THE NEED FOR A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY IN NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FROM THE DESIGNERS PERSPECTIVE
DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Ford, Peter; Meadwell, James; Terris, David
Institution: De Montfort University
Section: Framing and Alignment of Projects in Design Education
There are a growing number of tools available to the Product Designer to assist them in making
informed decisions on the implications of the choices they make in specifying materials and
manufacturing processes for their designs in terms of carbon impact.
Unfortunately some can be misleading, indicating for example that a particular material has a low
potential environmental impact, but failing to inform on the reality of the economic viability in its use
or how readily available it might be for that use. These tools also have their limits, for example few
can cater for the huge variety of company type and address the varied environmental interests of their
owners (or lack of it).
There is a need for designers to be fully aware of the broader issues relating to the environmental
impact of their work beyond those that can be evaluated by a tool; highlighting the need for the
complex range of issues associated with reducing environmental impact to be addressed along with
and as creatively as all other design parameters.
This paper takes as a case study, the design of a digital cordless phone undertaken by the author for a
major UK telecoms service provider, where a holistic approach to sustainability from the designer’s
perspective was a fundamental project requirement and uses this as an example of how designers can
set their own holistic approach to sustainability in New Product Development (NPD), placing ecotools
in perspective and hopefully providing an inspirational example for student designers.