Ecodesign in product and service development

Product ecodesign checklist


Whether you are creating new goods and services or refining old ones to make them more sustainable, you should consider the whole lifecycle of a product in the context of your ecodesign initiative.

Increasingly, service businesses such as architects, insurers, holiday complexes and event managers are also focusing on environmental and sustainability issues.

Key checkpoints for product ecodesign

The key points of a product's lifecycle that you need to assess are:

  • Design - does the design ensure that the product meets its purpose in the most energy and resource-efficient way? Can the product be repaired, remanufactured, disassembled or recycled easily? Does the design make use of the most efficient materials and enable the user to be as efficient as possible in using the product? Find out how to identify ecodesign priorities.
  • Raw materials - can you use fewer raw materials to get a satisfactory result? Are your raw materials recycled or recyclable? Are you using raw materials with the least environmental impact? Are you complying with regulations on hazardous materials? See how to choose raw materials for ecodesign.
  • Manufacture - can your manufacturing be more energy efficient? How can you reduce waste and packaging? Are there other ways to get the same manufacturing results but be more efficient?
  • Retail - is your packaging as efficient as possible? Could you use less packaging? Can you reduce transport costs by shortening supply chains or the distance your goods need to travel? Could the way in which your product is displayed be improved (eg not refrigerated, not lit up), and can waste be reduced through better supply chain management? Do you communicate with your customers on how to choose the most environmental products?
  • Use - can you make your product last longer, either by better component use or designing with easy repair in mind? How can you help customers use the same products for longer?
  • End of life - can the product or service be reused, remanufactured or recycled? If not, can you reduce the amount that needs to go to the landfill? See more on ecodesign for end of product life.
  • Legal - are you meeting your legal responsibilities for goods, such as electrical and electronic goods? See ecodesign: compliance and standards.

As well as the environmental impact, you should also consider the social impact of each stage of the product's lifecycle, such as the effects on workers and local communities where your raw materials come from, where the goods or services are produced and where they end up when they have finished being useful. See more on corporate social responsibility.