Guide

Ecodesign in product and service development

Advantages and disadvantages of ecodesign

Ecodesign, or sustainable design, aims to minimise the environmental impact of a product over its entire lifecycle. As well as creating benefits for the environment, ecodesign also offers great potential savings and efficiencies for businesses. See what is ecodesign.

Advantages of ecodesign

The potential benefits of using ecodesign include:

  • lower production and labour costs and greater efficiency
  • reduced material and resource costs
  • lower waste disposal costs
  • improved functionality and quality of products
  • increased market share
  • improved environmental performance
  • improved customer and supplier relationships
  • easier and lower cost of compliance with legislation
  • easier disassembly and increased potential for recycling
  • most suitable product design life
  • a better working environment and business culture for your staff

Ecodesign can also lead indirectly to economic benefits, such as providing a useful marketing tool and encouraging innovation and product development.

Barriers to ecodesign

You may find a number of barriers to creating products using ecodesign principles. These include:

  • consumers' low level of understanding of ecodesign
  • cost - and whether your clients or customers are prepared to pay that cost
  • difficulties to clearly demonstrate the benefits to buyers so that they choose your product
  • risks of trying new materials and approaches
  • finding alternative ways to make money out of longer-life products
  • difficulties using ecodesign on mainstream products instead of just high quality and niche products
  • targeting the right stage in the product's lifecycle or supply chain so you get the greatest environmental paybacks for your investment
  • integrating principles across business approaches and supply chains where the opportunities can be greater than singling out 'eco-products', which in some cases don't succeed

However, overcoming the barriers can lead to more advanced, profitable and sustainable products.