 2000
✉ Elaine White GU9 7DS
International Sustainable Research ERP Environment UK
Conference PO Box 75 +44 (0) 1252 892772
Leeds, UK Shipley +44 (0) 1252 892747
✉ Elaine White West Yorkshire
ERP Environment BD17 6EZ
PO Box 75 UK 18–20 October 2000
Shipley +44 (0) 1274 530408 2nd EURO ENVIRONMENT 2000
West Yorkshire +44 (0) 1274 530409 conference
BD17 6EZ Aalborg, Denmark
+44 (0) 1274 530408 2–4 July 1999
✉ Conference Secretariat
Aalborg Congress and Culture Centre
+44 (0) 1274 530409 Renewable Energy 2000 Europa Plads 4 Brighton, UK PO Box 149

25–27 April 2000

✉ Rob Schulp DK-9100 Aalborg
Reed Exhibition Companies Ltd +45 9935 5555
Exporec 2000 Oriel House +45 9935 5580
European Exhibition for Recycling 26 The Quadrant
Brussels Exhibition Centre Richmond
Belgium Surrey TW9 1DL
✉ Olivia Griscelli UK
+00 44 (0) 1707 275 641 +44 181 910 7976
+00 44 (0) 1707 275 544 +44 181 910 7989
5–9 June 1999
R2000: Recovery, Recycling, 3–6 September 2000
Re-integration Tribology in Environmental
Toronto, Canada Design 2000
✉ Anis Barrage Bournemouth, UK
C/o PEAK Ltd ✉ Christine Thwaites
Director of Congress Tribology Design Research Unit
Seefeldstraße 224 Bournemouth University
8008 Zurich Studland House
Switzerland 12 Christchurch Road
+41 1 386 4444 Bournemouth
+41 1 386 4445 UK +44 1202 503759
+44 1202 503751



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approximately 100 words of biographi- Issue 11: 17 September 1999
cal information on all authors. Issue 12: 17 December 1999
Issue 13: 17 March 2000


Environmentally printed by The Beacon Press
(ISO 14001 and EMAS accredited).
Text pages printed on Corona Offset, a NAPM
approved paper made from 100% post-consumer
waste which has not been re-bleached.
Covers printed on Conservation Bright White, a NAPM
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Printed with vegetable based inks.
ISSUE 10 : JULY 1999

The Journal of
Sustainable Product Design

5 Editorial
Martin Charter, Editor, The Journal of Sustainable Product Design

7 Making sustainability bite: transforming global consumption patterns
Nick Robins, Coordinator, Sustainable Markets Group, International Institute for
Environment and Development, UK

17 Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and eco-product development (EPD)

Professor Martin Charter and Inga Belmane, Co-ordinator and Researcher,
The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

30 Product-oriented environmental management systems: a case study

Cristina Rocha and Professor Han Brezet, Researcher, Department of Environmental
Strategy Studies, Instituto Nacional de Engenharia E Tecnologia Industrial (INETI),
Portugal and PhD researcher at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the
Netherlands and Professor at TU Delft and Director of the Design for Sustainability
Programme, the Netherlands

43 Progress towards sustainable design in the white goods sector

Edwin Datschefski, Founder and CEO, BioThinking International, UK

53 Green Cotton, Cycab and the SL48 Solar Lantern

55 A day in the life of a sustainable solutions designer in 2020
Ursula Tischner, Director, ec(o)ncept, Germany

59 Sustainable Product Research Network (SPRN)

O2 news
62 O2 France and O2 Belgium

64 Diary of events

The Centre for Sustainable Design

an initiative of

The Surrey Institute of Art & Design

University College