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ISSUE 9 : APRIL 1999

The Journal of
Sustainable Product Design

Re-PAIR Environmental
design choices
Product and services
development phases

+ –
Re-FINE Strategic

LCA applicability
Environmental efficacy

of design choices


– +


ISSN 1367–6679
Volvo Clean Air Initiative
Gallery, page 45

‘Green’ glassware by
Jonas Torstensson
and IBM Sweden
Innovation, page 51 Re-THINK
Re-FINE Relationship between the LCA
applicability, the environmental
efficacy of design choices and
ICL reconditions
the product development phases
unwanted PCs
Analysis, page 32
Gallery, page 45

An environmentally-considered
exhibition stand for the UK Council
for Environmental Education
Gallery, page 45
ISSUE 9 : APRIL 1999

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

7 Integrated Product Policy
Derek Smith, Senior Manager, Environmental Services Group, Ernst & Young, UK
12 Design for sustainability within the chemical industry: the case of
Akzo Nobel
Professor Jacqueline Cramer, Senior Consultant, Akzo Nobel, the Netherlands
20 Application of LCA in eco-design: a critical review
Professor Ab Stevels, Professor in Environmental Design; Professor Han Brezet,
Leader of the ‘Design for Sustainability’ Programme; and Jeroen Rombouts,
Researcher at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering; Delft University of
Technology, the Netherlands
27 An overview of life cycle design and information technology tools
Professor Carlo Vezzoli, CIR.IS, Industrial Design Department, Polytechnic
University of Milan, Italy
36 ‘Design for Environment’ software development
Winston Knight, Vice President, Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc., US; and Mark Curtis,
Director, Principal Partner of Design IV, UK

45 Volvo Clean Air Initiative, ICL reconditions unwanted PCs, Philips
Semiconductors’ GreenChip and making a stand

48 Dr Lutz-Günther Scheidt, Director, Environment Center Europe,
Sony International (Europe) GmbH, Germany
Martin Charter, Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

51 Eco-innovation: cathode ray tube recycling at IBM Sweden
Inga Belmane, Researcher, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

54 Special feature: Design Sense

57 Sustainable Product Research Network (SPRN)

© 1999 The Centre for Sustainable Design.
All written material, unless otherwise O2 news
stated, is the copyright of The Centre
for Sustainable Design, Surrey, UK. 59 O2 NYC and O2 Mexico
Views expressed in articles and letters
are those of the contributors, and not 61 Reviews
necessarily those of the publisher.
ISSN 1367–6679 63 Diary of events

Editorial information Editorial Board Dr Stefano Marzano

Head of Corporate Design,
Martin Charter: Articles, Interview, Africa
Philips International (Netherlands)
SPRN, O2 News and Journal marketing/ Gary Owen
production CEO, ResponseAbility Alliance (Zimbabwe) Dr Diana Montgomery
Head of Environment, Automobile
Anne Chick: Gallery, Reviews, and Diary. Australasia
Association (UK)
Professor Chris Ryan
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design Director, Centre for Design, Royal Professor Jeremy Myerson
encourages response from its readers to Melbourne Institute for Technology Contemporary Design,
any of the issues raised in the journal. (Australia) De Montfort University (UK)
Entries for the Diary of events and material Europe Jonathan Smales
to be considered for review should all be Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel CEO, The Earth Centre (UK)
sent to the Editors at the address below. Director, Industry and Environment, UNEP Dr Hans van Weenen
All articles published in the Analysis (France) Director, UNEP Working Group
section are assessed by an external Hans Peter Becker on Sustainable Product Design,
panel of business professionals, Managing Director, Wilkhahn (UK) Ltd. (UK) International Centre, University
consultants and academics. Professor Eric Billett of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Pro Vice Chancellor, Brunel University Professor Jan-Olaf Willums
Subscription rates College (UK) Director, Foundation for Business and
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design Professor Dr Michael Braungart Sustainable Development (Norway)
is a quarterly journal appearing in the Fachhochschule Nordostnierasachen Dr Jonathan Williams
months of April, July, October and January (Germany) Director, Group for Environmental
each year. Subscription rates for one year Professor Han Brezet Manufacturing (UK)
(four issues) are £90.00 (UK) and £100 Director, Section of Environmental Product US
(non-UK) for the paper-based version, and Development, Faculty of Industrial Design Dr Brad Allenby
£50.00 for the online version. Special Engineering, Delft University of Technology Director, Environmental,
subscription rates for developing countries (Netherlands) Health & Safety, AT&T (US)
and students are available on application. Ian Dumelow Professor Patricia Dillon
Cheques should be made payable to The Dean, Faculty of Design, The Gordon Institute, Tufts University (US)
Surrey Institute in £ sterling and sent to: Surrey Institute of Art & Design (UK)
Ralph Earle III
The Journal of Sustainable Product Design Professor Dr Guenter Fleischer President, The Assabet Group (US)
The Centre for Sustainable Design Director, Instit fuer Technischen
Professor John Ehrenfeld
Faculty of Design Umweltschutz, Technische Universitat
Director, Technology, Business and
The Surrey Institute of Art & Design Berlin (Germany)
Environment Program, Massachusetts
Falkner Road Peter James Institute of Technology (US)
Farnham Director, Sustainable Business
Dr Joseph Fiksel
Surrey GU9 7DS Centre (UK)
Senior Director, Strategic Environmental,
UK Iris van de graaf de Keijser Health & Safety Management, Battelle
tel +44 (0)1252 892772 Director, Kiva Product Ecology Memorial Institute (US)
fax +44 (0)1252 892747 (Netherlands)
James Hartzfeld
email: Professor Karl Lidgren
Vice President, Interface Research
internet: Director, The International Institute for
Corporation (US)
Industrial Environmental Economics,
Lund University (Sweden) Professor William McDonough
Dean, Faculty of Architecture,
Dorothy MacKenzie
University of Virginia (US)
Director, Dragon (UK)
Jacquelyn Ottman
Professor Ezio Manzini
President, J Ottman Consulting Inc (US)
Director, Facolta di Architettura,
Unita di ricerca Progetto, Prodotto,
Ambiente, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)



Welcome to the ninth issue of

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

Business sustainability in some Euopean countries, eg. and money. This will require
Sweden and the Netherlands. new frameworks to be estab-
hat will a more sustain-
W able world look like in
lished and these should not just
be financially dominant. At the
2020? and how can we catalyse a Beyond IPP heart of this is the market-based
process to enable it to happen?
However, IPP does not deal with economic system consisting of
These are some of the issues
the complex ‘triple’ (economic, buyers (consumers) and sellers
that major companies and
environmental and social) or (companies). Therefore a key
governments are considering
‘quadruple’ bottom line (the question is how do we create
and trying to think through. Key
above plus ethical). Let’s just more sustainable markets?
components of this are how
speculate what it might mean.
we green consumption and how Sustainability will require educa-
What would a broader frame-
we green product development. tion and re-education of all
work look like that encouraged
Integrated Product Policy (IPP) stakeholders. This will not occur
more sustainable consumption
may provide a useful framework overnight. There will need to
and product(ion)? Well,
to achieve greener markets. be clear strategic vision and
inevitably it would need to be
Some of its strengths are that it leadership. For example, the
global. What would it mean?
suggests a more holistic and Organisation of Economic
It would have to cover issues
strategic approach. For example, Co-operation and Development
related to the changing and
if a government is thinking about (OECD) is focusing its sustain-
possible reduction of the level of
the launch of a eco-label (tool 1) able consumption programme on
consumption and the problems
it should also couple it with the year 2020. Values will need
associated with the North-South
public information (tool 2) to to be shifted towards frugality,
divide. Who would police it?
raise awareness and increase sufficiency and smartness rather
Could there be a role for the
understanding on the demand- than profligacy and ostentation.
United Nations Environment
side and then consider the use Of course this will mean
Programme (UNEP) and the
of, for example, grants for eco- questioning the relevance of the
International Standards
product development (tool 3) existing metrics of economic
Organisation (ISO)?
and awards schemes (tool 4) to growth. Sustainability indicators
reward companies on the supply- At present companies create will need to provide a guide for
side. As part of its consultation products or services to make the new generation of sustainable
process, EC DGXI aims to profits for shareholders. solutions developers.
publish its Green Paper on IPP However, what is being increas-
The bottom line being: Does
in 3Q 1999 which will provide a ingly recognised is the impor-
this solution (product service or
positioning statement about tance of a stakeholder approach.
hybrid) improve the ‘quality of
what IPP really means. But, what To move towards sustainability
life’ whilst equitably rewarding
we appear to be seeing is the means the need to equitably
all stakeholders?
emergence of a patchwork reward stakeholders for ‘return
of different national approaches of investment’ of time, energy



Overview of this issue (LCA) based on DUT's experience ment, as well as the wider strate-
of working with companies. The gic issues surrounding business
Issue 9 of the Journal provides
article highlights an emerging gap sustainability. There is a special
both a macro and micro perspec-
between industry needs and the feature on ‘Design Sense’, a
tive on eco-product development
academic viewpoint. Professor recently launched awards scheme
issues and highlights some of
Carlo Vezzoli, Polytechnic aimed at rewarding sustainable
the real difficulties with existing
University of Milan, Italy, gives product and building design in
tools at both levels. Derek Smith,
an overview of the key issues the marketplace. A new section –
Ernst & Young, UK, gives a
involved in undertaking an LCA Sustainable Products Research
summary of strategic issues
and provides a summary of Network (SPRN) – highlights
related to Integrated Product
commercially available LCA soft- eco-design research being
Policy (IPP) and its component
ware tools. Professor Winston undertaken into refridgerants,
parts, and gives an insight into
Knight, Boothroyd Dewhurst, US, Product-Orientated
recent developments in Brussels.
and Mark Curtis, Design IV, UK, Environmental Management
Professor Jacqueline Cramer,
provide a summary of the practi- (POEM), textiles and IPP. The O2
Akzo Nobel, the Netherlands,
cal issues related to a ‘Design for Pages cover news from O2 NYC
provides an analysis of ‘design
Environment’ software tool (New York City) highlighting a
for sustainability’ issues based on
which focuses on the ‘end of recent President Council on
experience from pilot projects
life’ phase. Inga Belmane, The Sustainable Development's
within a chemical company, also
Centre for Sustainable Design, (PCSD) meeting in Detroit, with
comparing this sector with the
UK, provides a case history on also background information on
consumer goods sector to
how IBM Sweden has worked the activities of O2 Mexico.
explore similarities and differ-
with a designer to produce a
ences. Professor Ab Stevels, As always, The Journal of
glassware range using recycled
Professor Han Brezet and Jeroen Sustainable Product Design
glass from cathode ray tubes
Robouts, Delft University of welcomes articles, book reviews,
(CRTs). An interview with Dr
Technology (DUT), the product images, information on
Lutz-Günther Scheidt highlights
Netherlands, provide a critical events and any constructive
Sony's practical experience of
review of the strengths and feedback on articles and
managing eco-product develop-
weakneses of Life Cycle Analysis content. •



Integrated Product Policy

Derek Smithn
Senior Manager, Environmental Services Group,
Ernst & Young, UK

Derek Smith completed a BA in English Increasing attention is being paid to the initial incentive schemes for
at New College, Oxford, UK and a the concept of ‘Integrated Product environmentally superior prod-
Masters in European Administration Policy’ (IPP) in policy-making and ucts were being launched,
at the College of Europe, Bruges, industrial circles. The European including a number of the first
Belgium. He is currently a Senior Commission, member state govern- national eco-labelling schemes.
Manager in the Environmental Services ments in the EU, and several inter- If IPP is viewed in the context of
Group at Ernst & Young. His expertise national administrations are exam- sustainable development, then
is in public policy analysis, evaluation ining the potential of an ‘IPP product-related thinking is
and formulation. Derek has managed approach’ to environmental policy evident in the 5th Environmental
and conducted many such studies for making. This article explores what Action Programme of 1992, or
the institutions of the European Union IPP is, and what its implications even further back in the
(EU). Prior to the work on Integrated might be, particularly in the light of Brundtland Report of 1987. But,
Product Policy (IPP) he carried out recent Ministerial discussions on products have really become a
work for the European Commission the subject in the EU. The article is strong focus of policy makers in
(EC) on the use of life cycle based on analysis and recommen- certain European countries over
approaches in European industry and dations made by Ernst & Young and the past five years, and a more
its implications for competitiveness, the Science Policy Research Unit widespread focus of attention
as well as studies on eco-labelling, (SPRU) in their report on IPP for the in the last one or two.
and technology and industrial policy. European Commission (1), and on
Preliminary discussions on IPP
subsequent discussions at national
were held under the UK
and European levels (2).
Presidency of the European
Union in the summer of 1998. In
The origins of IPP a workshop organised by DGXI
in Brussels in December 1998,
PP is a new concept, and
I discussions on it are at an
early stage. There is therefore,
over 180 industry and other
stakeholder delegates attended
to learn about the IPP approach
no universally accepted
and discuss specific issues in
definition of IPP, and considera-
smaller working groups. In May
tion of its content has only
1999, IPP was discussed by
recently begun in earnest in the
European Environment Ministers
EU context. Nevertheless, there
in an informal Environment
is now a growing body of
Council meeting held under the
support for a product-focused
German Presidency. This has
environmental policy across the
confirmed the importance of the
EU. Tracing a product-focused
development and implementa-
component in environmental
tion of an integrated approach
policy making can lead analysis
which deals with the entire life
back to the 1980s, when some of



cycle of products, at member Region’s (DETR) recent consulta- in the Hague in October 1993,
state and Community level. The tion paper ‘Consumer Products VROM (the Dutch Ministry of
Council have welcomed the and the Environment’ (DETR, Housing, Spatial Planning and the
Commission’s intention to 1998). In addition, the House of Environment) published a policy
publish a Communication or Commons Select Committee on document on ‘products and the
Green Paper on IPP during the the Environment, Transport, and environment’ in 1994. The Dutch
third quarter of 1999, and the Regions, will shortly be and the Danish have issued
mooted the future involvement completing their inquiry into framework policies which set
of other organisations such as reducing the environmental out key principles, objectives
the Consultative Forum on impact of consumer products. and a range of market ‘push and
Sustainable Development. pull’ instruments which could be
used to address product-related
In short, interest is strong and The IPP approach environmental problems. More
although it is in its early stages, a
IPP on the other hand focuses recently, other member states,
coherent view on future policy
on reducing the environmental including Germany, Sweden, and
in this field is beginning to
impact of product systems. It the UK, have shown interest in
emerge. The recent backing of
seeks to cover the whole product the approaches and ideas behind
European Ministers for further
system, using a life cycle IPP. While each member state
attention to this area is an
approach, avoiding the shift of has come at the issue from a
important ‘green light’ for work
environmental problems slightly different angle, there is
to be done which builds on the
between different media, or growing consensus about the
ideas so far.
between different stages in a scope of the problems to tackle
Current interest in seeking to product lifecycle. While tradi- and the types of tools which can
influence the environmental tional regulation has brought be used.
performance of products is environmental improvement,
founded upon the recognition consumption, and consumption-
that many important environ- related emissions have been
Existing product-related
mental problems are not rising. For instance, Dutch measures
associated with processes or research into volatile organic Measures relating to products
site-focused problems, but are compound (VOC) emissions in have been around for some time,
linked to the creation, use and the late 1980s highlighted that including bans and prohibitions
disposal of products in the three quarters of emissions were on substances within products
market. Traditional ‘command consumption-related, in particu- (such as DDT), or product-
and control’ environmental lar in the application of paints related technical standards. For
regulation has focused on and during vehicle refuelling. example, in some cases, tax
controlling processes (through Significant emissions of a number measures have been used to give
setting emission limits for of key gaseous pollutants, such incentives to use different types
example) or substance control as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and of fuel. Eco-labels and take-back
(through discharge consents, carbon dioxide (CO2) arise from schemes have also been intro-
or lists of prescribed substances) the use of vehicles. duced with varying degrees of
or through a focus on particular
Not surprisingly, therefore, the success, at national and
environmental media (air, water,
Netherlands has been one of the European level. However, these
or land).
countries who have taken a lead measures do not constitute a
In the UK for example, the life in Europe in developing thinking fully-developed product-oriented
cycle approach which charac- about product-related environ- policy. In practical terms, they
terises IPP has already informed mental policy. Following an have not been consistently
the thinking within Department international conference held applied in European countries,
of Environment Transport & and the effectiveness of some of



the measures, notably the eco-

label, has been questioned. In
and having regard to the particu-
larities of the product and the
… the focus of
conceptual terms as well, the product system.
approach embodied within IPP attention is not
differs. First, is the holistic
approach mentioned previously
The ‘building blocks’ of IPP solely on the
– IPP seeks to take into account Five core packages of policies,
the whole lifecycle of the prod- or ‘IPP Building blocks’ have producer and
uct system. Second, it seeks to been suggested, which are
engage a wide range of stake-
holders. Thus, the focus of
common to all contexts and are
are made up of specific instru-
the processes
attention is not solely on the
producer and the processes
ments. Taken together these
measures organised within build-
which occur
which occur within the factory ing blocks would form an IPP.
gate, but on a much wider group Each building block is a cluster within the
including raw material providers, of policies which share a
retailers, and consumers, common objective: factory gate,
whether they be corporate, · measures aimed at reducing and
public sector or domestic managing resources and wastes. but on a much
consumers. The need to gain the These will include measures
active involvement of these vari- related to inputs as well as wider group
ous interest groups has been wastes, including ‘dissipative
reiterated by European Ministers.
Third, the measures which can
wastes’ (material wastes gener-
ated in ‘using up’ a product)
be used to influence the perfor-
mance of products should have
and ‘non-dissipative wastes’
(material streams which may be
raw material
an explicit focus on resource
efficiency or environmental
recovered and reused or recy-
cled). Measures in this category
improvement. In this way, IPP may currently be classified as
is about securing environmental chemicals or waste policies. retailers, and
objectives and is not a frame- · measures targeted at the
work for other policy objectives innovation of more environ- consumers,
such as revenue raising. Fourth, mentally-sound products: these
it is suggested that the measures
which could be used within an
will include measures aimed at whether they
stimulating the research and
IPP framework are many and
varied. They might include regu-
development of technologies be corporate,
and products, and steps to
lations, the development of
product standards with an envi-
encourage the environmental
management of products.
public sector
ronmental component, voluntary
agreements, fiscal incentives,
· measures to create and support
the development of markets for
or domestic
best practice schemes, consumer
information programmes and
more environmentally-sound
products: these will be initia-
so on. The key is that the most
tives which encourage the
appropriate measure is used
adoption of environmentally-
to tackle the relevant problem,
friendly products onto the
taking overall environmental
market, both in the private
policy objectives into account
and public sectors.



· measures for transmitting small number of leading member Given the potential risks of inac-
information up and down the states, as well as at the European tion at EU level, and the capacity
product chain: these will be level. It will be interesting to see for the EU to play a positive
measures which encourage what mechanisms are used, or enabling role, it is concluded
greater transparency about the developed, to enable business, that the European Commission
environmental burdens and full environmental and consumer has an important role to play in
environmental costs of product group input into the policy the development of this new
systems. These informational development process. arena of policy. The EC may take
and price signals will serve to four key roles in IPP:
alter customer behaviour across · to define a common under-
the product system.
The potential role of the
standing of IPP, and to articu-
· measures which allocate
European Commission late a vision of what it is
responsibility for managing the There are potential risks of prod- setting out to achieve. A key
environmental burdens of uct-related policies developing at task in this is being clear about
product systems: these will be a national level. The existence of objectives, and how the aims of
measures which allocate legal different measures relating to IPP sit alongside other policy
and financial liability for the products could create uneven- goals.
product system environmental ness in the market. More posi- · to encourage the diffusion of
burdens. This would include tively, there could be potential best policy practice beyond the
potential burdens (related to benefits in having a consistent heartland of member states
the design of the product), and European framework, with clar- which have already taken
actual burdens (related to the ity on the aims of policy and concerted action, and so to
actual use and discard of prod- how this sphere of activity harmonise the ‘product policy
ucts). contributes to the goal of context’ across the EU.
sustainable development. More Progress on this is already
A wide variety of measures are specifically, initiatives could be occurring, through the informal
represented within the IPP build- launched which sought to development of networks
ing blocks, some very product- support European firms seeking across the EU. An important
specific (take-back regulations), to innovate and improve step here will be to ensure that
others cross-cutting and general competitiveness. For example, this is not an exclusively north-
(a generic ‘producer responsibil- improving the comparability and ern European phenomenon,
ity’ policy). Variations on the availability of data on the envi- but brings in southern member
building block theme have been ronmental relevance of different states and considers the views
suggested (3), by separating those products or product groups could of Europe’s international trad-
which are ‘cross-sectoral’ from provide a baseline against which ing partners. The fact that IPP
those which are ‘specific’. But, firms can measure their perfor- has now been debated by EU
in essence, all are connected in mance and seek to improve. The Ministers from all member
being aimed at improving the introduction of an EU support states will give impetus to this
environmental performance of scheme for sustainable product process of dissemination.
product systems. design, a kin to those which · to support the effective imple-
The framework outlined is now have been developed on national mentation of product policies
under debate. The discussion on lines, has been suggested. But through the integration of
how it relates to other concepts this may well be an area where it product policy aims in EU
such as sustainable consumption is more difficult to justify public policy more generally. Some
has also begun. In practice, prod- sector intervention, given the priorities for action are begin-
uct policy is likely to continue to strong interest in eco-design ning to emerge, including a
develop in national contexts, as which already exists in the broad-based integration of
has been the case so far in a private sector. products within the follow-up



to the 5th Environmental which underpin IPP, to promote

Action Programme, and more or launch pilot projects. It would References
specific initiatives on topics be beneficial, for example, for Consumer Products and the
such as public procurement and firms or organisations involved in Environment: A Consultation
product standardisation proce- eco-design to open a channel of Paper (DETR, UK; October 1998).
dures. communication with the EC to
· to develop specific IPP explore the links between their
measures where action at an activities and the policy goals
EU level is justified, taking into which the Commission are trying
account internal market provi- to pursue. Once definitions and
sions and the principle of objectives have been clearly
subsidiarity. articulated, good policy practice (1) A study analysing national
can begin to be shared. In time, and international developments
This policy approach may be all of the potential areas of activ- with regard to Integrated
characterised as enabling, ity will be grounded in measures, Product Policy (IPP) in the envi-
primarily concerned with capac- possibly relating to the five ronmental field, and providing
ity-building, encouraging conver- building blocks suggested. For elements for an EC policy in this
gence between policies at a area. (Ernst & Young and the
policy makers, the focus on
national level, and enabling Science Policy Research Unit,
products presents an opportunity
national policies to work effec- University of Sussex). The
to make a positive contribution
Executive Summary of this report
tively. It is not an approach towards achieving environmental
is available on:
reliant on traditional command policy goals through the use of a
and control mechanisms. It is diverse range of instruments. For
pp/home.htp. The views within
well-attuned to the fragmented industry, IPP offers the prospect the report are those of the
nature of current national activ- of a more targeted policy, with author, and do not necessarily
ity and also to the principle of the most appropriate measure represent the official views of
subsidiarity. used to tackle the real environ- DGXI or the EC.
mental problem. For the
(2) Including the Workshop on
consumer, the challenges are
Key objectives and ‘Integrated Product Policy’ (IPP),
significant. In the short-term,
steps forward product-related measures may
held in Brussels on 8 December
1998, supported by DGXI and
It is clearly of prime importance help them make more informed
DGIII, and papers relating to the
to establish a common under- decisions about what they buy,
Informal Environment Council
standing of IPP, and to articulate how they consume it and how
meeting held under the German
that in a product policy ‘vision’. they dispose of it. In the long-
Presidency in May 1999.
This visioning activity needs to term, much more far-reaching
set out clear objectives. The EC’s issues arise about the sustainabil- (3) Seven building blocks are
Communication later this year ity or otherwise of current suggested by Frieder Rubik in the
will be an important milestone, patterns of consumption. This, ‘Background Paper on Product
and should (at least) cover this. Related Environmental Policy’
of course, is a challenge facing
prepared prior to the Informal
A second valuable step forward all stakeholders. It positions IPP
Meeting of EU Environment
would be for interested groups, firmly within the mainstream of
Ministers (April 1999).
wishing to explore and give prac- the debate about sustainable
tical demonstration to the ideas consumption. •



Design for sustainability

within the chemical
industry: the case of
Akzo Nobel
Professor Jacqueline Cramern
Senior Consultant, Akzo Nobel, the Netherlands

After working as an associate professor The objective of this article is to Introduction

at the University of Amsterdam evaluate the initiatives taken by the
n recent years, industry has
(1976–1989) Professor Dr Jacqueline
Cramer joined the Centre of
chemical company Akzo Nobel in
the context of ‘design for sustain-
I made considerable progress
in designing for sustainability.
Strategy, Technology and Policy at ability’ and to compare the results
the Netherlands Organisation for Companies have begun to
with those achieved in consumer
Applied Scientific Research (TNO), include environmental consider-
industries. The analysis is based on
the Netherlands (1989–1999). From ations in the development of
seven pilot studies in the four main
1995–1997 Jacqueline Cramer worked their products, involving the
product groups of Akzo Nobel:
at Philips Consumer Electronics as entire lifecycle (from cradle to
pharmaceuticals, coatings,
a senior consultant on strategic grave). Most of these efforts,
chemicals, and fibres. These pilot
environmental management. Between however, focus on environmen-
studies have resulted in a list of
1997–1999 she has held a similar tal improvements in the
environmental improvement options
position at Akzo Nobel, focused on consumer industries, for
that managers intend to implement.
introducing eco-efficiency and product instance, the textile, packaging,
This list covers many of the options
stewardship to the company. Since electrical/electronic, automotive,
then she has also started her own mentioned in the literature on
building and food industries.
consultancy company, Cramer ‘design for sustainability’. The
Far less attention is being paid
Environmental Consultancy and has types of options generated vary
to ‘design for sustainability’ in
worked as a part-time professor in depending on the pilot studies. The
industries further away from the
environmental science at the University Business Units (BUs) producing
consumer market, viz. the feed-
of Amsterdam (1990–1996) and intermediate products tend to focus
stock industry (oil/gas, minerals
environmental management at the on improvements to their own
and agriculture), the primary
Tilburg University (1996–1999). She production processes (throughput
industry (eg. refinery/gas) – and
is member of various (inter)national streams) and sometimes on their
the chemical industry. For these
advisory boards of governmental, suppliers (input streams), while BUs
sectors ‘design for sustainability’
industry and non-profit organisations producing final products pay more
is also important as it will enable
(eg. member of the Dutch Council attention to improvements related
for transportation and waterworks; them to respond to customer
to their customers (output streams).
member of the Dutch Social-Economic demand for improved environ-
The latter BUs have more in
Council and member of the Board mental performance of products.
common with the ‘design for
of the World Wide Fund for And more positively, these
sustainability’ efforts relating to
Nature(WWF)/Netherlands). businesses can play a leading
consumer products.
role in the generation of more
sustainable products.



What does ‘design for sustain- chemicals, and fibres. Three pilot
ability’ mean for those industries studies were performed within STRETCH methodology
farther away from the consumer the chemicals group and two Step 1
market? Does the approach differ within the fibres group. Survey the Business Unit’s
fundamentally from the one (potential) product/market
All pilot studies adopted a
applied to consumer industries? strategies and the most
similar ‘design for sustainability’
These are the main questions important driving forces that
approach, called STRETCH,
addressed in this article. The determine business strategy
which is the acronym for
analysis will particularly focus on in general.
the Selection of sTRategic
a specific industry: the chemical
EnvironmenTal CHallenges) Step 2
industry. To give an insight into
(Cramer and Stevels, 1997). The Monitor new developments
the potential strategies for
basic idea behind this approach and trends in the environmental
‘design for sustainability’, seven debate and changes in
is that the selection of promising
pilot studies were set up in pressure exerted by external
environmental improvements
different Business Units (BUs) stakeholders.
over the whole lifecycle should
of the chemical company Akzo
be attuned closely to the Step 3
Nobel headquartered in Arnhem,
sub-BUs’ general business Identify potential environmental
the Netherlands. It is a multi-
strategy and to the demands of improvements that can be
national with almost 90,000
external stakeholders (including made in the product chain.
employees and activities in
suppliers and customers). In
more than 50 countries. Step 4
order to ensure that the
Select environmental improve-
The pilot studies were co- STRETCH approach becomes
ments that can lead to the
ordinated by the author in close an integral part of the general
development of promising
cooperation with a member of business planning, it is essential
market opportunities or the
each BU’s management team for it to be embedded
avoidance of potential market
(usually the R&D manager). The structurally in the organisation
threats in view of the previous
underlying analyses were made and attuned to related activities steps, then formulate an action
together with the BUs and other (eg. ISO 14001). Therefore, the plan for short-term and long-
experts working in the service STRETCH approach consists of term environmental improve-
units of Akzo Nobel. The pilot six steps (see panel). ments in the product chain.
studies were carried out from
Information about Step 1 was Step 5
May 1997 until July 1998.
gathered through interviews with Embed the STRETCH approach
members of the management in the organisation.
Methodological approach teams of the sub-BUs and
Step 6
through (partly confidential)
The seven pilot studies selected Bring the results into line with
documents about their business
within Akzo Nobel represented related Business Unit activities,
strategy. Data about Step 2 was
examples of ‘design for sustain- viz. ISO 14001 compliance,
collected via various methods,
ability’ initiatives taken in vari- product stewardship, and
depending on the available
ous phases of the product chain. product development.
information sources. Use was
Four pilot studies focused on
made of interviews with various
intermediate products, two on
sub-BU members (particularly
auxiliary substances in final prod-
the marketing people), results of
ucts, and one on final products.
customer questionnaires, and
The seven pilot studies were
documents revealing the forms
carried out in sub-Business Units
of environmental pressure.
(BUs) of each of the four main
product groups of Akzo Nobel: Before the possibilities for
pharmaceuticals, coatings, improvement of the present



environmental performance of documents were written to options recommended in each

the sub-BU (Step 3) was investi- describe the main additional pilot study are clustered around
gated, a shared vision and strat- tasks to be carried out by these four groups:
egy on environmental issues was departments. · input
formulated to determine the · throughput
Finally, Step 6 made sure that the
scope of the environmental
STRETCH approach was carefully · output streams
improvements to be proposed.
attuned to existing activities · transport.
To help identify potential envi-
related to environmental
ronmental improvements in the Each group represents the phase
improvements in the product
product chain, three kinds of in the product chain where envi-
environmental data were ronmental improvements should
gathered: primarily be made.
· quantitative data about the Results of the pilot studies
The recommendations reflect the
specific products selected by All pilot studies resulted in a list priorities for environmental
each sub-BU. These data were of recommendations about the improvements in view of the
based on a Life Cycle Analysis environmental improvements whole product chain set by each
(LCA) addressing the environ- that could be achieved in the sub-BU. As a result specific cells
mental impacts of products short and long-term from a have been left open. This does
from cradle (raw materials product chain perspective. not mean that the sub-BU is not
production) to grave (the final Moreover, additional recommen- working on improving these
waste stage). The depth of the dations supporting the environ- aspects. However, in the context
LCA studies was dependent on mental improvements to be of this study they were consid-
the questions. made were formulated eg. ered less important.
· environmental data about recommendations about market-
current transportation activities For confidentiality reasons no
ing, communication, and the
and alternative modes of trans- detailed information is provided
structural embedding of the
portation, particularly related about the environmental
STRETCH approach into the
to the production facilities. improvements generated. On the
organisation. Most of the recom-
basis of the LCAs completed it
· qualitative data based on mendations were adopted by the
was possible to indicate roughly
strategic considerations of management teams of the sub-
whether or not all improvement
market opportunities derived BUs involved. Very few recom-
options together could substan-
from Steps 1 and 2. mendations were rejected as not
tially reduce major environmen-
being feasible.
Step 4 concerned the selection tal impacts. More precise assess-
In order to show the spectrum ments can only be made after
of the most promising environ-
of environmental improvements the potential improvements
mental improvements in the
adopted by the management have been further explored.
product chain based on the
teams, an overview of the
results of the three previous
recommendations is presented
steps. This led to a list of recom-
below. Some recommendations Reflection on results
mendations to be incorporated
have been reformulated and are Through the STRETCH approach
in the strategic planning proce-
presented together as one a variety of environmental
dures of the sub-BUs.
recommendation. For the sake improvement options were
Step 5 focused on the way in of simplicity the additional generated. These options have
which the STRETCH approach recommendations about organi- been clustered in Table 1.
could be incorporated in the sational embedding and market-
work of the main departments The above list of environmental
ing and communication aspects
involved: R&D, Marketing and improvements derived from the
have not been included. The
Sales, Purchasing, and seven pilot studies covers many
environmental improvement
Communications. Guidance of the options mentioned in the


Pilot Studies Case 1: Case 2: Case 3: Case 4: Case 5: Case 6: Case 7:
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Auxiliary substance Auxiliary substance Final products
products products products products in final products in final products (Coatings)
Phase in chain (Pharma) (Fibres A) (Fibres B) (Chemicals A) (Chemicals B) (Chemicals C)
Input streams · Review environmental · Closely follow · Monitor new developments · Consider buying raw · Include environmental
(suppliers) performance of developments in raw in the production of raw material A from supplier requirements in the
various solvents material A technology material A using more environmentally contracts with
(particularly production · Investigate possibility sound production process x preferred suppliers
based on renewable to buy raw material B · Investigate whether
resources) from other suppliers production process y
· Minimise raw material with a less environmentally to produce raw material B
B consumption burdensome production is more environmentally
process sound than process z
Throughput · Continue to explore · Improve present · Reduce specific · Improve current
streams a new generation of processes in general emissions and production
(own production production processes improve energy process in
processes) · Continue improvements efficiency the short term
in solvents’ use (reduction, · Set priorities in
regeneration and reuse) improving process
· Continue water and fossil in the long-term
energy saving programs
Output streams · Continue to explore · Intensify monitoring · Prioritise the customers · Intensify the service to
(customers) whether the current of environmental with whom cooperation the customers in the
product runs the risk and health risks in can be strengthened area of energy efficiency
of being substituted product applications to improve the improvement
by a more environ- · Investigate whether production in the · Improve environmental
mentally friendly one upgrading of product user phase performance of current
leads to reduction of · Formulate a short-term products x and y through
the amount of product action plan for markets specific measures
needed in final that could run into · Develop new products
applications problems with authorities in which specific
· Investigate market due to use of product additional
APRIL 1999

opportunities of selling · Strengthen long-term environmental aspects

a higher proportion of research aimed at are integrated
pure product developing alternatives · Pay special attention to
· Investigate improvements for current product specific users’

in product packaging conditions in growing

Transport and · Formulate · Investigate benefits · Continue examination · Continue to explore
logistics transportation strategy of modal shift (from of feasibility of a possibilities of
road to water, rail or modal shift from modal shift from
pipeline) a road to rail at Dutch road to rail and boat
production site · Reduce volume of
goods to be transported
through new product
and packaging concepts
Environmental Moderate Limited Limited Limited Moderate Substantial Very substantial


Environmental improvement recommendations from the seven pilot studies


literature on ‘design for sustain- Another difference with authors during use)
ability’ (eg. Van Hemel, 1998). in the field of ‘design for sustain- · product system level
Compared with typologies based ability’ is that they usually rely (optimisation of ‘end of life’
on consumer products, however, upon other typologies to cluster system and optimisation of
less emphasis is put on the the various improvement initial lifetime)
optimisation of the lifetime options. For instance, Van · new concept development.
of products (particularly easy Hemel distinguishes:
maintenance and repair, modular · product component level Despite the differences in
product design) and new concept (selection of low-impact clustering, the list of possible
development (particularly materials; reduction of materi- improvement options is similar
‘shared use’ of the product and als usage and optimisation of to the one derived from the
integration of functions). These production techniques) seven pilot studies. The
options are more appr0priate to · product structure level particular clustering used here
final consumer products than to (optimisation of distribution better fits the style of working
the chemical industry sector. system and reduction of impact and thinking in the chemical

Input streams · include environmental requirements in the contracts with preferred

· replace raw materials based on fossil fuels by biofeedstocks
· replace raw materials by other raw materials to reduce environmental
· select raw material suppliers with the most environmentally sound
production processes

Throughput streams · minimise consumption of raw materials

· regenerate/reuse raw materials
· minimise consumption of energy and water
· consider application of durable energy sources
· reduce specific emissions and waste
· prepare for a new generation of production processes

Output streams · monitor health, safety and environmental risks in product applications
· improve environmental performance of current products through
specific measures
· develop new, more environmentally sound products
· improve product in the users’ phase in cooperation with customers
(eg. lower energy consumption)
· investigate possibilities to reduce the amount of product needed in
final applications
· improve product packaging

Transport/logistics · explore possibilities of modal shift from road to other transport modes
(boat, rail and pipeline)
· reduce volume of goods to be transported through new product
and packaging concepts

Table 1: Summary of environmental improvement options derived from the seven pilot studies



industry rather than the

typologies applied to consumer
Sub-BUs producing final products
or auxiliary substances in final
products. Additional pilot studies products (cases 5–7) are close to
might lead to a further refine- the final customer and are the managers
ment of the items mentioned in first to be addressed when the
Table 1. Based on other types of customer wants to improve the think that
typologies, it can be assumed environmental performance of
that the main improvement his products. It may also occur environmental
options are mentioned in the that the final producer himself
above Table 1. approaches the customers to
cooperate in developing
The results of the various pilot
studies show that the environ-
environmentally more benign
products. This happened, for
of their
mental improvement options in
instance, in case 7.
the product chain adopted by the
management teams of the sub- Besides this difference in
products will
BUs involved differ largely. Cases
1–3 mainly focus on improve-
position in the product chain,
the diversity of improvement
not lead to
ments of their own production options can also be explained by
processes, case 4 deals with both three additional factors (Cramer,
suppliers and customers, and 1999):
cases 5–7 include the whole · the degree of environmental advantages,
chain with a major focus on pressure
customer relations. One of the · the degree of room for they usually
major explanations for this manoeuvre in altering the
difference in focus is the BU’s process and/or product in view do not give
position in the product chain. of the whole lifecycle
Sub-BUs producing intermediate · the degree to which the high priority
products are farther away from environment can be used as a
the final customer and often do competitive edge. to such
not feel any direct pressure from
the market to improve their
product for environmental
When managers think that envi-
ronmental improvements of
reasons. Therefore they tend their products will not lead to
to focus on environmental competitive advantages, they
improvements related to their usually do not give high priority
suppliers and their own produc- to such improvements (cases 2, 3
tion processes (input and and 4). Depending on the degree
throughput streams). Only if the of environmental pressure
pressure from the final customers (particularly from regulatory
also affects the composition of bodies) the managers tend to
their intermediate products, will focus in such cases on step-by-
they respond to customer step or more far-reaching
demands. This was not the case improvements of their own
in pilot studies 1–3 but might production processes (sometimes
become the case in pilot study 4. in cooperation with their
This explains the emphasis in suppliers). In cases 2, 3 and 4
pilot study 4 on monitoring the direct environmental
developments in customer pressure was low. As a result
demands. the environmental



When the
edge of more high

benign environ-
products is
more obvious high

for managers, low low as a competitive
low high
room for manoeuvre
they are more
inclined to
communicate Figure 1: Responsiveness to environmental improvements in the product chain

and even co-

improvements proposed in In cases 5, 6 and 7 the room for
operate with these cases were also limited. manoeuvre in altering their
products or processes was larger.
When the competitive edge of
their customers more environmentally benign
As a result the interest in
improving the output streams
products is more obvious for
to improve their managers, they are more
increased, depending on the
degree of environmental
inclined to communicate and
pressure. In cases 6 and 7 the
products, thus even cooperate with their
customers to improve their
environmental pressure was
much higher than in case 5,
addressing the products (cases 1, 5,6 and 7),
thus addressing the output
leading to more substantial
environmental improvements in
streams. The product improve-
output streams. ments proposed in these cases
view of the whole product
chain. In fact, cases 6 and 7 are
usually had an impact on the
the most obvious examples
input and throughput streams as
where substantial environmental
well. However, in case 1 the
improvements and promising
flexibility to change the products
market opportunities go hand in
was very limited due to strict
hand. This is due to the strong
drugs regulations. Therefore,
environmental pressure, the
environmental improvements
ample room for manoeuvre and
proposed here focused on the
the possibility of achieving a
input and throughput streams.



competitive advantage. These difficulties in completing a

cases can be positioned in the switch. If he/she cannot supply References
right upper part of the cube material B, then he/she runs the Cramer, J.M. and A. L.N.
presented in Figure 1. economic risk that the final Stevels, Strategic
producer will go to another Environmental Product Planning
If we compare these results with
supplier. within Philips Sound & Vision,
the ‘design for sustainability’
efforts implemented in in Environmental Quality
consumer industries, cases 5, 6 Management, Vol. 7, No. 1
… and finally
and 7 have much more in (1997), pp. 91-102.
Because of economic risks as
common with those efforts than Cramer, J, The Responsiveness
illustrated above, the sub-BUs
cases 1, 2, 3 and 4. The main of Industry to Eco-efficiency
producing intermediate products
explanation is that cases 5, 6 and Improvements in the Product-
should also remain alert and
7 represent sub-BUS that are chain; The Case of Akzo Nobel,
monitor the changes in environ-
close to the final customer. In in Business Strategy and the
mental demands of the final Environment, 1999 (in press).
general, these BUs feel environ-
customers. Whether the sub-BUs
mental pressure more directly
can respond adequately to these Hemel, C.G. van, EcoDesign
and have more opportunities to Empirically Explored; Design for
risks, also depends on the
use environmental considera- Environment in Dutch Small and
general policy of the company. If
tions in their marketing Medium Sized Enterprises,
the current intermediate product
compared to intermediate Thesis, (Delft, Delft University of
becomes outdated in the future
producers. Moreover, final Technology, Design for
for environmental reasons, the
producers are usually more Sustainability Research
recommendation to higher
flexible to change their product Programme, 1998).
management should then be to
than intermediate producers
promote the development of
who are usually bound to the
radically new products through
specific product they produce.
special seed money programmes.
For a final producer it is often
For smaller companies producing
relatively easy to switch, for
few intermediate products, such
instance, from the use of mater-
initiatives are, of course, more
ial A to the use of material B.
problematic but still crucial for
The producer of material A,
survival in the long run. •
however, has much more



Application of LCA in
eco-design: a critical review
Ab Stevels studied Chemistry at the
Professor Ab Stevels, Professor Han Brezetn
Eindhoven University of Technology, the
Netherlands, and then was employed at and Jeroen Rombouts n
Philips Electronics Eindhoven. In 1966
he received his PhD in Physics and Professor in Environmental Design, Leader of the Design for
Chemistry at the Groningen University. Sustainability Programme, and Researcher at the Faculty of
In 1969 he joined the Philips Research Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology,
Laboratories and in 1989 he was
transferred to the Consumer Electronics
the Netherlands
division where he has been senior
advisor on environmental engineering
since 1993. In 1995 he was appointed Eco-design has now become a Cycle Analysis (LCA). This refers
part-time professor in Environmental business issue in various sectors. both to the selection of ‘atten-
Design at the Faculty of Industrial To enable eco-design requires a tion fields’ and the creativity
Design Engineering, Delft University of wider range of tools, most of which phase (finding green options)
Technology (DUT), the Netherlands. are in their early stages of develop- as well as to the environmental
ment. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) has validation of design improve-
Professor Han Brezet completed initial
emerged as a key tool. The article ment recommendations.
studies in electrical engineering at
is based on Delft University of
DUT, and then received his PhD in Research has highlighted that
Technology’s (DUT) experience
Environmental Sociology at the consideration of both the tech-
of working with industry on
Erasmus University, Rotterdam. nicalities of eco-design and the
eco-design projects using LCA.
After a career in cleaner production management of eco-design
consultancy, he now holds the chair DUT’s experiences are highlighted
processes are crucial for success
in eco-design at the Sub-faculty on illustrating the strengths and
or failure. This relates to both
Industrial Design Engineering at DUT. weaknesses of LCA and the
the front end (idea generation
He is the leader of the Design for growing gap between industry
and concept development) and
Sustainability Programme and research needs and academic research
to exploitation of the results in
director of Kathalys, the joint Centre in this area.
the marketplace. In all these
for Sustainable Product Innovation processes the availability of
of TNO Industry and DUT,
Introduction appropriate manuals and tools
established in 1998.
plays an essential role. DUT’s
ithin the Delft University
Jeroen Rombouts graduated in 1995
from the Faculty of Industrial Design
W of Technology’s (DUT)
Design for Sustainability (DfS)
contribution to these include:
· PROMISE, a promising
Engineering at DUT. After working in a approach to sustainable
small design office for a year he is now programme, at the Sub-faculty
production and consumption
working on a PhD research project and of Industrial Design Engineering
(Brezet and von Hemel, 1997)
assisting with LCA training sessions. more than a hundred industrial
· EPAss, a manual for environ-
His research project is focused on eco-design case studies have
mental benchmarking (Jansen
using a knowledge-based system to been undertaken between
and Stevels, 1998)
evaluate product improvement options 1993–1998, through graduates,
based on product characteristics. PhD students and staff. Tools include:
DUT’s eco-design approach · LEADS, Lifecycle Expert
advocates several types of Life Analysis of Design Strategies
(Rombouts, 1998)



· IDEMAT, a material and LCA from the problem- The obvious advantage of indi-
process database for product solving perspective cators and abbreviated LCAs is
developers containing their need for limited expertise,
· LCA is a very effective tool for
mechanical, physical, financial time and money, which makes
the selection of product-related
and environmental data it a very practical solution for
environmental impacts that
[IDEMAT]. internal product comparisons
need to be prevented or
· EcoQuest, a supplier eco- despite all the criticism from
reduced. It is also useful in
design self-audit tool (Brink, the scientific point of view.
validating green design options
Diehl and Stevels, 1998) Tools that can be used are
when a mix of energy and,
· STRETCH, a methodology EcoScan, SimaPro (see
material application and
for advanced environmental References) and others. Due
process related aspects play a
product development (Cramer to a lack of a standardisation
role. In a wide range of linear
and Stevels, 1998). LCA is not yet appropriate for
problems, good solutions can
external comparison or
be found with a high level of
The LCA methodology has a absolute calculations.
sophistication and practicality.
pivotal position in the eco- · LCA is not suitable for
· LCA is less effective in
design process and tool applica- generating green design
situations where toxic/
tions at present. Particularly, in options, because ideas gener-
hazardous substances are
the selection of ‘attention fields’ ated by LCA often go beyond
involved (embedded toxicity
and in the validation stage, the the influence of designers. This
with time dependent release)
use of LCA is essential for is due to the lack of separation
(Tukker, 1998). Its use in tack-
environment-oriented product between internal (eg. product
ling recycling issues is also
development. To a lesser extent properties) and external (eg.
fairly cumbersome due to
this also holds for the creativity electricity generation and waste
assumptions that have to be
phase itself. treatment) issues in LCA appli-
made to satisfy system bound-
In this article, the DfS cations (Stevels, 1999). As a
ary requirements. A main
programme’s experiences of the consequence, linking the
problem with LCA is that it is
use of LCA in industry-based eco-design concept with the
primarily based on an inventory
eco-design projects are evaluated. creation of sustainable, new
of flows as at a moment in time
This has led to the identification ‘business’ coalitions (joint
(‘in-out’) and not on a balance
of both limitations and opportu- ventures with suppliers, recy-
sheet principle. As a conse-
nities for LCA and directions for clers, users etc.) and markets
quence, taking the future into
action and further research. cannot be done through LCA.
account is problematic,
Therefore this link, which ulti-
The following seven aspects particularly for resource use
mately defines the overall net
related to LCA will be discussed (‘environmental investment’).
environmental benefit of ‘eco-
in this article: · In terms of environmental
designed’ product-market
· LCA from the problem- validation and prioritisation of
combinations, needs to be
solving perspective green design options and prod-
based on additional models and
uct performance, current LCA
· methodological issues tools, like ‘scenario making’
approaches generally provide
· data issues (simulation of future user
satisfactory information,
· LCA from the business perspectives and preferences),
provided that the analysis is
perspective environmental accounting
made organisation-internal and
· LCA as a stakeholder (assessing the environmental
on a relative base (Stevels,
communications tool and financial-economic benefits
1999). There is also evidence
· standardisation of eco-design concepts) and
that a single figure LCA score
innovation management theo-
· future of LCA. like the Eco-Indicator ‘95
ries. Good results have been
performs well in this respect.



generated by benchmarking like car-sharing services in both issues currently posing

followed by supplier contacts neighbourhoods or at work, dilemmas. On the one hand
(Brink, Diehl and Stevels, 1998) consideration of the infrastruc- there is a clear need for higher
and green brainstorms (Cramer ture available (roads, parking accuracy and reliability of data,
and Stevels, 1997). This gener- lots) is an essential precondition but this will drive up the cost of
ally leads to options within the for success. Other variables are data collection tremendously and
designer’s sphere of influence. also important, for example, the only in a few cases will LCA
In addition, the societal green number of supportive products practitioners be able to afford
context can be determined by within the service (number, type such a high standard. Data
using, for example, the Eco- of cars), the service co-ordina- collection for LCA goes to the
Indicator 95. tion centre (space, use, energy) heart of business and enterprises,
and the number and activities of and many proprietary items will
employees involved. In selecting have to be discussed, especially
Methodological issues the products (cars), LCA can help when a high level of accuracy
Currently worldwide efforts are us, but for making infrastructure and reliability is required. In
being undertaken to enhance choices standard LCA procedures Europe many of the parties
LCA methodology. It is the are not or are less appropriate involved in LCA are willing to
authors’ opinion that some basic (only with a lot of artificial cooperate; however the condi-
problems with LCA will remain modifications). In addition, the tion is that the data acquired will
which cannot be fundamentally effects of human labour should only be used in private/propri-
solved (like time dependence, be included, which at this etary relationships and will not
system boundary and momentary moment is usually omitted. be made public. A key question
bases). The rating of impact cate- When more fundamental system is: what is the best choice for the
gories, as one of the steps in LCA changes are discussed the exclu- time being? and what is the best
procedure, is and will remain a sion of capital goods or infra- compromise?
subjective issue, as long as envi- structure changes from the
ronmental sciences are only able analysis makes discussion
to provide a very complex problematic (Goedkoop, 1999).
LCA from the business
impact model. To gain large improvements in perspective
sustainability there needs to be There has been an evolution
With the progress currently
a move to more innovative in thinking by business about
being made all these issues can
solutions on a higher level than environmental methodologies
be solved, but the application by
the product level. To improve like LCA.
non-expert users (like policy
eco-efficiency by a factor 20,
making bodies and industry) will Leading industries have moved
which is often quoted as a
become too complicated and too from a defensive to proactive
sustainable level, an impact
costly. For LCA to progress, this position, from necessity to
reduction of 95% needs to
will be a fundamental issue eg. opportunity, and from the
gained which will be impossible
how to balance a maximum of standalone to full integration
by just improving our present
scientific truth with a maximum into the business.
day products (Brezet, 1997).
of user friendliness while keep-
The academic community
ing cost and capacity involved There is a big opportunity for universi-
(including the LCA community)
within reasonable boundaries. ties and research institutions to develop
has generally been (and still is)
new methodologies, which can operate
A further problem with the slow in following this shift of
meaningfully on the system level.
methodology is that LCA works thinking. Therefore we are now
reasonably well on the product confronted with a gap between
level, however on the level of Data issues the proactive industry approach
service systems, analysis is very and academic approach. See also
Both data accuracy and data
problematic. In developing Figures 1 and 2 (Stevels, 1999).
accessibility (databases) are
product-service combinations,




step 1 step 2 step 3

start with creative validate and prioritise check prioritised options
approach to environmental according to LCA against company,
issues you can influence customer and society
(benchmark, brainstorm) benefits

step 4 step 5
check feasibility implement in
(physical, financial) programme


step 1 step 2 step 3

do LCA analysis, select internal and start stakeholder
holistic approach external improvement discussion

step 4 step 5
come to solutions implement in

Figure 1: Industry and academic approaches: issues which can be influenced

The proactive industry approach environment as such is an – lower energy: good for the
is actor based with an emphasis appealing factor to a minority environment and good for
on effective implementation (25 % or less) of the potential your ‘wallet’
(with ownership). LCA has a customers. A majority (75 % or – less packaging: fewer
useful but not a dominating role. more) of potential customers resources, easier, less
The academic approach generally however are attracted by a hassle with waste
is holistic (with no specific combination of an environ- – more recycling: waste
ownership) and is centered mental benefit and other reduction, fewer resources,
around LCA. With respect to benefits (like money, fun/ease/ ‘feels good’
business there is generally a self comfort or other positive
– less hazardous: good for
chosen ‘green apartheid’ or emotions). For successful
the environment, no fear
specialisation within companies marketing and sales of
any more
which seriously hampers practi- eco-designed products the
– less material: fewer
cal implementation. This gap creation of a mix of the above
resources, cheaper, etc.
is deeply concerning and DUT consumer variables and values
is focussing part of the DfS is an essential step. This also It has been argued that the lack
programme on closing it. establishes the direction that of buying of eco-labelled prod-
environmental communications ucts by the general public is due
needs to develop. Environ- to a lack of scientific thorough-
LCA as a stakeholder mental policy tools like eco- ness and as a result LCA based
communication tool labelling should be replaced by eco-labels have been proposed.
· In all parts of the world a segmented approach, commu-
The authors believe the contrary:
(even in the most environmen- nicating an attractive mix of
the general public is calling for
tally conscious countries) users’ values, for instance:



simplification rather than for issues and were – for instance – standardisation and related items
sophistication and wants to be strongly represented in the is unsure, there will be either a
communicated to in terms of a International Standards single set of standards, which
world they live in. Organisation (ISO) committees. will be difficult to apply, or two
sets with a continuous debate
When communicating to profes- In the present wave of cost
about the shape and significance
sionals the approach should be cutting and ‘lean and mean’
of them. Neither of these two
different. Professionals which approaches, industrial
scenarios is attractive.
are intermediates between participation in standardisation
policymakers and manufacturers authorities has declined. Their
(journalists, environmental position has been taken over Example
experts of consumer organisa- gradually by institutional (often
An example given in the table
tions, etc.) generally appreciate government sponsored) and
below (Figure 2) shows the
environmental issues in terms academic representatives. This
shortcomings of LCA/Eco-
of LCA. As such this category has resulted in a shift in charac-
indicator. This example refers
is likely to be well disposed to ter of the ISO standards (the
to the development of the Green
receive more specific informa- ISO 14.000 series): standards
‘Brilliance’ monitor at Philips
tion. have become more comprehen-
Electronics Monitor Division
sive, have a highly scientific
This picture changes at the located in Chungli, Taiwan.
context, but their applicability
moment the target group for This project was undertaken
is diminishing.
communication consists of the by DUT and Philips Consumer
environmental specialists (for This is leading to a strong criti- Electronics (PCE) Environmental
personal interest). In this cism from industry of the LCA Competence Center (ECC) in
context, LCA is likely to get a standards under development. As Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
sympathetic reception but the a result, industry is considering
This table (Figure 2) shows the
methodology applied and data initiatives to develop a separate
complete environmental design
accuracy will be critically (sub)standard which is more
process with all the LCA issues
reviewed. In general it will be workable/applicable in practice
cited in this article playing a
argued that the actors have not (Lehni, 1998).
role. The column ‘remediation’
sufficient thoroughness in their
From the governmental side indicates that the weaknesses of
approach and apply over
there is also criticism. Ideally an current LCA/Eco-Indicator can
simplifications. From their
LCA based legitimacy of environ- only be partially compensated
perspective this always remains
mental policies would be a good for other ways and means.
true whatever action a company
basis for policy. However even
in countries where this has been
seriously attempted (eg. the Future of LCA
Standardisation Netherlands) this point has not As things stand now, the future
been reached. Apart from the for the application of LCA in
Before touching upon the issue
politics – including environmen- industry looks fairly bleak. The
of standardisation in the field of
tal politics – there are strong basic reason for this being is that
LCA, we will go back to the
emotional and social compo- LCA is a ‘mix’, that is a mix of
origin and nucleus of standardis-
nents. Both components are scientific and practical elements,
ation. This is an industry interest
part of real life and as such are a mix of present and future, a
because standardisation makes it
legitimate but they also are very mix of tangible and intangible
easy to compete on a global level
difficult to reconcile within a issues. As things stand now this
playing field. Therefore initially,
rigid LCA approach. will be very difficult to sort out
industrial representatives took a
Altogether the future of LCA based on a consensus between
strong interest in standardisation



Stage LCA issues/problems Remediation

Idea generation

Collect data, Toxics, scope, methodology Separate assessment of

(benchmark, suppliers) hazardous substances
and ‘end of life’/recycling
Brainstorm Methodology None

Concept consolidation,
execution of eco-design
Address focal areas: Not applicable, use Not applicable
· Energy common sense
· Materials
· Packaging
· Hazardous substances
· ‘End of life’/recycling
Address lifecycle Toxics, scope, data Separate assessment of
perspective hazardous substances and
‘end of life’/recycling

Exploitation of results
Validation of results Methodology, scope none
Communications, marketing Business perspective, private Very partly, communicate
customers, scientific community, in bases of common sense
standardisation (=’unscientific’)

Figure 2: LCA issues in the eco-design process.

stakeholders at a global level. (approximately 75%). Within The authors’ experience indi-
What should companies do the DUT DfS pro-gramme part cates that there is one effective
now? Two approaches are of the research effort is focus- solution to the many problems
recommended: ing on this issue (Vegtlander, that seem to be associated with
· Develop ‘environmental 1998) (Gielen, 1999). LCA (and also for instance eco-
accounting’ (which in the · Create a ‘living space’ for design) – that is: experience of
authors’ opinion is the different levels of sophistica- ‘practice will show the way’.
fundamental reason for LCA) tion of LCA (as a validation The DUT DfS programme will
identical to accounting systems method). This will prevent research industry’s experiences
in the financial world. It can be endless discussions between with LCA, and will model them
done and a tremendous benefit practical, fundamental and into computer-aided tools (like
would be the comparability in politically oriented practition- described by Rombouts, 1998;
treatment of ecological and ers, as described in the study Brink, Diehl and Stevels, 1998;
economic issues – as it is the on the adjustment of LCA and others) for both large indus-
authors’ belief that ecology and methodology of Bras (Bras- tries and SMEs and will thus play
economy are highly correlated Klapwijk, 1999). its role in the development of a
more sustainable future. •



References Eco-design tools

Brezet, J.C. & C. van Hemel, Goedkoop, M.J., et al., ‘Product LCA-tool developed by Turtle Bay
‘Ecodesign, a promising approach Service Systems, Ecological & (in cooperation with Philips),
to sustainable production and Economical Basics’, the Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
consumption’, UNEP IE, Paris, Netherlands, March 1999.
1997. ISBN 92-807-1631-X htm
Brezet, J.C., industry and environ-
Jansen, A.J. & A.L.N. Stevels, ment Product development and
The EPAss method, a systematic the environment, volume 20 No.
approach in environmental 1-2, ‘Dynamics in ecodesign EcoQuest
product assessment, Proc. practice’, United Nations An Ecodesign self-audit tool for
CARE Innovation ’98, Vienna, 1998. Environmental Programme, suppliers of the electronics industry.
Paris, June 1997.
Rombouts, J.P., ‘LEADS-II, A
Knowledge-based System for Lehni, Dr. Markus, ‘WBCSD
Ranking DfE-Options’, Proc. Project on Eco-Efficiency metrics IDEMAT
Internat. Symposium on & reporting, State-of-Play Report’, Material selection tool with LCA
Electronics and the Environment WBCSD, Geneva, 1998. data on material production.
May 1998, IEEE, Piscataway, 1998.
Vegtlander, J.G., ‘Designing prod-
Brink, S, J.C. Diehl & A.L.N. ucts for the future, Taking into
Stevels, ‘Eco-Quest, an Ecodesign account the ‘virtual’ eco-costs of LEADS
Self Audit Tool for Suppliers of the a product in a sustainable soci- not yet available
Electronics Industry’, Proc. ety’, Internal document (public) of
Internat. Symposium on DfS-program, Delft University of
LCA-software developed by
Electronics and the Environment Technology, 1998.
Pré-consultants, Amersfoort,
May 1998, IEEE, Piscataway, 1998.
Gielen, D.J., ‘Materialising dema- the Netherlands.
Cramer, J. & A.L.N. Stevels, terialisation, Integrated energy
‘Milieumanagement: van ‘fit’ naar and materials systems engineer-
‘stretch’, Journal of Environmental ing for greenhouse gas emission
Cramer, J., Milieumanagement: van
Quality Management, Fall 1997. migation, Doctoral dissertation,
‘fit’ naar ‘stretch’, Uitgeverij Jan van
DUT DfS program, Delft, 1999 [13]
Tukker, Arnold, ’Frames in the Arkel, Utrecht, 1997. DfS
Toxicity Controversy, Based on Bras-Klapwijk, R.M., ‘Adjusting
the Dutch chlorine debate and the Life Cycle Assessment for use in
Swedish PVC debate’, Tilburg public Policy Discourse’, Doctoral
University, Tilburg, 1998. dissertation, DUT, Delft, 1999

Stevels, A.L.N., ‘Eco-efficient

design, the Philips experience’,
Proc. EcoDesign’99: 1st Internat.
Symposium on Environmentally
Conscious Design and Inverse
Manufactruing, Tokyo, 1999.



An overview of life cycle

design and information
technology tools
Professor Carlo Vezzolin
CIR.IS, Industrial Design Department, Polytechnic University
of Milan, Italy

Carlo Vezzoli is a designer and a New environmental requirements evaluations (simplified LCA), as
Professor at the Polytechnic University mean that all life cycle phases will well as increasing the features in
of Milan with a particular interest in need to be considered in product design support tools to consider
environmental aspects of industrial design. The concept of Life Cycle the whole life cycle from product
products. He is part of the faculty of Design (LCD) has begun to conceptualisation to launch (not
both the Masters in Design and Bionics be integrated into product develop- only limted to the improvement
at the Istituto Europeo di Design, the ment processes in a range of of specific environmental perfor-
Masters in strategic design at the MIP- companies worldwide. Information mances). Finally, possible guide-
Polytechnic in Milan and a member of technology (IT) can play an impor- lines are defined for the develop-
CIR.IS (Inter-departmental Research tant role in helping companies deal ment of LCD tools, aimed at
Centre Innovation for the Environmental with this increase in complexity. developing specific solutions to
Sustainability). His research focuses on The paper firstly gives a brief specific problems whilst enabling
scenarios, criteria, strategies and tools overview of the approaches, dialogue with the various actors in
for the development of sustainable methodologies and software tools the product development process.
products and services as well as that have been developed in this
education and training. He is the Italian area. These are classified into two
co-ordinator of the EU funded research main categories: methodologies
project on ‘Strategies for a Sustainable and tools for the quantitative art of the research activities
Household’ and is the co-ordinator of
several projects for the ANPA (Italian
analysis and assessment of the
environment impact of products,
P of the Inter-departmental
Research Centre, Innovation for
National Agency for the Environment). eg. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); the Environmental Sustainability
He has taught in other European and dedicated design support tools and innovation (CIR.IS) based at
countries and spoken at conferences for environmental performance the Polytechnic University of
in Europe and US. Recently, he improvements (eg. ‘design for Milan, Italy is dedicated to the
published with Professor Ezio Manzini, disassembly’ software tools). monitoring, study and develop-
Lo sviluppo di prodotti sostenibili (The Throughout the article, examples ment of software tools for envi-
development of sustainable products). are presented that illustrate the ronmental sustainable product
recent trends in the of development design (SPD). A synthesis of the
of LCD tools. Recent research has main trends and perspectives, in
focused on analytical tools, both for relation to the role of the IT
the achievement of more reliable tools is presented here. This
and specific LCA inventory data and article investigates the ‘state of
on the development of methods and art’ through descriptions of
tools to enable faster and simpler software related to Life Cycle



Design (LCD). Finally, some Methodologies and tools for

considerations and conclusions Overview of the most
quantitative analysis of the
will be outlined. well-known LCA
environmental effects based evaluation methods
on the life cycle perspective
BUWAL methodology
Life cycle design (LCD) LCA is internationally recognised Developed by BUWAL, the
One of the major future require- as a useful methodology (ISO Swiss Department of
ments of a product will be its 14040) for the environmental Environment. The method is
environmental soundness assessment of products. based on the use of Swiss
throughout its life cycle. In this However, because of the national targets for environ-
context the LCD concept has complexity of the relationships mental impact reduction. The
emerged – where the product is that an LCA must analyse and inputs and outputs are trans-
designed to consider all the life evaluate, there are several limita- formed into eco-scores with
cycle phases (pre-production, tions to this methodology. For regards to the energy and raw
production, distribution, use and example: material consumption, and
disposal). Given an objective to · the nature of the choices and emissions to air, water and
minimise environmental impacts soil. The total impact may be
assumptions in a LCA are
during all life cycle phases, expressed by a single value.
approaches to LCD will vary
· the models are not able to CML methodology
from case to case with regards to
describe the whole spectrum Developed by the CML at
product type, industry sector,
of the environmental impacts Leiden University in the
firm’s size, life cycle costs and Netherlands. It allows
stakeholder responsibilities. The · the models are not adaptable
the user to define various
first phases of product develop- to all applications
environmental effects (green-
ment are key and environmental · on a global level, the results
house effect, acidification,
requirements should be consid- and the criteria can be inap-
eutrophication, etc.) from
ered, together with cost, propriate for local applications the input and output data of
performance, and cultural · the lack or the low quality of processes. It is the basis of
and aesthetic needs. the data can limit the reliability the most evaluation systems
The following section of the results. in Europe.
summarises the software tools EPS methodology
LCA’s goal, scope definition and
that take account of environ- (Environmental Priority
the inventory phases are usually
mental considerations and System)
well defined; but the evaluation
the lifecycle concept. Two Developed by the Swedish
phase is critical and various soft-
approaches have emerged. Firstly Environmental Research
methodologies have been devel- ware tools have been developed
Institute (IVL). Mainly used in
oped for the quantitative analysis to support analysis which is
Scandinavian countries, it
and assessment of the environ- often time consuming and
uses a single unity (ELU –
mental impact of the products complex. Below are some of
Environmental Load Unit)
eg. LCA; these tools were created the most well known, commer-
which assesses various
in order to enable quantitative cially-available LCA evaluation environmental impacts of a
evaluations in comparison with methods. product.
alternative concepts. Secondly, LCA and product
design tools have been devel-
development: the limits
oped for the improvement of
Although LCA is currently the
specific environmental perfor-
most useful methodology for
mance (dedicated tools), particu-
assessing the environmental
larly in relation to the ‘end
impact of products, there is still
of life’ phase.



cost accessible data do not have

Overview of software tools for LCA complete information on all the
Boustead database processes.
Produced by Boustead Consultants in the UK. It is primarily a tool for Ability to choose
the Inventory phase with the output interface covering the following
The easiest way to choose
categories: energy, combustibles and emissions to water, air and soil.
between two or more product
LCA inventory Tool (development) options, occurs
Produced by CIT EkoLogik, in Sweden. This program has been when each of the alternatives is
developed to aid environmental analysts rather than designers. defined by one value only (eg.
Its focus is the Inventory phase of the LCA. one value that summarises all
environmental impacts); in other
words, in an LCA as the result’s
Produced by Bergen and Jurgens in the Netherlands. It includes
aggregation increases (in Figure 1,
a database on the production phase. However it is not possible to
from inventory phase to evalua-
aggregate and compare data.
tion phase), the ability to select
Greenpack the best option decreases. In fact
Produced by the Italian Institute for Packaging. It is based on the when comparing the environ-
BUWAL methodology and focuses on packaging. mental impact of two or more
products it is easier to state
which is best when the results
Produced by Ecobilan in France. The Inventory and Evaluation
used are those of evaluation
phases are managed by two separate programs. Its best feature
is the presence of primary data derived from companies. phase (one value for each of the
alternatives), rather than those of
SIMATOOL the inventory phase (two inven-
Produced by CML at Leiden University in the Netherlands. There is a tory tables with all the inputs
database for the Inventory, with the Evaluation stage using the CML and outputs from all the
methodology. The interface is mainly designed for environmental processes). Figure 1 schematises a
analysts. hypothetical situation: in the
SIMAPRO inventory phase, product A
Produced by Pré in the Netherlands. It includes a version, for analysts results are better than the prod-
and a version for designers. It allows comparison of different complex uct B in relation to chlorofluoro-
products or product’s alternative design options in terms of environ- carbons (CFCs), but worst for
mental effects (CML and other methodologies) or as single eco-score carbon dioxide (CO2); that means
value (Eco-Indicator 95 and others). it is not easy to state which is a
better option. In the evaluation
phase, product A results are
better than product B; hence,
concern over its use in the first phases of product develop- it is clear which is the best
implementation phase of product ment versus LCA applicability alternative (in Figure 1, A is
design. Below are the most better than B).
· variety of the stakeholders in
important issues. the product development: Given what was discussed above,
· variety of products and sectors: differences in the procedural the problem is that a reliable
design specificity of every attitudes versus rigidity of the result is inversely proportional to
product versus general and LCA interface. its scientific reliability. In fact, a
decontextualised LCA data reliable LCA result comes from
Variety of products and sectors
· ability to choose: discriminat- considering all possible effects
Often it appears that implemen- evaluated using the most
ing power versus scientific
tation problems occur due to scientific possible methods, but
lack of product-specific process typically what happens during
· incisiveness of the decisions:
data, eg. public databases or low-



– Value and judgemental criteria +

+ Scientific criteria –
LCA phases

Inventory Characterisation Evaluation

carbon chlorofluoro- Greenhouse Ozone Global
dioxide (CO2) carbons (CFC) Effect (GE) layer (OL) impact

CFC B better than A GE A better than B A better than B

CO2 A better than B OL B better than A

– Discriminating value +
+ Scientific validity –

Figure 1: Relationship between the LCA results and its scientific validity

the evaluation phase of an LCA Incisiveness of the decisions the strategic design of a product
is that: In general, during the develop- strategy, to concept design, to
· as the number of impact ment process, as the product product design to process design
categories increases, the ability becomes more defined and (engineering)). At the same time,
to identify credible methods specified, the LCA methodology the possibility of reducing the
of aggregation decreases can become increasingly effec- environmental impact of the
· as the degree of aggregation tive. This is because the method- product is greater in the first
increases, the scientific level of ology requires data, which is design phases, as there is a
the evaluated results decreases unknown during the first design higher potential for innovation
(the use of the value and judg- phases. In the design phase when (and hence a higher potential
mental weighting increases) ie. the brief of a new product is level of environmental improve-
the scientific validity of the produced (in Figure 2, the ment). Therefore, the integration
LCA results decreases as it strategic design of a product of environmental requirements
passes from the Inventory to strategy) the complex processes at the level of strategic design or
Characterisation, and then relating to its future life cycle concept design, usually leads to a
toEvaluation (see Figure 1). are not known. That means it is greater environmental improve-
difficult to apply an LCA as it ment, compared to introduction
In summary, there is an inversely
requires quantitative data. at the engineering phase (process
proportional relationship
During the design phases the design).
between the scientific reliability
processes relating to the prod-
of the results and their degree of Variety of the stakeholders
uct’s life cycle phases become
aggregation, or, in the ability to in the product development
increasingly clear and, hence,
select between product options. Because of the variety of
LCA becomes more useful (eg.
actors involved in the product
in Figure 2 as one moves from



development process (project the product development dedicated design tool. This
managers, designers, marketers, process. includes tools to enable:
process engineers, etc.) a range · the selection of low
It is important to underline that
of different decisions will need environmental impact
LCA’s prime purpose is environ-
to be taken in the product materials
mental analysis and assessment
creation process. In other words, · the minimisation of toxic and
and not to provide design guide-
during the various design phases harmful materials
lines. In short, LCA indicates
(ie. strategic design of product · ‘Design for Recycling’ (DfR)
where the environmental
strategies, concept design, prod- · ‘Design for Disassembly’ (DfD)
problems are, but it doesn’t
uct design, process design) there
suggest ways to solve them. · ‘Design for Re-manufacturing’
are differences in approaches,
procedures and tools needed by
different actors. Current LCA Design tools for dedicated These dedicated tools include
manuals, guidelines or indexes
tools are highly structured, ie. at environmental performance
present LCA interfaces have been and software aided design tools.
There is an other category of
developed for environmental Below are listed some of main
tool that has been developed to
analysts. The major problem with software programs on the
address particular environmen-
LCA is the difficulty of using it market.
tally oriented-issues – the
by the various actors involved in

Overview of main software tools for dedicated environmental performance

REStar RECOVERY (REmanufactoring Cost Optimisation

Developed by the Green Design Initiative of the Extended Reuse St. [and disassemblY])
Carengie Melon University, US. This is a software Developed at the IPA of the Frankfurt Institute,
program to support the design for disassembly, Germany. It is software program aimed at identifying
recycling and repair. the most economic strategy for a product re-manu-
facturing, through the evaluation of its disassembly.
DFE (Design For Environment)
Developed by the Boothroyd, Dewhurst Inc., US IDEmat
and by the TNO (Institute of Industrial Technology), Developed by the Technical University of Delft in the
in the Netherlands. This program analyses Netherlands. It is a program for the selection of low
products throughout disassembly and provides environmental impact materials, which includes a
opportunities aimed at optimising recycling. data bank containing information on the physical,
mechanical, economic and, environmental character-
istics of several materials. It is possible to query the
Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manu-
programme through the specific characteristics of
facturing Engineering and Automation, Germany.
the material. The environmental data is expressed
During the development process, this software
in terms of Eco-Indicator 95 and EPS.
tool helps to adjust product features to recycling
requirements. There are three modules to the tool: SW tool for disassembly
assessment, guideline catalogues, evaluation. The Mechanics Department of the Politechnic
University of Milan has developed a software
RECREATION (Recycling Resources And
prototype aimed at facilitating disassembly and
Technologies InformatiON)
optimising the dismantling procedures.
Developed by the IPA at the Frankfurt Institute,
Germany. It is a database with information on recy-
cling processes and the recycled materials suppliers.



Environmental Product and services Environmental

design choices development phases impact
integration assessment

+ Strategic


LCA applicability

Environmental efficacy

of design choices

Figure 2: Relationship between the – +
LCA applicability, the environmental
efficacy of design choices and the
product development phases

Limits of software aided design current design procedures eg. the

tools for dedicated environ- integration of software tools for
mental performance environmentally sound material
Although these tools are useful
and ‘design for disassembly’,
for minimising environmental
with conventional CAD and CAM
impact, however they focus on
specific environmental issues
only. They may neglect the most
serious problems (or phases) for Development trends
a specific product-system. For
LCA and dedicated tools are
example, in the case of trans-
starting to converge and
portation products consuming a
integrate. New simplified LCA
high quantity of energy during
methodologies are being devel-
the use phase, the selection of
oped that aim to be easier to use
recyclable materials (eg. avoid-
and cheaper, and therefore more
ance of composite materials)
likely to be used in the first
could be misleading if related to
design phases. In addition, dedi-
the lifecycle conceptualisation of
cated design support tools are
the product (in which the selec-
widening their features to illus-
tion of composite light materials
trate how design activities can
could be an environmental prior-
reduce the environmental impact
ity). There is also be a problem
throughout the whole life cycle.
with the integration of many
These development trends will be
different design tools with



illustrated by some following

PWMI database on plastic materials
The European Association of Plastics Producers (APME-PWMI) has Evolution of LCA
financed a project, resulting in inventory tables (input and output) for Without good data on the
the production of polymers. This has provided primary data on a processes no one environmental
European level. impact evaluation method can be
Italian data bank for the LCA used with certainty, as the data
is often too general and de-
The ANPA (Italian Environmental Protection Agency) has commis-
sioned the Polytechnic University of Milan to develop an Italian data
bank for the LCA. The objective is to provide Italian enterprises, Some recent research has
research institutes, educational structures and the public bodies with focused on the achievement of
a series of reliable data covering the specific of the Italian situation. reliable and specific data, for a
The categories of processes to be included are materials, processing, wider variety of product types
energy, transportation, and recovery and disposing. It will be highly and sectors, as well as for differ-
modular, to fit most recent SPOLD standards. ent production scenarios (eg.
geographical areas). Two exam-
ples are presented here (see
panel), the first one being
specific for one category of
Eco-Indicator 95, Eco-it and Ecoscan
material (plastics), the second
Eco-Indicator 95 was developed in the Netherlands by Prè, Philips, one being specific for one
Oce, Nedcar and Cool, with the government support. A series of geographical area (Italy).
processes have been assigned an eco-score (for unity of measure)
defining the extent of the environmental impact. These eco-scores, In addition to the collection of
calculated with the LCA methodology, are applied simply by specialist LCA data, thinking is
multiplying them with the quantities of the processes characterising starting to focus on methods
the product life cycle. and tools to enable faster and
simpler evaluations (simplified
Pré in the Netherlands has produced the Eco-it software in which LCA). The problems associated
the life cycle processes of the product are evaluated throughout
with this are the validity and the
the calculation of the above mentioned Ecoindicators.
transparency of the data and the
Turtle Bay in the Netherlands has produced the Ecoscan software results. Particularly, as these
in which the life cycle processes of the product are evaluated utilising tools are simpler, these methods
the above mentioned Ecoindicators. A key feature is the facilitation of can be used by individuals who
calculations of transport distances, energy use and geometry of the are inexperienced in environ-
product. mental analysis (this is an advan-
tage), but they can easily lead to
evaluation errors (this is a
danger). An example of an
extremely simplified LCA is
presented here together with
two software tools.



Evolution of the
Overview of life cycle design support software tools dedicated design support
DFE (Design For Environment) second version (environmentally) tools
It has been developed by the Boothroyd, Dewurst Inc., US and by the Dedicated design support tools
TNO (Institute of Industrial Technology), the Netherlands, and is an are evolving and widening their
upgrade of the first software version. potential and effectiveness with
EDIP: Environmental Design Strategies, Environmental Specification, regards to reducing environmen-
Environmental Design and Rules tal impact throughout the whole
Developed by the Technical Universirty of Denmark in Denmark. EDIP life cycle. In the panel opposite
is a whole spectrum of software tools to support the decisions for there is a brief description of
different design phases, integrated between each other and with an some of these software tools.
LCA system.

ECODesign tool Conclusions

Developed by the ‘Design for the Environment’ Research Group at
Manchester Metropolitan University and Nortel in the UK. It is a A series of interesting tools have
program based on expert rules to support the designer while he/she been/are being developed cover-
takes decisions in the various design phases and can be interfaced ing LCD and LCA. Further efforts
with a CAD tool. This program is one of the outcome ‘Design for are required to transform these
Environment Decision Support (DEEDS)’ project funded by the projects into approaches that can
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in be used on a wider basis. It is
the UK. important to increase the visibil-
ity of the initial experiences and
define possible guidelines for
Developed by the Ecobilan, France, for the electronics sector, to be
future developments. Using a life
used in the various phases of the life cycle and by the various actors.
cycle approach it is evident that
Eco-Composit V1.0 design activity is becoming more
Produced by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Manufacturing Engineering complex eg. environmental
and Automation, Germany. This software tool supports the designer in requirements have to be
the development of electronic products by making him/her aware of extended to all life cycle phases
environmental issues. It creates customised guideline catalogues for and to all stakeholders in the
individual components.
process. In practical terms there
LEADS is a need for more information
The Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands developed on the relationship:
a project that aims to create a software tool for environmental · between the system of
product development (EPD) by providing general guidelines for EPD, production and consumption
a communication format, and indications of environmental load. and the environment
LCD multimedia educational tool · between the various
The Products and Services Research Unity of the CIR.IS together with stakeholders of the system of
the METID (Centre for Innovative Methods and Technologies for the product development
Didactic) has initiated a project to produce a multimedia educational · between these actors and
and training software tool for the study and the development of whoever is involved in the
sustainable products on a life cycle approach. It will based on product life cycle.
simplified LCA and on expert rules LCD. It will be founded by the
ANPA (Italian Environmental Protection Agency). In this highly complicated design
context, IT (software) assumes an
important role due to its ability
to hold, analyse, circulate,
compare, highlight and present



in various forms (with different · the customisation to different sustainability are on a systemic
interfaces) large amounts of product sectors or product level, which will require innova-
information. The benefit of IT types and by-products tions on a social and cultural
(software) is its ability to · the adaptability to various level as well as a technological
manage this increased degree stakeholders in the product one. There will never be one
of complexity. development process tool able to solve all the design
· the integration with today’s problems in an effective manner.
The development of the new
design tools and the proce- More realistically, in the future,
eco-design support tools will
dures (eg. CAD and CAM) tools will need to be developed
have to deal with the following
to solve specific problems and, at
issues: · the adaptation to an integrated
the same time these tools will
· the widening of focus to the mix of products and services.
need to be able to interact
whole life cycle The development and use of new (when necessary) with other
· the integration of simplified IT (software) tools that aim to tools, as well as effectively inter-
LCA into the various product support design activities is not face with the various stakehold-
development phases the solution to the integration of ers in the product development
· the integration of expert the environmental considera- process. •
rules into various product’s tions into design; as the changes
development phases required to move towards

Alting L., Wenzel H., Haushild M. Z., Jorgensen J., Environmental tool in
Product development, Danish Technical University, Life Cycle Centre,
Institute for Product Development, Denmark, 1993

Brezet H., Stevel A., Rombouts J., LCA for Ecodesign: the Dutch experience,
in proceedings ‘Ecodesign ’99’, Tokyo, 1999

Benjamin Y., Design for health profiler, European Foundation for improve-
ment of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin, 1995

Goedkoop, M., Life-cycle analysis for designers. ed. A.-M. Bor., European
Design Centre Ltd., Eindhoven, 1994

Manzini E., Vezzoli C., Lo sviluppo di prodotti sostenibili. Irequisiti ambientali

dei prodotti industriali, maggioli Editore, Rimini, 1998

Poyner, J.R. and Simon M., Integration of DFE tools with product develop-
ment, Clean electronics products and concepts, Edinburgh, Institution of
Electrical Engineers, London, 1995

Schmidt-Bleek F., Tischner U., Designing goods with MIPS, FEB, Wuppertal
Institut, 1993

Sweatman A. and Simon M., Design for environment tools and product
innovation, 3rd International Seminar on Life cycle Engineering “ECO-
Performance ‘96”, March 18-20, ETH Z¸rich, 1996

Vezzoli C., Life cycle design, a strategy for the development of sustainable
products: case study of a telephone, Industry and Environment Review,
United Nations Environmental Programme, Paris, 1997



‘Design for Environment’

software development
Winston Knight and Mark Curtisn
Vice President, Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc., US; and
Principal Partner of Design IV, UK

Dr Winston Knight is Professor This paper describes the develop- make changes because of
and Chairman of the Industrial & ment of a software tool for deter- rapidly increasing modification
Manufacturing Engineering Department, mining the financial and environ- costs and the effects on time-
University of Rhode Island (URI), US, and mental effects of ‘end of life’ to-market.
Vice-President of Boothroyd Dewhurst, disassembly. The environmental
Inc. Recently, his work has been impact from initial manufacture This emphasises the need to
extended to include ‘Design for of the product is also determined. make the right decisions first
Environment’ (DfE) analysis tools. Environmental assessment is time at the early stages of prod-
He is the author of over one hundred achieved through the single figure uct design. It has been found
papers on various aspects of manufac- indicator, MET points. A procedure necessary to provide design
turing engineering, CAD/CAM and for optimising the disassembly teams with predictive analysis
design for manufacture, and he is sequences to release valuable or tools, which quantify the effects
the co-author of six textbooks. environmentally beneficial items as of design attributes on manufac-
early as possible is included. The turing and assembly costs to
Mark Curtis is the founding and
program expands the range of facilitate early design decision
principal partner of Design IV, a UK-
predictive analysis tools for use in making. This is the basis of
based organisation focused on the
concurrent engineering to enable DFMA, which has been shown to
commercial implementation and
the design of more environmentally be very effective in many indus-
application of Design for Manufacture,
friendly products. This programme tries and numerous case studies
Assembly, Service and Environment
software technology in companies has been developed jointly with the of the development of more
throughout Europe and the Middle East. TNO Industry Centre, Delft in the competitive products have been
He is currently working on multiple Netherlands. reported (Boothroyd et al, 1994).
assignments within design and Fundamental to this approach is
manufacture organisations in the placing the analysis tools in the
defence, communications and Introduction hands of the designers in an easy
automotive industries located in the xperience with product to use form to enable early
UK, Finland and Germany on the
application and implementation of
E design for manufacture
and assembly (DFMA) has
design decisions to be based on
sound information.
DFMA technologies and particularly shown that: When ‘end of life’ disassembly
Design for Environment (DFE) into their · early design decisions and environmental impact are of
new product introduction procedures. concerning product structure, concern, the same conclusions
materials and processes deter- can be drawn. The ease of dis-
mine the majority of manufac- assembly and the environmental
turing costs for a product. impact of products are deter-
· the further into the develop- mined by decisions made by
ment process for a new product designers early in the develop-
the greater is the reluctance to ment of a product, when initial



choices of materials and assem- aim of evaluating the costs of following developments were
bly methods are made. In general disassembly or the most appro- necessary:
designers and engineers have priate disassembly sequence · data for determining
little training or background in (Zussman et al, 1998, Johnson disassembly and ‘end of life’
environmental assessment and and Wang, 1994). Similarly tools disposition costs
must either rely on the advice of for environmental assessment · a method for environmental
experts or be provided with the have also been developed (PRe impact evaluation, which is
necessary information to make Consultants, 1997). However as readily usable by designers
the appropriate decisions. Thus, far as is known, the DfE tool together with associated data
suitable product analysis tools described in this paper is the for material production,
should also be available to only available that enables material disposal, material
designers with this emphasis, if financial and environmental recycling and for manufactur-
these aspects of product design factors to be considered in a ing processes
are to be effectively evaluated. single analysis.
· a procedure for determining
Such tools should be easy to use
the most appropriate
by product designers, without
Product analysis procedures disassembly sequence for
the need to rely on lengthy
a given product.
studies by Life Cycle Analysis for disassembly
(LCA) experts and industrial The purpose of the procedures
ecologists. for product analysis is to effec- Financial analysis of
Recently a software analysis tool tively simulate disassembly at disassembly
has been developed which is ‘end of life’ disposal and then
Disassembly costs are
aimed at fulfilling this need and to quantify for design teams the
determined from time-standard
which can be used in conjunc- resulting cost benefits and
databases developed specifically
tion with current DFMA analysis changes in effective environ-
for ‘end of life’ disassembly
tools. This Design for mental impact. The following
processes (Girard and
Environment (DfE) software main outputs are provided:
Boothroyd, 1995, Rapoza et al,
simulates ‘end of life’ disassem- · a picture of the financial 1996). This database is a
bly of the product and quantifies cost or return at each stage of modification of that developed
the economic and environmental disassembly of the product previously for disassembly for
effects as disassembly proceeds. · a summary of the effective design for service evaluations
Although this appears to be a environmental impact of the (Dewhurst and Abatiello, 1996).
DfE analysis tool primarily deal- product at each stage of Increased time penalties are
ing with ‘end of life’ manage- disassembly associated with disassembly
ment issues, assessment of the · an assessment of the problems such as difficult access
environmental impact of the environmental impact of and so on. Disassembly costs are
whole life cycle of the product, manufacturing the product determined by multiplying the
including initial manufacture, is and the materials used times by an appropriate labour
obtained. Simulating ‘end of life’ · a determination of the best rate. Any profit or cost from
disassembly is a convenient way disassembly sequence for a the disposition of each item is
of considering every item within proposed product design. determined from recycling
the product. This software has values and disposal costs for
been developed jointly with the The analysis procedure readily different materials in a materials
TNO Industry Centre in Delft, allows different design configura- database. Each item in the
the Netherlands. tions, including alternative mate- assembly is allocated to an
rial and process selections to be appropriate ‘end of life’ destina-
Modelling of the disassembly of
evaluated and compared. tion (recycle, reuse, regular or
products has received consider-
able attention, usually with the In order to meet these aims the special disposal and so on) based



on its material content and this

information, together with the Material cycles Energy use Toxic emissions
item weight, enables the possible
Exhaustion of resources Greenhouse effect Ozone depletion
costs or profits to be determined.
Acidification Human toxicity
An initial disassembly sequence
can be entered directly by the Smog Ecotoxicity
user or is preferably generated Eutrophication
automatically from a design for
assembly (DFA) analysis, by
effectively reversing the initial Figure 1: Grouping of effects for MET points
assembly list. The user is able to
edit this sequence, in particular develop databases of environ- figures for these sub groups to be
to form groups of items which mental or eco-indicators, which investigated if required, thereby
will not be taken apart at ‘end are derived from detailed LCAs. indicating the nature of the envi-
of life‘, but will be recycled or Typical of these systems are ronmental impact in somewhat
disposed of together. EcoIndicator 95 (Netherlands greater detail than a single figure.
NOH, 1995) and MET points
As with other single figure indi-
(Kalisvaart and Remmerswaal,
Environmental impact cators, MET-points are based on
1994), in which the total envi-
calculations from a LCA of a
assessment ronmental effects for materials
material or a product and the
Environmental impact analysis of and processes are presented in
procedure for deriving MET
products and processes can be the form of a single figure
points is based on the guidelines
accomplished through a full LCA, indicator. In conceiving this
for LCA’s outlined by SETAC
in which a detailed inventory of software, it was felt strongly that
(Fava et al, 1991). First an inven-
all inputs and emissions is devel- the environmental analysis of
tory of emissions is drawn up
oped. Such analyses are usually the product should be presented
and then the various emissions
carried out by experts and to the design teams in a mean-
classified into their contributions
frequently yield large amounts of ingful way, for this to have the
to the eight evaluated effects
difficult to interpret data. Thus, greatest impact on product
using the CML classification
in practical terms, detailed LCAs design. Thus one of these so-
(Heijungs et al, 1992). The result-
have two major obstacles to called single figure environmen-
ing effect scores are then
effective use during early design: tal indicators for impact assess-
normalised by dividing by the
· the results of a LCA are often ment was judged to be the most
total environmental effect per
hard to interpret, as they suitable. In this case the indica-
person per day in each
contain data on a wide range tor called MET points, developed
classification for a region under
of emissions, etc. by the TNO Industry Centre in
consideration, in this case, the
Delft in the Netherlands, who
· the time to carry out a full LCA Netherlands. Finally, a weighting
collaborated in producing the
is excessively long to be useful is applied to each effect score
software, was chosen, although
during early product design. based on how close the current
one of the other indicators, such
total effect for the region is to
For these reasons there has been as EcoIndicator 95, could have
agreed target levels. In this case
emphasis on the development of been used.
weightings based on Dutch target
more streamlined procedures for The MET points indicator takes levels for the eight effect classes
the environmental evaluation of into account the eight environ- have been used. The reader is
products and processes, which mental effects listed in Figure 1 referred elsewhere for more
nonetheless embody much of and further divides these into details of the determination of
the information that would be three sub-groups (Material these points (Kalisvaart and
obtained from a detailed LCA cycles, Energy use and Toxic Remmerswaal, 1994).
study. The approach is to emissions). This allows separate



It is not necessary for the users

of the software to carry out this
form of LCA, as the software is Product
provided with a comprehensive information
database of M, E and T scores for Cost and
a range of materials and manu- environment
facturing processes. If additional Disassembly
DFA file
data should be required to be worksheet
added to the database, then the Reports
analysis process outlined above Materials
should be used. For materials, MET data
MET scores are included in the DFD & DFE
Manufacturing questions
database for the following: MET data
· material production
· material recycling
· material disposed of in
a regular landfill
Figure 2: Structure of the DfE program
· material disposed of in a
landfill with special treatment.
· material disposed of in a replace inappropriate dis- · use the program to
regular incinerator assembly operations or to determine the best disassembly
· material disposed of in an group items together, which sequence using a procedure
incinerator with special will not be separated at dis- also described below
treatment. assembly · display the results of the
· For each item, enter the financial and environmental
materials and manufacturing analysis of the product – these
Utilisation of the software processes used during manufac- are summarised in a graph
The structure and data flow for ture – these are selected from containing a financial and an
the DfE program is shown in drop down lists corresponding environmental line.
Figure 2. The main working to categories in the materials
window is a worksheet which and processes database
Financial assessment line
lists all items in the product in · specify an ‘end of life’
disassembly order and which destination for each item A typical financial assessment
includes results, which (reuse, recycle, landfill or graph is shown in Figure 3 for
contribute to the financial and incinerate) and indicate if the disassembly of a 386 PC. This
environmental analysis of the special waste treatment is shows the return or cost as disas-
product. The general sequence required; for materials which sembly of the product progresses
for using the program is as are recycled a value is obtained and is plotted against disassembly
follows: from the materials database time. A point on this curve
· build an initial disassembly list · assign disassembly precedence represents the profit or net cost
for the product – this can be to each item – this entails if disassembly is stopped at this
done using the program stand- indicating which items must be stage. Thus the first point
alone, but preferably should be removed immediately prior to represents the costs of product
obtained automatically from a an item in order to release it disposal by landfill or incinera-
previous DFA analysis from the assembly; the tion (user selected) without
procedure for doing this is disassembly, which includes the
· edit the disassembly list as
outlined later take-back costs of the product
necessary, usually to remove or



(collection, inventory, etc.) and

the product weight multiplied by
the appropriate disposal cost per
unit weight. Included in the
contributions to each point on
the graph are the following:
· the take-back cost of the
whole product
· the cost of disassembly up to
this point (cumulative disas-
sembly time multiplied by
labour rate)
· the cumulative value (from
recycling or reuse) of items
disassembled to this point
· the cost of disposal of the
remainder of the product yet to
be disassembled (rest fraction). Figure 3 Financial line for 386 computer
It should be noted that it is
assumed that the rest fraction
is disposed of by special waste power supplies, have significant bly methods are assumed.
treatment (landfill or incinera- resale value when removed from · recycling of an item results in
tion) as long as any item the assembly. effective recovery or release of
requiring such treatment the MET points for initial
remains in the rest fraction. material manufacture (modified
Special disposal is in general
by a quality factor to account
more expensive than regular assessment line for contamination, etc., if
disposal. The environmental impact necessary). This means that if
assessment results are a material is recycled then the
Generally at the start of disas-
summarised in curves which environmental penalty of
sembly small items (fasteners,
show the net MET points from producing the material from
etc.) are removed – when the
initial manufacture of the prod- raw materials is assumed not
cost of disassembly is greater
uct and ‘end of life’ disposal at to be paid again.
than the value of any material
any stage of disassembly. Figure · reuse or remanufacture of an
recovered. Some items will have
4 shows a typical example for item results in effective recov-
a significant positive effect on
the 386 PC. In a similar manner ery of the MET points for both
this financial return analysis. This
to the financial assessment initial material manufacture
will be the case for items that
curves, a specific point on the and the initial manufacturing
have high recycling values, are
curve represents the net envi- processes for the item. This
reused or are toxic (the rest
ronmental impact of the product means that effectively the envi-
fraction of the product becomes
if disassembly is stopped at this ronmental penalties of both
less costly to dispose of once
stage. The main assumptions that initial material production and
these items are removed). These
have been made in all analyses component manufacturing are
items are referred to as critical
are as follows: not paid again.
items. For the curve shown in
· the disassembly processes for · the rest fraction of the product
Figure 3 it was assumed that
the product have negligible at any stage of disassembly is
some of the items, such as
environmental impact (MET assumed to be disposed of by
memory SIMMs, disk drives and
points) since manual disassem- special waste methods as long



as an item requiring special

waste treatment (referred to as
toxic) remains in the rest frac-
tion, after which regular waste
disposal methods are assumed.
It should be noted that for all
materials, special waste
disposal results in lower MET
points per unit weight than
regular waste disposal methods.
For the environmental curves the
vertical axis shows MET points
for the product as disassembly
proceeds. The contributions to
each point on the curve are as
· the MET points for initial
material and processes for
manufacturing the whole Figure 4: Environmental line for 386 computer
· the cumulative effect of mental impact of the disposal of Optimisation of disassembly
reprocessing for recycling and the whole product either by sequences
disposal for all items disassem- regular or special waste treat-
In complex products there are a
bled to this stage ment, whichever is applicable. As
wide variety of possible disas-
· the MET points for disposal disassembly proceeds, the curve
sembly sequences, limited by the
of the rest-fraction of the moves up if items are recycled or
disassembly precedence for each
product remanufactured, as some of the
item. For example many items in
· fewer MET points ‘recovered’ initial MET points for product
sub-assemblies can be removed
for items disassembled so far manufacture are effectively
without first removing the sub-
which are recycled or reused ‘recovered.’ The curve will also
assemblies or the sub-assembly
(remanufacture) move up or down if items are
can be removed before disassem-
removed which result in the rest
· the MET points associated with bling further to reach the
fraction being changed from
take-back of the whole product required item. Determination of
special waste to regular waste
(transport, etc.). the most appropriate disassembly
disposal. This will normally
sequence for a product is there-
Note that all MET points are happen when the last item,
fore of interest. This requires a
negative, since they measure which has to be treated as
procedure for capturing the
effects on the environment special waste, is removed from
disassembly precedence of the
through emissions, use of scarce the assembly. Note that at this
product, a criterion for judging
materials, etc. Remanufacturing point, the curve may in fact
the most appropriate sequence
or recycling of items effectively move down, because of the
and a strategy for reordering the
reduces the negative effects of increased environmental impact
sequence. The criterion for
products’ initial manufacture and for all materials processed as
moving items forward in a disas-
‘end of life’ disposal. The first regular waste relative to special
sembly sequence is based on the
point on the curve represents waste, but at correspondingly
greatest rate of improvement in
the environmental impact from lower cost.
profit (cost) or environmental
the initial manufacture of the
whole product plus the environ-



The program contains a

procedure for the user to assign
disassembly precedence to each
item. This consists of highlighting
a specific item and then selecting
other items that need to be
removed immediately prior to
it for it to be released from
the product. In selecting the
immediate predecessor, any
predecessors of this already
assigned are indicated to the
user by highlighting in a different
colour. The precedence assign-
ment process is best achieved
by starting at the top of the list
and working down. Continuous
checks for circular precedence
assignments and so on, are built
Figure 5: Results for 386 computer after moving power supply earlier in sequence
into the procedure. This process
is very useful since it forces the
user to carefully consider all ∑T is the sum of all disassembly first step in the disassembly
disassembly constraints and leads times for the necessary items to analysis process, a Design for
to suggestions on design changes be removed to release the item Assembly (DFA_) analysis was
for releasing valuable items more under consideration alone. carried out using DFA software.
easily. The DFA analysis showed that the
Yields are calculated for all
product consisted of 99 parts
A procedure has been developed, critical items and then the item
with 3 sub-assemblies and had a
which will reorder the critical with the highest yield is moved
total of 102 items assembled, plus
items (those which produce forward, along with its predeces-
18 additional operations. The DFA
significant steps in the financial sors, as far as the precedence will
assembly time was estimated to
curves) as early as possible in the allow. Subsequently the yields of
be 1071s. The PC weighed 7.32 kg.
disassembly sequences, but the remainder of critical items
limited by the precedence are recalculated and the highest The initial disassembly sequence
constraints input with the yield item moved forward as far was arbitrary, being a reversal of
initial disassembly sequences. as possible up to the previously the DFA assembly lists. Some
The order in which items are moved item and so on. In prac- editing of the disassembly steps
moved forward in the disassem- tice the yields must be recalcu- was necessary, so that parts made
bly sequence is determined lated at each stage as the differ- of the same or of compatible
from the greatest yield (rate of ent critical items will often have materials that would not have
improvement). common items in the lists of to be separated for the purposes
precedents. of reuse, recycling, or special
A critical item, which produces a
disposal, were combined and
large positive jump in the curve,
treated as one item. Also, appro-
should be moved forward in the Example of product analysis priate disassembly procedures
disassembly sequence. The yield
In order to illustrate the applica- were assumed where soldered
of an item is defined as:
tion of these product analysis wires were simply cut for
Yield = ∑E/∑T, where ∑E is the procedures, the disassembly of a example. The financial line and
sum of all costs and profits and 386 PC will be considered. As a environmental line for this



financially optimised disassembly

sequence. In this case, the maxi-
mum financial return of $20
occurs with the removal of item
number 24, the hard drive, at a
disassembly time of around
400s. From the financial view-
point disassembly should cease
at this point, but for least effec-
tive environmental impact
almost complete disassembly of
the computer is required.

Concluding remarks
The use of decision support
tools, which predict quantita-
tively the effects of initial design
decisions, can significantly
Figure 6: Results for 386 computer with optimal disassembly sequence influence the concurrent engi-
neering approach to product
edited sequence are shown in the power supply, which is design. Following on from the
Figures 3 and 4. As can be seen, assumed to have a resale value of success of design for manufac-
with the assumptions made for $5 and produces a corresponding ture and assembly techniques in
the ‘end of life’ destinations for step in the financial line. By industry, the range of analysis
each item, a profit of around $20 selecting this item, a procedure tools available for early design
could be realised for this prod- whereby the selected item is application has been extended to
uct, but complete disassembly of moved forward as far as possible, cover recycling and environmen-
the computer would be required but limited by the precedence tal impact. These will enable
for this initial sequence. The assigned, can be used. The greater consideration of recycla-
point of least effective environ- financial and environmental lines bility and environmental impact
mental impact also corresponds for the new disassembly to be given during product
to complete disassembly and this sequence are shown in Figure 5, design. These procedures have
is often the case. with the power supply now at been developed into a software
position 9 in the disassembly tool for use in a concurrent
The program allows different
order. The user can continue engineering environment, as a
disassembly sequences to be
moving individual items in this joint development with the TNO
investigated in two ways. The
manner and hence investigate a Industry Centre. Different design
first by allowing the user to
wide range of disassembly configurations for products can
move selected items forward in
sequences. However, utilising be easily compared using the
the disassembly sequence alone
the optimisation strategy program, which is now being
and the second by implementing
described above is more useful. used in industry for product
the optimisation strategy
Figure 6 shows the financial line analysis and benchmarking. •
outlined above. Item 21 in the
and environmental line for the
initial disassembly sequence is



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Manufacture and Assembly’ (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994).

Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc., ‘Design for Environment Software Manual’

(Wakefield, Rhode Island: Boothroyd Dewhurst , 1997)

Dewhurst, P. and Abatiello, N., ‘Design for Service’, in Huang, G.Q. (Ed.),
‘Design for X: Concurrent Engineering Imperatives’, (London: Chapman
and Hall, 1996) pp. 298-717.

Fava, J.A. et al, ‘A Technological Framework for Lie-Cycle Assesment’

(Washington, DC: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry,
November, 1991).

Girard, A., and Boothroyd, G., ’Design for Disassembly’ in Proceedings of

International Forum on Product Design for Manufacture and Assembly,
Newport, RI, June 12–13, 1995.

Heijungs, R. et al, ‘Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of Products, Guide

and Background’ (Leiden: Centre for Environmental Sciences, University of
Leiden, 1992).

Johnson, M.R. and Wang, M.H., ‘Planning Product Disassembly for Material
Recovery Opportunities’, International Journal of Production Research, 1994,
Vol.32, pp. 3119-3142.

Kalisvaart, S., and Remmerswaal, J., ‘The MET-Points Method: a new single
figure environmental performance indicator’, in Proceedings of Integrating
Impact Assessment into LCA, SETAC, Brussels, (October 1994).

Netherlands NOH, ‘Eco-indicator 95 – Manual for Designers’, Report No.9524

(Amsterdam: Netherlands NOH, 1995).

Prè Consultants, ECO-it Software Package, 1997 (

Rapoza, B., Harjula, T., Knight, W.A., and Boothroyd G., ‘Product Design
for Disassembly and Environment’, in Annals of CIRP, 1996, Vol. 45, No.1,

Zussman, E., Zhou, M-C. and Caudill, R., 1998, Disassembly Petri Net
‘Approach to Modeling and Planning Disassembly Processes of Electronic
Products’, Proceedings of International Symposium on Electronics and the
Environment, Oakbrook, Il., May, p.321.



Volvo Clean Air Initiative

Volvo has launched a new technology

that converts its car radiators into
catalytic converters.

As air passes through the treated radia-

tor, ozone (O3) molecules are converted
into oxygen (O2) and the conversion
increases with increasing ambient air
temperature, increasing coolant temper-
ature in the cooling system and increas-
ing ozone (O3) content in the ambient
air. The conversion works from approxi-
mately 10°C ambient air temperature
and after a few minutes’ driving. Volvo is the first car manufacturer in the the California Air Resources Board, one
world to commercialise this technology of the world s leading proponents of
Low-level ozone (O3), the principal which has been developed and tested clean-air initiatives. Tests conducted
component of photochemical smog, is together with the US-based Engelhard around the world in numerous different
formed when nitrogen oxides (NO) and Corporation. The Volvo S80 will include conditions have shown that as much as
hydrocarbons from traffic and other radiators treated with Engelhard’s 75% of the ozone (O3) that flows
sources are exposed to sunlight. A high PremAir catalyst system and they will through the radiator is converted to
ozone (O3) content in urban air is not also be fitted to other future Volvo oxygen (O2). The purification effect on
only a health hazard to people, espe- models. hot days and when the air has a high
cially the young and elderly, but also to ozone (O3) content will partially offset
vegetation, for example by affecting Volvo’s decision to introduce the the level of ozone (O3) production from
crop yields. technology on its new S80 has been the exhaust of a modern car equipped
supported by the Environmental with a catalytic converter.
Protection Agency in the US and also by



ICL reconditions unwanted PCs for small business

and home user market

ICL, the IT systems services company, The PCs, which are acquired from large
is offering its large customers a unique corporates, will be wiped clean of data,
recycling service in which unwanted refurbished, resprayed, reliciensed, have
PCs and notebooks are fully recon- a new keyboard and new mouse fitted,
ditioned and sold through dealers to repackaged, and complete with
PCs, delivered from large corporate UK consumers who can buy them at a Microsoft Windows software loaded
organisations, awaiting reconditioning fraction of the cost of a new machine. and a 90 day warranty.

The service is branded STAR (Second Key to the STAR service will be a
Time Around). It seeks to emulate the standard price list which dealers will
success of Network Q in the second- not be able to undercut. ICL will ensure
hand car market, by providing that all STAR dealers are vetted and
consumers with highly affordable provide telephone support, installation
products through a vetted network of and have the ability to provide extended
reputable dealers. The STAR service is warranty services.
aimed at the growing small business,
The STAR initiative is an important
home office and home user market
part of ICL’s Recycle programme which
The reconditioning of a PC involves the which does not necessarily require
will help ensure the environmental
removal of dust particles from inside high specification machines.
performance of their end-of-life
the machine via air suction management projects.

Philips Semiconductors’ GreenChip

Research by the UK and German Philips Semiconductors has devised a enables Philips Semiconductors to build
governments shows that at least 11% solution to this problem with the inven- chips that combine the ability to be
of total power consumption is wasted tion of a new device called GreenChip . programmed to control the energy
by equipment, such as monitors, TVs This can reduce the typical power usage efficiently with tolerance to
and VCRs, in standby mode waiting for consumption in standby mode from mains voltages. Normally, chips can
someone to activate them usually by between 5 to 10 watts to just 1 to 2 only operate at a few volts and would
remote control. VCRs are the worst watts and yet is able to supply full be destroyed if mains voltages were
performers with nearly 90% of their power in less than one second. This can applied to them. These new chips have
power consumption being used for be reduced even further to between 0.1 a special structure that reduces the high
standby. The Department of Energy and 0.5 watts by the addition of a voltages down to a level that the chips
in the USA estimates that Americans second GreenChip giving an overall can handle.
spend nearly $1 billion each year just power saving of up to 99% when going
These GreenChips are now designed
powering their TVs and VCRs while on from 10 watts to 0.1 watts. The secret
into TVs and VCRs and are available in
standby. And these figures are likely to behind the power saving capability of
the shops.
increase as more items become fitted the GreenChip is a special process that
with remote control units.



Making a stand

The UK Council for Environmental

Education (CEE) commissioned the
Surrey Institute of Art & Design,
University College, UK, to design and
build them an environmentally consid-
ered exhibition stand. The Environmental
Studies Core, Interior Design and Design
Management degree programmes
organised a team of third year students,
design staff and technicians to under-
take this project. In addition, an educa-
tional video was produced documenting
the project by the Film & Video
programme at The Surrey Institute and Below is a brief summary of some of the Interface, a pioneer in sustainable
Farnborough College of Technology, UK. environmental attributes of the materi- business practices. Interface is the first
This video is provisionally programmed als, products and companies used in the carpet company to achieve ISO 14001
to be screened on national television. construction of the final stand. and BS7750.
The final exhibition stand was opened at Text panels: Birch Areoply was used for This process has resulted in a large
the National Education Show by Alan the exhibition stand's text panels. The percentage of the materials and prod-
Meale, Under Secretary of State for the product used is thin plywood. The raw ucts utilised in the construction of the
UK Department of the Environment, material (birch wood) is grown and then stand being supplied by companies who
Transport and the Regions. manufactured into Areoply by UPM- have at least an environmental mission
The aim of the design team was to Kymmene. The wood was sourced from statement and have begun the task of
minimise the environmental impacts of their sustainably managed forests in implementing an EMS. Where factors
the exhibition stand through its whole Finland and then manufactured into the such as cost have allowed, companies
life cycle. This has meant considering all end product using considered manufac- have been selected who have received
aspects of the design and construction turing processes. UPM-Kymmene has or are working towards becoming
of the stand, from the selection of raw an environmental policy and an environ- accredited with ISO 14001.
materials and production processes mental management system (EMS) in
Designing in an environmental way
through to making the stand reusable operation.
always involves companies and this
and highly durable. The project was a Major structural support units: recycled project was no exception. Certain
real challenge to the students, as the spiral-wound fibreboard tubes were materials had to be used because of
stand had to also communicate and used for the exhibition stand's major their reliability, cost-effectiveness and
promote the aims and activities of CEE, structural supports. 100% post- flexibility, rather than being the most
as well as the environmental attributes consumer carton board waste (used environmentally-sound material or
of the stand. corrugated boxes and carton board) and product on the market.
An important part of the process was a water-based glue are the only materials
An exhibition stand with environmental
strict environmental procurement policy used in the production of these tubes.
integrity was created, which will act as
in relation to suppliers, materials, Carpet tiles: the carpet tiles used on a benchmark for the exhibition industry.
processes and products. the exhibition stand were donated by



Dr Lutz-Günther Scheidt
Director, Environment Center Europe, Sony
International (Europe) GmbH, Germany

Martin Chartern
Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

Lutz-Günther Scheidt joined What do you think are the new and challenging area, the
Sony in April 1990 and holds a key impacts of sustainability model as yet has not been
doctorate in Information Technology on product and service clearly formulated. Social
from the Dresden University, Germany. development? alongside economic and
He is the responsible Director of ECE environmental considerations
he initial phase of business
(Environmental Center Europe) and
procurist of Sony International (Europe)
T sustainability has focused on
eco-efficiency of processes, as
are an integral part of the ‘triple
bottom line’ for business and a
GmbH. Lutz-Günther is developing key opportunity is to address
well as ‘end of pipe’ technology.
comprehensive environmental these elements in the product
However, there is now a shift
management systems and development process. For
to exploring the reduction of
environmental R&D (Research & example, issues that should be
environmental impacts of prod-
Development) for Sony in Europe. considered include consumer
ucts at the beginning of the
In 1994 he initiated the Eureka use, number of people employed
product development process
umbrella CARE ‘VISION 2000’. and displaced through the devel-
eg. at source. Eco-efficiency is a
He also represents Sony at the opment of a new eco-efficient
concept developed by the World
WBCSD (World Business Council or more sustainable products.
Business Council for Sustainable
for Sustainable Development) Clearly, business sustainability
Development (WBCSD) and
acting as Liaison Delegate. requires new ideas, this has been
provides a good platform for
Dr Scheidt is one of the Directors well illustrated in Claude
thinking and practice, the idea is
of the Foundation for Business Fussler's book with Professor
to reduce resource and energy
and Sustainable Development Peter James on ‘Driving eco-
consumption of products and
(Geneva and Oslo). innovation', which provides a
services but importantly to
wide range of interesting ideas
'add value’ to customers (see
and examples for eco-product
aboutus.htm). The business
sustainability challenge is
What are the major issues that
complex and will require
need to be addressed if we are to
long-term strategic thinking,
move towards more sustainable
approaches and implementation
that involves all stakeholders.
WBCSD is doing pioneering A key issue is how you choose
work in this area through it to define ‘sustainable consump-
scenarios project for the tion.’ Does sustainable
electronics sector. consumption imply less
consumption overall? Or could
The wider definition of sustain-
it also be understood to mean
able product development is a
consuming differently? – for



instance sharing or leasing

eco-impact in the use phase of
clothes cleaning. However, there
is a range of examples, where
Within the electronics industry,
the focus of eco-design has been
green products have failed development,
simply because manufacturers
on product improvements – for
instance, reducing the energy
have forgotten to talk to the as opposed to
consumer! Therefore, it is
consumption of a TV by an
improved design in the power
important to think laterally and eco-design is
explore initiatives from various
board component. This technical
and engineering effort has been
business sectors to provide new
perspectives. Information tech-
about the
done mostly in the absence of
a complete appreciation of the
nology and the dematerialisation
process provide major opportu-
consumption-side of sustainabil-
ity; for instance, consumer
behaviour in relation to the
nities to shift from owning phys-
ical products to the purchase of
services. Dematerialisation is a
purchase, ownership, mainte-
nance and disposal of products.
useful strategy but it is not a development
panecea, and new tools need to
This is primarily because in its
first phases environmental
be developed to help measure process from
the eco-impact reduction poten-
management and eco-design
have been dominated by techni-
tial of product-service shifts. idea generation
However, all of this does not
cal and engineering specialists,
rather than broader strategic
address the fundamental and
difficult issues of a growing
to product and
business people. To give the
correct picture, it is essential
worldwide population and finite
resources. At present no-one has
‘end of life’
to understand consumer behav-
the answers. However, the work
iour and product use in relation
to the purchasing and ‘take back’
by OECD, UNEP and WBCSD on management,
sustainable consumption is
of green or non-green products.
At present, this is poorly under-
providing useful insights into the considering the
role of business in this process.
stood. This is particularly impor-
tant when one considers that the
From your experience what are
biggest environmental impact of
electronics products is in its use
the key issues in developing,
implementing and managing
impacts of the
phase. Smart technologies and
an eco-product development
on-line information could help
programme? product or
consumers make better purchas-
ing decisions and improve the The first is being clear about
what you want to achieve.
service from
consumer-product relationship
during the active-life and ‘end
of life’ of a product.
Eco-product development, as
opposed to eco-design is about
‘cradle to
the complete product develop-
There may be opportunities for
ment process from idea genera- grave’.
innovative partnerships in this
tion to product and ‘end of life’
area, for example, in the
management, considering the
clothing market some clothing,
environmental impacts of the
detergent and white goods
product or service from ‘cradle
companies are working together
to grave’. At present the
to explore the reduction of



development of tools to help be selected using the remote improved clarification will come
understand this process is control. about without the undesired
limited, particularly when one effects of an over specified and
There are a range of business
focuses on service development inflexible set of policies.
benefits resulting from eco-
and eco-innovation. Knowledge,
product development: cost For those companies that have
sound judgement and experience
savings; enhanced product/brand concrete and comprehensive
are key resources in eco-product
differentiation; risk reduction; approaches to eco-product
development and eco-design.
legal compliance; and innovation development and eco-design, IPP
At Sony we use a set of specific, opportunities. The most may provide competitive advan-
measurable environmental challenging issues relate to tage, but for those ill-prepared it
requirements for both the design technology change in materials, will create problems. A key point
and manufacture of a product, customer acceptance and the about IPP is that it is a govern-
and also for the business support difficulty of involving all the ment toolbox that aims to green
areas of sales, promotion, corporate power-brokers in an consumption (which business
communications training and optimal product development has no direct influence over) and
accounting. Examples of these scenario. Product engineers, to green product development
requirements on a product level product planners, sales special- (which business can influence).
are: ists, distributors and retailers It is important therefore for
· a 60% reduction in product should all be engaged in an businesses to have robust
power consumption by 2002 optimal corporate business systems to manage the eco-
compared with 1990 levels strategy for product designs that product development process
· reduction in stand-by product incorporate environmental with clear objectives, strategies
power consumption to 0 watt attributes. and programmes. The IPP agenda
by 2002 is emerging and immature, and it
What impact do you think will be interesting to see what
· use of lead-free solder in all
Integrated Product Policy (IPP) arises from the Green Paper
Japanese models by 2000
will have on European business, being produced by DGXI in
(and by 2002 for models
and how will companies manage Brussels later this year. The
made outside Japan)
the IPP agenda? message is two-fold; first, be
· elimination of Halogen Flame
The definition and objectives of alert and start developing green
Retardants in products sold in
IPP are still in their early stages. product development processes
all areas by 2002.
It is important that a level play- that do not isolate product
Tangible design progress is ing field develops, as it will be development from green
already happening. For instance difficult for business if a range of consumption issues; second,
the Sony KV-29DR5 colour national IPP approaches develop start partnerships with the
television has standby power worldwide (as is already starting makers of IPP, as sound business
consumption of 0.4 watts and to happen in Europe). Businesses guidance will be a critical factor
an energy-saving mode that can will require clear guidance on in the final acceptance and
IPP. It remains to be seen how success of the IPP framework. •



Eco-innovation: cathode
ray tube recycling at
IBM Sweden
Inga Belmanen
Researcher, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

Inga Belmane is a researcher at IBM Sweden together with the for the take-back programme
The Centre for Sustainable Design, artist and designer Jonas (with take-back obligations
UK, currently working on Integrated Torstensson have designed now stated in purchasing
Product Policy (IPP) and eco-product glassware made from the recycled contracts, mainly with customers
development project at the Centre. cathode ray tubes (CRTs). The in the public sector)
She has a BSc in Business project started in 1995 when Hans (Wendschlag, 1999).
Administration and has worked for Wendschlag, environmental
both government and private manager at IBM Sweden, initiated
The environmental problem
business in Latvia. She holds an a project to recycle CRTs from
MSc in Environmental Management old computers into glassware. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are
and Policy from the International A valuable ‘spin off’ of the recycled used as picture tubes in computer
Institute for Industrial Environmental glassware project is an environ- installations (eg. monitors),
Economics at Lund University, Sweden. mental message which is communi- television receivers, as visual
cated both internally to IBM display screens in radar-receiving
employees and externally to its equipment, and in oscilloscopes.
customers and other stakeholders. They pose a major difficulty for
recycling since the phosphorus
based coating used to provide the
Introduction necessary luminiscence contains
heavy metals and other toxins,
athode ray tube (CRT)
C recycling has literally
become an art in IBM Sweden.
while the glass itself is loaded
with lead and barium. Finding
a process that will handle the
CRT glass has been transformed
recycling of large quantities of
into attractive glassware pieces
CRTs of varying age and speci-
by Swedish glass designer Jonas
fication is not easy (Bras, 1998).
Torstensson. The project shows
how creativity plays a role in Old computers scrapped today in
reduction of a waste stream. IBM Sweden are approximately 10
years old and on average 70% of
In 1995, IBM took the first step in
the old computers are re-used or
Sweden to recycle old display
recycled. However, for the CRT
tubes. Since then, IBM Sweden
glass, until 1995 there was no
has offered its customers a take-
established recycling method on
back programme to scrap old
a larger scale at IBM Sweden
computers in an environmentally
(IBM, leaflet).
correct way. Customer require-
ments have been the major driver



Research (GLAFO). GLAFO was scrapped at IBM Sweden. The rest

asked to conduct a chemical of the glass is sent to a high-
analysis of the CRT glass frag- volume recycling facility at IBM
ments. The face of the CRT (the Holland (the Netherlands),
only part which is recycled into where the CRTs are made into
the glassware now) contains no new CRTs (Wendschlag, 1999).
harmful lead, and comprises two
thirds of the weight of the glass.
It means that the majority of the
The outcomes
material can be recycled. The Communications
other parts, called the ‘neck’ The environmental department
and the ‘funnel‘, contain toxic was the project initiator and
‘Green’ glassware from recycled CRT materials, eg. lead, and can be leader. The value of the ‘green’
glass, designed by Jonas Torstensson recycled into CRTs again, which glassware lies in its ability to
is completed at IBM Holland in communicate an environmental
The objective of the CRT the Netherlands. message internally within the
recycling project Hans Wendschlag wanted to company. For example, it has
show how environment could been an ‘awareness raiser’ for
IBM’s Environmentally
‘add value’ to electronics waste. the marketing department which
Conscious Product (ECP)
As a result, he commissioned the does not usually ‘buy into’
programme was established in
Swedish designer Jonas environmental management. By
1992, where one of its objectives
Torstensson (Torstensson Art means of individually designed
was to develop products from
and Design Sweden AB) to glassware, the environmental
recycled materials (IBM, 1998).
design glassware from old visual message is conveyed to IBM
IBM’s goal was not only to find
displays. He created carafes and customers and other stakehold-
a way to recycle ‘end of life’
other glassware that could be ers. The sales and marketing
materials, but also to visually
used by IBM departments to departments have used the
demonstrate IBM’s commitment
reward employees and customers glassware for various business
to environment and to show
for environmental accomplish- purposes, and it has become a
what environment means for
ments, and as business gifts for popular incentive amongst the
the company. The ‘green
corporate partners. The research salesforce. IBM has realised that
glassware’ project was
by GLAFO has proven that the the glassware provides a good
initiated by Hans Wendshlag,
glassware contains no hazardous and unusual platform to commu-
environmental manager at IBM
materials. GLAFO regularly nicate environmental issues to
Sweden. The idea was to develop
analyses and controls the non-professionals (Wendschlag,
an exclusive glassware range,
contents of the glass and has 1999).
made from recycled CRTs, that
confirmed that these glass prod-
demonstrated the value of Resource savings
ucts are safe to use in contact
environmental considerations However, the recycling of CRTs
with food and beverages
both internally and externally, to into customised glassware cannot
(Wendschalg, 1999).
IBM employees, customers and be compared to high-volume
other stakeholders (Wendschlag, The amount of scrapped recycling, where the most
1999). computers is increasing, and so important driver is resource
are the recycling volumes. In savings and value of recycled
1995, around 2–3 tonnes of CRT materials. However, in general,
The process were recycled into the ‘green’ the glass recycling reduces the
The project started in 1995 when glassware range, compared with use of raw materials, energy and
IBM undertook research into 10–15 tonnes today. However, it solid waste generation as com-
glass tube recycling at the is a small fraction of total CRTs pared to glass production from
Swedish Institute of Glass glass volume (less than 10%) virgin materials (Noyes, 1993).



and the designer Jonas into individually designed

Torstensson and new concepts glassware does not seem to
are being explored. The legisla- have created substantial environ-
tive pressures for the take-back mental gains.
of computers have an important
A broader issue is prevention, ie.
role to play in driving eco-inno-
how to eliminate the hazardous
vation, eg. the forthcoming EU
materials (eg. lead) in CRTs in
‘producer responsibility’ (PR)
future and whether there is a
legislation (Directive on Waste
potential for alternative technol-
from Electric and Electronic
ogy with less environmental
Equipment), national PR legisla-
impact. •
tion on electric and electronic
waste, (eg. the Netherlands,
Lessons for eco-designers Denmark, Norway and Sweden),
Education, training and raising and the CRTs and monitors
of environmental awareness are landfill ban by US EPA in 1992 References
key issues when speaking about (Matthews et al, 1997). Bras B., ‘Recycling Guidelines’,
involving designers in Georgia Institute of Technology,
eco-product developemnt New possibilities Lecture Slides, 1998.
(Wendschlag, 1999). Designers
‘To create products from IBM, ‘ECP Accomplishments –
have to realise that there are a
recycled materials is an A work of art: Sweden’s
lot of opportunities for creating/
exciting and stimulating Cathode Ray Tube Recycling’,
redesigning products out of the
challenge which constantly Environmentally Conscious
waste stream. There needs to be
gives new possibilities for Product News, Spring 1996.
more training, education and
shapes and expressions.’ IBM, ‘Environment and
experience in eco-product devel-
Jonas Torstensson, artist Well-Being: Progress Report’,
opment, both from management
and designer August 1998
and technical perspectives. For
example, designing products ‘The challenge with the IBM, ‘IBM and Environment’,
using the waste stream requires environmental programmes Leaflet on display tube glass
much more knowledge as is to never settle down but to recycling.
compared to the use of tradi- constantly develop and find
new solutions.’ Matthews Scott H. et al.,
tional materials, since the quali-
‘Disposition and End-of-Life
ties of the materials are not so Hans Wendschlag,
Options for Personal
well known and there is a lack of Environmental Manager,
Computers’, Green Design
experience working with them. IBM Sweden
Initiative, Carnegie Mellon
University, 1997
Some say that waste is raw Conclusions andrew/hsm/
material at the wrong place. This example shows how a prod- Noyes R., ‘Pollution Prevention
The challenge is to put it in uct itself can be a conveyer of an Technology Handbook’, Noyes
the right hands. environmental message inside Publication, 1993, p. 287.
IBM Sweden
and outside the company. The
‘green’ glassware range is a valu- Wendschlag H., personal
communication, 1999.
Next steps able example of innovation and
environmental communication,
There is regular and on going co-
although the recycling of CRT
operation between IBM Sweden



Design Sense
Design Sense is an award What is Design Sense? Entrants will be fully credited in
launched by the Design Museum all publicity materials surround-
he Design Museum in the
in association with British Steel,
with endorsement from the Royal
T UK launched the Design
Sense awards in London on 25
ing the announcement of the
prize. Design Sense’s first prize
Institute of British Architects of £40,000 will be awarded to
May 1999. Design Sense is one
(RIBA), The Centre for Sustainable the overall winner. It is hoped
of the world’s first major
Design (CfSD) at The Surrey that the prize will enable the
competitions on sustainable
Institute of Art and Design, recipient to further their knowl-
design in the market place. It
University College and edge and understanding of
is focusing on the disciplines
Blueprint magazine. sustainable design. The winner
of industrial design and archi-
Design Sense is supported will also be presented with a
tecture. Its goal is to identify
by the Rufford Foundation. certificate and trophy.
and reward world-class examples
The media sponsor for the award
of products and buildings that
is the Guardian newspaper.
conform to the highest criteria What will the judges be
The Design Sense awards form of sustainability and improve looking for?
a key part of British Steel the quality of people’s lives.
Design Futures which aims The judges will be looking for
Design Sense is intended to raise
to help designers of all kinds evidence of sustainable value in
the level of debate in business
achieve sustainable solutions in products and completed build-
about sustainability issues and
building, packaging, auotmotive ings as well as design quality.
encourage greater understanding
and product design. Judges will consider the overall
about the impact of design on
environmental impact of the
the environment.
Deadline for submissions submission and its contribution
is 23 July 1999. to sustainable development
What awards will be made? throughout its lifecycle. The
panel will also want to know
An overall shortlist of up to
about the methodology and
twelve submissions will be
tools used to achieve environ-
considered for the first prize. All
mental improvements. An over-
those short-listed will be invited
arching theme that will be
to an interview on 6 October
considered at every stage of
1999, with the announcement
judging is whether the product
and awards presentation made
or building improves the quality
on 7 October 1999 at the Design
of people’s lives.
Museum, London. To be short-
listed will in itself be a consider- On the submission form, infor-
able achievement. In addition, mation on products or buildings
work will be featured at an should be listed in chronological
exhibition at the Design order according to its lifecycle.
Museum, covered in a publica- The following graph is intended
tion about the prize and to act as an illustration of this
short-listed entrants will each process although certain areas
receive a certificate. will not necessarily be applicable



Criteria Materials Energy Water Packaging Process Social

Raw materials


Transport (of
goods and


End of life

Above: Sustainable design matrix

Product design judges

to both products and buildings. Packaging (Product only) Ross Barbour, Rufford
Packaging for example is likely What reduction has there been Foundation, UK
only to be relevant to product in the use of materials; to what Professor Han Brezet, Delft
submissions. extent have recycled materials University of Technology, the
been used; what take-back or Netherlands
Key questions for companies
recycling systems are/were Tim Brown, IDEO Europe, UK
that wish to submit an applica-
tion to Design Sense will employed; how has waste Martin Charter, The Centre for
been reduced? Sustainable Design, The Surrey
Institute of Art and Design,
Materials Process University College, UK
What reduction has there been How efficient were the processes Tim Cooper, Centre for
in the use of materials; to what of construction/manufacture; Sustainable Consumption,
extent have recycled or local how was waste disposed of; how Sheffield Hallam University, UK
materials been used; have was toxic waste reduced; what Thierry Kazazian, O2 France,
materials from sustainable take-back systems are/were France
sources been used; what reduc- employed; what type of land was Professor Ezio Manzini, Milan
tion has there been in the use used and how does your submis- Polytechnic, Italy
of toxic materials or the produc- sion prompt more efficient use Mike Monaghan, Ricardo
tion of toxic waste? of transportation systems? Consulting Engineers Ltd, UK
Social Robert Nuij, European
Does the product or building Commission DGXI E4, Belgium
How has water consumption
improve the quality of people’s Peter Snow, BBC Tomorrow’s
been considered or reduced;
life; what impact did it have on World, UK
to what extent is water
the creation of employment; Paul Thompson, Design
collected or recycled?
what effect does it have on Museum, UK
Ursula Tischner, ec[o]ncept,



consumption habits and what For more information contact:

Architecture judges consideration was given to the Louise Scriven
end user in the design process; Design Sense
Guy Battle, Battle McCarthy,
UK what effect does your submission Design Events
have on the local environment? 9 Graphite Square
Stefan Behling, Foster and
85 Vauxhall Walk
Partners, UK Timetable for Design Sense
London se11 5ee
Marco Goldschmied, RIBA, UK 1999
Geoff Hooker, British Steel plc, Submissions deadline: 23 July
Tel: 00 44 171 735 2937
UK Interviews: 6 October
Fax: 00 44 171 735 2963
Anthony Hunt, Anthony Hunt Awards presentation: 7 October.
Associates, UK
Eva Jiricna, Eva Jiricna
Architects, UK
Christopher Nash, Nicholas
Grimshaw and Partners, UK
Richard Parnaby, University of
the West of England, UK
Ian Taylor, Bennetts
Associates Architects, UK
Nicholas Thompson, Cole
Thompson Associates, UK
Lorna Walker, Ove Arup &
Partners, UK



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

SPRN aims to disseminate Sustainable development of operation and the manufacturing

information on current and future mechanical systems using of the product. This release of
research in eco-design and carbon dioxide (CO2) is an
replacement environmen-
sustainable product design. environmental burden the new
tally acceptable refrigerants
refrigerants were intended to
SPRN will publish summaries
he new hydrofluorocarbon
of PhD, post doctoral or other
research projects.
T refrigerant HFC-134a is
currently being used in domestic
This three year research project,
which commenced in February
SPRN provides a resource for refrigerators as a transitional
1998, is being funded by the
researchers to network and keep replacement for the chlorine-
Engineering and Physical Science
up to date with new research. containing refrigerant CFC-12.
Research Council (EPSRC) in the
Experimental observations reveal
Areas of coverage include: UK as part of the Design for
that the removal of chlorine
· sustainable product development Whole Life Cycle Programme.
(Cl2) from the refrigerating
· sustainable consumption
system effects the tribological ✉ Ing. Christopher Ciantar, Tribology
· management of eco-design Design Research Unit, School of
characteristics on highly loaded
· green marketing Design, Engineering and Computing,
surfaces within the domestic Bournemouth University,UK
· eco-design strategies
refrigerating compressor.
· eco-design tools
Although new synthetic lubri-
· life cycle costing
cants are currently being devel-
· new materials
oped to enhance this lubricity Product-Oriented
effect, characteristics of wear Environmental Management
and friction need to be (POEM)
addressed to ensure product Since 1997, Frank de Bakker has
reliability and durability. To worked as a PhD candidate in
ensure the development of a the research area of the organi-
sustainable product, the conse- sation of Product-Oriented
quences of these design Environmental Management
constraints need to be addressed (POEM). POEM is defined as:
from a whole product life cycle
‘an approach to organising and
point of view. An increase in the
operating a firm in such a way
energy consumption during the
that improving the environmental
product use phase as well as an
performance of its products becomes
increase in the production rate
an integral part of both operations
of the product may augment
and strategy.’
the indirect release of carbon
dioxide (CO2) due to the burning The research aims at gaining
of fossil fuels resulting from the insights into the introduction,



implementation and improve- (SMEs) to large multinationals. product development. The

ment of the organisation of The project runs from December Centre for Sustainable Design
POEM from a firm’s perspective. 1997-99 and is concerned with (CfSD) is undertaking a study on
The main theoretical inputs are novel approaches to the product the role of eco-product develop-
an analysis of the natural development activity, particu- ment (EPD) within IPP (IPP-EPD
resource-based view of the firm, larly, Concurrent Product project), with a particular focus
a stakeholder approach (using Development (CPD) and Design on electronics and white goods
elements from Total Quality for the Environment (DfE) prac- sectors. The objective is to
Management (TQM) and environ- tices. This project draws upon encourage a two-way informa-
mental management), and prod- examples of successful CPD and tion and knowledge exchange
uct development and innovation. DfE implementation in other process between different stake-
The above inputs plus case stud- industry sectors, in particular holder groups and CfSD. The
ies will provide a framework to electronics, and explores some main objectives of study are:
describe and analyse the organi- of the potential benefits to the · to define the IPP toolbox for
sation of POEM. The first two UK textile and clothing industry products (supply) and
case studies have been carried of adopting these approaches. consumption (demand) sides
out in chemical industry, where ✉ Dr Joanne Heeley, Department of · to interpret what IPP might
POEM is operationalised as Textiles and Fashion, Manchester mean for industry (implications
Product Stewardship. Further Metropolitan University, UK
on product development and
case study analyses should result
in a set of recommendations
ecochallenge/ · to gather views of main
for organising POEM.
stakeholder groups (industry,
✉ Frank de Bakker, Faculty of policy makers, consumer
Technology & Management, University Integrated Product Policy groups, distributors (eg.
of Twente, the Netherlands
(IPP) and eco-product retailers), and environmental
development (EPD) NGOs) on IPP and EPD
IPP is a new product environ- · to develop recommendations
E-Co Challenge mental policy area in the EC. The for further development of IPP.
E-Co Challenge is a DTI Sector IPP approach suggests that
The project will run until the
Challenge research project in the governments and companies
beginning of September 1999,
UK, involving the Manchester should address all product
and the report will be
Metropolitan University and systems throughout the whole
available for project participants.
Cranfield University in the UK lifecycle. One of the key issues
and six textile and clothing addressed in the current discus- ✉ Inga Belmane (ibelmane@ Charter
companies ranging from small sion on IPP is the development
(, The
and medium-sized enterprises of ‘greener products’ or eco- Centre for Sustainable Design, UK



O2 NYC and O2 Mexico

Martin Chartern
Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

The Journal of Sustainable Product O2 NYC Brawer presented an exhibit

Design has developed a partnership featuring the 21 Green Maps she
n May 1999, the President’s
with the O2 Global Network to further
disseminate information and ideas on
I Council on Sustainable
Development (PCSD) held its
has published worldwide to date.
The exhibit showed how to put
eco-design and sustainable product the info-web to work in service
National Town Meeting for a
design. O2 Global Network is an of ecology. The Green Map
Sustainable America (NTM) in
international network of ecological System was honoured by the
Detroit with governmental,
designers. The O2 Global Network is PCSD and Renew America and
corporate and NGO representa-
organised into national O2 groups given the National Award for
tives from across the US.
which work together to provide various ‘Sustainability for Telecommuni-
Considering the amount of
services such as: O2 Broadcasts, which cations’ and ‘New Communi-
learning that has taken place
report live from O2 events using email cation Tools’ during the NTM
during the six years of the PCSD,
and the Worldwide Web (WWW); O2 (see Darren
there was much to criticise at
Text meetings, a meeting place on the Port of Green Logic Design
the NTM; for example, Detroit’s
Web; the O2 WWW pages, which showed an exhibit of natural
Big Three auto companies
provides an overview of activities; O2 building materials, in front of the
showed their alternative fuel
Gallery, an exhibition of eco-products conference hall. The solar
and recycled-content cars, but
on the Web; and, an O2 mailing list. powered straw-bale building
other forms of mobility were
section was designed so that
For further information on the above altogether absent. There was
everybody, from conference
activities and the O2 Global Network little reference to the rest of the
attendees, local law enforcement
contact: O2 Global Network world, to Agenda 21, or to other
and FBI bomb-sniffing dogs (who
Tourslaan 39 species. However, there were
secured the NTM for VP Al
5627 KW Eindhoven some signs of hope that America
Gore), could interface with this
The Netherlands is beginning to understand what
appropriate building technology.
tel/fax: +31 40 2428 483 sustainable development means,
Darren observed, ‘It’s amazing
O2 Global Network new homepage: and speakers like Professor
how people open up to the idea William McDonough and Ray
of building their own places
e-mail: Anderson, CEO of Interface,
naturally’. Carolyn Nunley of
mailinglist: both brought sustainable design
Consumer’s Union came to the
uk/lists.o2global.db to the forefront of their presen-
NTM directly from the annual
tations. For the optimists, there
‘O2 News’ will update readers of meeting of the UN Commission
is the proposal that the federal
the Journal on the latest eco-design on Sustainable Development
government establish a cabinet-
issues from around the world and (CSD) to find out how the event
level Office of Sustainability after
on O2’s national activities. would address consumption
the advisory PCSD’s charter runs
issues. At the CSD meeting,
out in June 1999, and for realists,
governments agreed to adopt
networks were strengthened and
new policies on tax and subsidy
batteries recharged.
reform, and controls on advertis-
Four past O2 NYC chairs ing and environmental claims.
attended the event. Wendy Caroyln found ‘Unfortunately,



there was no mention of this O2 Mexico Mexico). O2 Mexico is a non

important new development at profit organisation created to
The global village, the informa-
the NTM.’ Jacquelyn Ottman of promote information and
tion revolution, pollution,
J. Ottman Consulting gave a knowledge exchange between
economic crises, are some of the
well-attended learning session consultants, executives, acade-
main issues that define our way
on ‘Design For Sustainability’, mics and entrepreneurs, involved
of living at the end of the
covering specifically how sustain- in business strategies and
century. The world is changing
bility can act as a stimulus for sustainable product design (SPD),
day by day, minute by minute at
innovation. in Mexico and Latin America.
extreme velocity and with
O2 Mexico is part of the O2
Despite the NTM’s mixed permanent acceleration. We are
Global Network and its activities
message, in the closing session in the middle of a change
the Post Office announced their towards a new world order,
new programme to motivate based on the concept of the new · newsletters, published monthly
product take-back, the economy. This new era in and distributed by e-mail
Department of Defense launched economics is bringing a radical which inform of O2 Mexico
their environmentally preferred change in the way people do activities and events
buying programme (half the business in every corner of the · special publications include
US annual budget goes to world. O2 Mexico believes there articles and case studies that
the military so this is truly are two fundamental factors for explore aspects of strategic
significant) and other agencies successful business strategies for innovation and sustainable
and corporations presented the future: design from different and
recent changes in the way multidisciplinary points of view
Strategic innovation in busi-
they conduct business. · O2 Mexico website communi-
ness management, production
In the final day’s plenary, a cates information about O2
processes, human resources
roundtable of American youths Mexico and O2 Global Network
development, market strategies
from rural areas presented. All activities. It is sponsored and
and product/service development
were members of 4H (animal produced by MATIZ design
will be the leading and perma-
husbandry) clubs, but generally magazine
nent competitive advantage.
new to sustainable development. · courses, workshops and events
Sustainable product design as
For them, the NTM illustrated are organised to introduce O2
the key for sustainable develop-
that sustainability is about concepts to designers, consul-
ment. This is the opportunity to
responsible daily life, community tants, business executives,
bring the environmental and
and education, celebrating diver- academics and students in
business perspective together.
sity and long-term thinking. Mexico.
This may be the only way to
Their report may provide the O2 Mexico looks forward to
achieve economic development
leadership and direction needed international collaboration and
and a healthy environment. This
to turn this big ship on its true networking with designers and
is the perfect chance for design
course. product developers interested
to become a respected and
For more information contact valued profession in society. in SPD and eco-design. •
Wendy E. Brawer, O2 NYC For more information contact:
O2 Mexico: background and Pedro Alan Martínez, O2 Mexico
activities In September 1998,
O2 Mexico was formed, initiated
by the design and innovation Diana Siller, Comunications
consultants ECO, and the Coordinator – O2 México
designer Pedro Alan Martinez
(O2 Global Network liaison in




Timber in Context: a or those of you expecting this book to be a complete guide to

guide to sustainable use F sourcing timber and specific timber data, you will be disheart-
ened. However, as a source book for introducing the global issues
Anne-Marie Willis
& Cameron Tonkin associated with timber use, it is an excellent buy.
Construction Information Systems, Throughout ‘Timber in Context’, Willis and Tonkin present a
Australia, 1999 balanced view of, as the book suggests, the context of timber –
ISBN 0-9586187-04 in origin – in sourcing – in production – in design – in use – in
180 pages disposal. It is one of the most complete overviews that has been
$45.00 (plus $6.00 produced in this area. The clarity of discussion and the arguments
postage and packing for presented are as interesting to the expert as they are relevant and
sales outside Australia) explanatory to the novice; the latter group will find this an excellent
introduction to issues associated with sustainability in general.
The tone of the book is up-beat but realistic, and in this sense, is
a refreshing, insight into both the opportunities and barriers associ-
ated with attempting sustainable activity in the timber industries.
However, the complexity of this subject matter must not be under-
estimated ‘…the accounting of environmental impacts is not straight-
forward. Nor are there simple guides that can give the green light to
some materials and the red light to others.’
The authors question the logic of an eco-materials-focused perspec-
tive. Although this perspective often does greatly reduce the envi-
ronmental impact of new products, there is an undercurrent within
the text that suggests that this can be over-emphasised at the
expense of other, maybe longer-term ecological objectives that
question the economic system in which we currently operate. The
authors stress that ‘relational designing begins with a recognition of
the inter-relatedness of ecological systems as the basis for designing
for sustainability’, and in so doing, highlight new parameters for
design thinking which help question the current status quo, not only
in the timber industries, but in all industries.
Complex information concerning the life cycle of timber and the
design process associated with timber is presented with clarity and
focus which allows the reader to find a logical path from the origins
of timber through to the disposal of timber product. Again, because
of a purposeful generality here, these descriptions hold true across
the wider arena of all production, design and development.
There is also mention of reflexive impacts, an area often overlooked
in commentary in this field. Here a positive ecological evaluation of
one material may have adverse affects on the demand for that mater-
ial and ultimately distort the initial validation of the material. The
authors provide instances of this within the timber industries and



illustrate that everything is connected – that there is a push and pull

dynamic – and extremes of action can distort ecological impacts. It is
maybe for these reasons that for much of the book the authors steer
clear of presenting hard and fast rules concerning the detail of what is
acceptable from an ecologically perspective and what is not; only in
Chapter Five and the Appendices do they venture to suggest timber
applications and associated, more ‘ecologically sound’, timber
My main criticism of the book is that as a non-Australian reader, I
found it frustrating at times where examples of activity are almost
exclusively Australian based; where the comments on legislation and
government activity in this area are likewise often locally focused. In
its defence the book doesn’t claim to be global in its overview, but I
feel a greater reference to the variety of global initiatives would give
the book wider readership appeal.
This book is indeed ‘… a guide to sustainable use’. As an accessible
reference book, it provides us with a comprehensive insight into the
timber industry, timber applications and timber source data. And
maybe, as importantly, it provides a sound base to work from for all
those interested in, or involved in, implementing sustainable oriented
products and initiatives. •

Dr Emma Dewberry, Department of Design Studies, Goldsmiths College,

of London, UK, is research coordinator for the ‘Design for environment Multimedia
Implementation’ (DEMI) project – a sustainable design multimedia education
research collaboration between a number of UK universities and design



27–28 May 1999 6–7 June 1999 9–10 June 1999

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1–2 July 1999 16–17 September 1999 14–17 November 1999

Eco-Management and The 8th Annual Business Strategy 1999 Greening of Industry
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3–6 September 2000

Tribology in Environmental
Design 2000
Bournemouth, UK
✉ Christine Thwaites
Tribology Design Research Unit
Bournemouth University
Studland House
12 Christchurch Road
+44 1202 503759
+44 1202 503751



Contributor guidelines
The Journal of Sustainable Product Second sheet: A self-contained Tables, graphs, photographs etc: All
Design is targeted at Environmental abstract of up to 150 words summaris- graphs, diagrams and other drawings
directors, managers, Design managers, ing the paper and its conclusions. should be referred to as Figures, which
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Martin Charter panied by a subtitle. Descriptive or
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Issue 11: 15 October 1999
Issue 12: 17 December 1999


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ISSUE 9 : APRIL 1999

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

7 Integrated Product Policy
Derek Smith, Senior Manager, Environmental Services Group, Ernst & Young, UK
12 Design for sustainability within the chemical industry: the case of
Akzo Nobel
Professor Jacqueline Cramer, Senior Consultant, Akzo Nobel, the Netherlands
20 Application of LCA in eco-design: a critical review
Professor Ab Stevels, Professor in Environmental Design; Professor Han Brezet,
Leader of the ‘Design for Sustainability’ Programme; and Jeroen Rombouts,
Researcher at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering; Delft University of
Technology, the Netherlands
27 An overview of life cycle design and information technology tools
Professor Carlo Vezzoli, CIR.IS, Industrial Design Department, Polytechnic
University of Milan, Italy
36 ‘Design for Environment’ software development
Winston Knight, Vice President, Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc., US; and Mark Curtis,
Director, Principal Partner of Design IV, UK

45 Volvo Clean Air Initiative, ICL reconditions unwanted PCs, Philips
Semiconductors’ GreenChip and making a stand

48 Dr Lutz-Günther Scheidt, Director, Environment Center Europe,
Sony International (Europe) GmbH, Germany
Martin Charter, Coordinator, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

51 Eco-innovation: cathode ray tube recycling at IBM Sweden
Inga Belmane, Researcher, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK

54 Special feature: Design Sense

57 Sustainable Product Research Network (SPRN)

O2 news
The Centre for Sustainable Design
59 O2 NYC and O2 Mexico
an initiative of
61 Reviews
The Surrey Institute of Art & Design
University College 63 Diary of events