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Sustainability 2011, 3(10), 1778-1791; doi:10.3390/su3101778

Representation of Ecodesign Practice: International Comparison of Industrial Design Consultancies

1,* , 2
1 Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Level 11, UTS Building 10, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia 2 Industrial Design Program, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 August 2011 / Revised: 14 September 2011 / Accepted: 15 September 2011 / Published: 10 October 2011
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Ecodesign offers significant potential to reduce the environmental impacts of products. Whilst some integration of environmental considerations into design occurs in progressive companies when engineering the product, this only represents a small share of the possible design interventions to improve the environmental performance of products. For example, developing new product concepts to fulfill needs in a less environmentally harmful way and considering user related aspects offers a large, currently under-realized potential. This paper identifies industrial design (ID) consultancies as potential agents to tackle this issue on a strategic and operational basis. The extent to which this potential is currently applied was assessed by conducting a content analysis of websites of ID consultancies in Australia, China, and Germany. How ID consultancies represent their ecodesign practice is country-specific. Despite the differences, some ID consultancies in all countries announce and/or show the capability to develop completely new concepts and to influence user related factors to improve environmental performance. This shows their potential to address current shortcomings in ecodesign practice. As ID consultancies embracing that potential still are a minority, further research should be directed to a deeper examination of barriers and stimuli for ID consultancies to take up ecodesign.
Keywords: ecodesign practice; industrial design; design consultancies ecodesign practice; industrial design; design consultancies
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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Behrisch, J.; Ramirez, M.; Giurco, D. Representation of Ecodesign Practice: International Comparison of Industrial Design Consultancies. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1778-1791.

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