One of the most important sustainability questions to ask in designing and making is, ‘Is the product really needed?’ So, understanding what needs are and how they are different to wants is useful in deciding whether or not a product should be made at all. Fulfilling human needs (link) is designed to develop understanding of what different needs are and how students might think about needs when undertaking a designing and making activity.

There have been several important changes in the law recently that relate to sustainability for companies. Laws relating to motor vehicles, electrical goods (especially those containing CFCs like fridges) have meant that companies have to think about their social, environmental and moral responsibilities much more seriously now. More sustainable companies (link) is intended to help students evaluate how responsible companies have been in their sustainability policies.

Finally, although most students will quickly become familiar with life cycle analysis they may need help relating this to sustainability. By considering something as simple as the making of a cup of coffee, Life Cycle Analysis shows that there are environmental issues throughout the life cycle of the different ingredients that make up a cup of coffee. A similar analysis could be done to show economic and social issues.

What is sustainability?
Fulfilling human needs - teachers’ notes
Activity: Fulfilling human needs
More sustainable companies
Activity: Life cycle analysis