Ecodesign in product and service development

Identify ecodesign priorities

When you are creating goods or services from scratch, you can consider ecodesign from the start. Early in the project, you can usually specify the most sustainable raw materials, production methods, delivery, use and end-of-life criteria.

Using ecodesign on existing products

If you are adapting existing goods or services, you may have to consider some compromises, either in:

  • the form or function of your goods and services
  • the plant and equipment that you use to produce them
  • the way they are used and then handled as waste

You should think about how you can assess the different design ideas. Create a clear set of priorities to ensure your work is focused and that it results in products which have a reduced environmental impact and a large enough market.

Use research findings to set priorities

The research you carried out in the early stages of your project should reveal how your products affect the environment. You should create a set of priorities from this data that you can use to help your business create its ecodesign products. Carrying out this research early will save you money later. For more information, see how to research your products for ecodesign.

When you are deciding which design ideas to use, you should consider:

  • the scope of the environmental gain you can expect from the products
  • how the products will comply with existing and future legislation, especially with regard to disposal
  • what direct cost savings your business can expect
  • what indirect cost savings your business can expect, eg waste treatment
  • the marketing benefits that you could gain
  • how you could improve the relationships with your suppliers and customers
  • what work is involved in moving to ecodesign principles and the likely costs of implementing these changes within your business
  • the overall feasibility of the work and the potential risks that your business might face

Remember that these considerations are not universal across all businesses. Your business' own aims, market, products and overall strategy should determine which considerations are most important.

In addition, you should involve your marketing, sales, design and production teams when identifying your design priorities. This will help you to increase your understanding of how ecodesign can benefit your business.

Read about the advantages and disadvantages of ecodesign.