Sustainable Design Awards Toolkit

Section 2 - Companies and Products

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Individual people and groups have recognised for many years that the issues surrounding sustainable lifestyles need addressing. Of course, for companies to get involved, they must be sure of their economic survival. This means adopting approaches that enable them to address the social and environmental issues relating to their work whilst staying in business. Thus consumer behaviour as expressed through purchases and the rules that governments put in place to regulate markets are fundamental to getting companies involved in sustainability.

Companies will respond to the changing market place, so the next section of the Sustainability Pack outlines the factors that are influencing companies. Once a company has made a decision to look at the products it makes and the services that it delivers, people need to decide what can be done. For many years, the advice has been 'reduce-reuse-recycle' and in that order of priority. Reduction in the resources used to make a product (e.g. the materials used) or deliver a service (e.g. the energy used) gives an immediate reduction in the associated environmental impact. Every time a product is reused, either in its original or a modified form, the environmental impact is further reduced. If it is possible to recycle the resources at the end of the product life or once the service has been performed, then there is further potential for reduction. A discussion of the range of meanings that 'reduce-reuse-recycle' can have follows the discussion of factors influencing companies.

One way of getting started is for people in the company to analyse the products and services that they currently deliver and see what issues and ideas emerge. A form of 'reverse engineering' perhaps. Some notes that might help you to conduct such a disassembly exercise on a product conclude this section.


Ecodesign Tools
2.1  Factors Influencing Companies
2.2  Reduce
2.3  Reuse
2.4  Recycling
2.5  Disassembling and analysing products
Toolkit Index
Section 1.
Sustainability Issues
Section 2.
Companies and Products
Section 3.
Ecodesign Tools
Section 4.
Inspirational current work

Photograph of Corn

Photograph Of A Landfill Site