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Special Issue "Design to Drive Behavior Change for Sustainability and Circular Economy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023 | Viewed by 8012

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Daniela Cristina Antelmi Pigosso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Section of Engineering Design and Product Development, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: circular economy business modelling; Product/Service-Systems; sustainable development; sustainable design; sustainability maturity modelling; eco-innovation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Yuri Borgianni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bozen, Italy
Interests: systematic methods for problem-solving; value innovation; ideation within engineering design; creative development of new products; user-product interaction; biometric measures in design; eco-design; design for additive manufacturing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jeremy Faludi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Technical University of Delft
Interests: sustainable design methods and tools; sustainable additive manufacturing; inventing materials for green 3D printing; systems thinking methods and tools; biomimicry; life cycle assessment; health hazard measurement; sustainability certification/labeling; circular economy; green invention and entrepreneurship; sustainability in engineering and design education
Dr. Yann Leroy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CentraleSupélec, University of Paris-Saclay
Interests: life cycle assessment; material flow analysis; environmental assessment; ecodesign; design method for new product and service; innovation engineering; sustainable design; industrial ecology; circular economy
Prof. Dr. Sophie I. Hallstedt
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Strategic Sustainable Development, Faculty of Engineering, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH), Karlskrona, Sweden
Interests: sustainable product development process; decision support in early engineering design; socio-ecological sustainability; sustainability integration and implementation; risk and requirement management; portfolio development; design for social sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last decades, many methods have been developed to enable the development of more sustainable products, services, and solutions from an environmental, social, and economic point of view. More recently, the circular economy has emerged as a concept with the potential to decouple value creation from resource consumption, towards a more sustainable society. However, some major issues must still be taken into account when it comes to sustainable design:

  • In many cases, design changes have resulted in incremental improvements and, as such, are not enough in light of the severity of issues such as climate change, growing population, and energy demand.
  • Solutions that are more sustainable have been developed and marketed, but, often, their limited success has not allowed the replacement of previous less sustainable products in the market.
  • Although people are increasingly more conscious about sustainability, their consumption and purchase choices often do not mirror their preference for more sustainable products, highlighting the attitude–behavior gap.
  • The potential of sustainable products is often jeopardized by people’s actual behavior (especially during the use and disposal phases), causing so-called “rebound effects”.

In light of the above issues, it is expected that the next generation of sustainable design methods will allow the development of products and accompany business models that are able to i) showcase their actual superiority in sustainability terms; ii) encourage people’s sustainable behaviors; iii) improve sustainability performance radically and unarguably. Such outcomes are expected to start a virtuous circle, which will positively affect people’s quality of life and consciousness to contribute to the common goal of safeguarding our planet for the generations to come. To this end, a fundamental role is clearly played by education too.

In this context, the Special Issue welcomes contributions about the main issues summarized in (but not limited to) the following:

  • Sustainable design
  • Design of circular products
  • Eco-social design
  • Educational entertainment and the Fun Theory in sustainable design
  • Design of sustainable user behavior
  • Design for circular solutions
  • Consumer feedback on sustainable products and services
  • Collaborative sustainable design
  • Design for sustainable products and services
  • Technologies for a transition towards sustainability
  • Communication and understanding of sustainable product features
  • Success- and value-oriented design
  • Attractiveness and marketing of sustainable products
  • Closing the attitude–behavior gap
  • Battling greenwashing
  • User experience with sustainable products and prototypes
  • Affordances in sustainable product design
  • Industrial success and failure stories in promoting sustainable products and practices
  • Rebound effects and suboptimization
  • Integration of sustainable design into engineering and business education

Prof. Daniela Cristina Antelmi Pigosso
Dr. Yuri Borgianni
Dr. Jeremy Faludi
Dr. Yann Leroy
Assoc. Prof. Sophie I. Hallstedt
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable design
  • Eco-design
  • Eco-social design
  • Design of circular products
  • Sustainable design
  • Sustainable product development
  • Behavior change
  • Fun theory
  • Green products
  • Green marketing
  • Greenwashing
  • Attitude–behavior gap
  • Customer satisfaction
  • User feedback
  • User reviews
  • Purchase decisions
  • Smart products
  • Affordances
  • User experience
  • Quality-of-life
  • Design for social sustainability
  • Industrial design practices
  • Circular economy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Framework to Evaluate Areas of Interest for Sustainable Products and Designs
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137931 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Experience and evaluation research on sustainable products’ design is increasingly supported by eye-tracking tools. In particular, many studies have investigated the effect of gazing at or fixating on Areas of Interest on products’ evaluations, and in a number of cases, they have inferred [...] Read more.
Experience and evaluation research on sustainable products’ design is increasingly supported by eye-tracking tools. In particular, many studies have investigated the effect of gazing at or fixating on Areas of Interest on products’ evaluations, and in a number of cases, they have inferred the critical graphical elements leading to the preference of sustainable products. This paper is motivated by the lack of generalizability of the results of these studies, which have predominantly targeted specific products and Areas of Interest. In addition, it has also been overlooked that the observation of some Areas of Interest, despite not specifically targeting sustainable aspects, can lead consumers to prefer or appreciate sustainable products in any case. Furthermore, it has to be noted that sustainable products can be recognized based on their design (shape, material, lack of waste generated) and/or, more diffusedly, information clearly delivered on packaging and in advertising. With reference to the latter, this paper collected and classified Areas of Interest dealt with in past studies, markedly in eco-design and green consumption, and characterized by their potential generalizability. Specifically, the identified classes of Areas of Interest are not peculiar to specific products or economic sectors. These classes were further distinguished into “Content”, i.e., the quality aspect they intend to highlight, and “Form”, i.e., the graphical element used as a form of communication. This framework of Areas of Interest is the major contribution of the paper. Such a framework is needed to study regularities across multiple product categories in terms of how the observation of Areas of Interest leads to product appreciation and value perception. In addition, the potential significant differences between sustainable and commonplace products can be better investigated. Full article
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Article
The Sustainability Evaluation of Masks Based on the Integrated Rank Sum Ratio and Entropy Weight Method
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095706 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 351
Abstract
Due to the seriousness of COVID-19, masks are considered to be as a key and effective device to cut off the spread of viruses and are widely used by people, such as doctors and patients. Hundreds of millions of masks used worldwide in [...] Read more.
Due to the seriousness of COVID-19, masks are considered to be as a key and effective device to cut off the spread of viruses and are widely used by people, such as doctors and patients. Hundreds of millions of masks used worldwide in daily life will inevitably cause huge pollution and damage to the environment. However, existing research has not yet provided a method to simultaneously evaluate the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainable design of masks, which brings great barriers and challenges for designers to make sustainability decisions on masks and consumers’ behavioral decisions on mask purchases. Consequently, on the basis of principles of sustainability evaluation of masks, this work evaluates ten masks of different materials (including two newly designed masks) by using a novel hybrid of rank-sum ratio and entropy weight method. The results indicate that some disposable masks also show better sustainability than reusable masks, and in addition, the integrated rank-sum ratio and entropy weight method can effectively realize the sustainability evaluation of masks. The main contribution is to furnish an effective decision-making reference for sustainability evaluation of masks while greatly reducing the negative impacts of masks on the environment during the epidemic. Full article
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Article
A Framework of Unsustainable Behaviors to Support Product Eco-Design
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011394 - 15 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 544
Abstract
Eco-designed products can contribute to sustainable development if consumers choose them rather than the less environmentally friendly alternatives and if they are used properly. However, eco-design methods have so far failed to address the issue of unsustainable behaviors, whose sources have not been [...] Read more.
Eco-designed products can contribute to sustainable development if consumers choose them rather than the less environmentally friendly alternatives and if they are used properly. However, eco-design methods have so far failed to address the issue of unsustainable behaviors, whose sources have not been recognized. In light of this deficiency, the authors have analyzed a large number of eco-designed products with the aim to capture the possible unsustainable behaviors arising from their use and consumption. The subsequent characterization of unsustainable behaviors has led to the creation of a framework of unsustainable behaviors, which has been subjected to the evaluation of a pool of experts in the field. In its final version, the framework includes nine classes of unsustainable behaviors, which are categorized into the corresponding product lifecycle phases (purchase, use, end of life), and different kinds of undesired effects (harmful, insufficient, excessive) based on the TRIZ-oriented functional analysis. The classes, whose significance has been checked in the literature, include frequent causes of unsustainable behaviors and corresponding examples. Through the framework, designers can take into due account the possible circumstances that would prevent their developed products from being prone to unsustainable behaviors. In a future step, the classes of unsustainable behaviors are to be linked with indications arising from Design for Sustainable Behavior. Full article
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Article
The Use2Use Design Toolkit—Tools for User-Centred Circular Design
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105397 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Recent research highlights that the important role users play in the transition to a circular economy is often overlooked. While the current narrative emphasises how to design products fit for circular (re-)production flows, or how to design circular business models, it often fails [...] Read more.
Recent research highlights that the important role users play in the transition to a circular economy is often overlooked. While the current narrative emphasises how to design products fit for circular (re-)production flows, or how to design circular business models, it often fails to address how such solutions can be designed to be attractive to people. As long as products and services are designed in a way that makes people prefer linear options over circular ones, the transition will not gain momentum. To further the understanding of how a user perspective can be valuable for circular design, this paper introduces the Use2Use Design Toolkit and presents initial experiences from using its five tools in design work. The tools were developed between 2016 and 2019 and subsequently applied in 30 workshops with professionals and students. Insights from the workshops suggest that the participants generally found the tools fun, instructive and inspirational. The tools enabled them to discuss circular processes from a user’s point of view and to identify challenges and design opportunities. The toolkit was considered especially relevant and meaningful by product and service designers who needed support to explore circular solutions from a user perspective. Full article
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Article
Priming on Sustainable Design Idea Creation and Evaluation
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5227; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095227 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
Although three pillars of sustainable design—social desirability, economic competitiveness, and environmental friendliness—are all important, they are not necessarily equally accessible or salient during the design process. This paper applies a collage priming method to activate designers’ mindsets regarding sustainability pillars prior to conceptual [...] Read more.
Although three pillars of sustainable design—social desirability, economic competitiveness, and environmental friendliness—are all important, they are not necessarily equally accessible or salient during the design process. This paper applies a collage priming method to activate designers’ mindsets regarding sustainability pillars prior to conceptual design exercises, and to facilitate early-stage sustainable design. The study tests if collage priming (1) improves ideation outcome in terms of the sustainability pillars, interpreted as user desirability, cost, and environmental impact, and (2) encourages designers to further explore others’ ideas during idea evaluation. For (1), collage priming related to environmental aspect is shown to assist designers with generating more relevant ideas regarding environmental impact and more feasible ideas as compared to the control. The priming is not effective in helping designers generate ideas related to user desirability or cost, potentially because designers lack readily accessible information to be activated by priming. For (2), the collage priming related to user desirability is shown to encourage further exploration when exposed to (simulated) others’ ideas. The study shows the effectiveness of collage priming in improving environmental impact in conceptual design; it also demonstrates the existing challenges of addressing user desirability and cost. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Use of Virtual Reality to Support Environmentally Sustainable Behavior: A Framework to Design Experiences
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020943 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2738
Abstract
The current and future challenges of sustainable development require a massive transformation of habits and behaviors in the whole society at many levels. This demands a change of perspectives, priorities, and practices that can only result from the development of more aware, informed, [...] Read more.
The current and future challenges of sustainable development require a massive transformation of habits and behaviors in the whole society at many levels. This demands a change of perspectives, priorities, and practices that can only result from the development of more aware, informed, and instructed communities and individuals. The field of design for sustainable behavior is answering this need through the development of products, systems, and services to support the change of people’s habits and decision-making processes. In this regard, Virtual Reality (VR) is a promising tool: it has already been explored to drive sustainable behavior change in several situations, through a wide range of devices, technologies, and modalities. This variety provides uncountable opportunities to designers, but it comes with a series of ethical, psychological, and technical questions. Hence, VR developers should be able to distinguish and identify possible strategies, delivering suitable solutions for each case study. In this work, we present a framework for the development of VR experiences to support sustainable behavior change, based on a systematic review. We consider the various features to manage and possible alternatives when creating a VR experience, linking them to the behavioral aspects that can be addressed according to the project’s aim. The framework will provide designers with a tool to explore and orient themselves towards possible sets of optimal choices generating tailored solutions. Full article
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Review

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Review
Green Purchasing: Past, Present and Future
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5008; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095008 - 21 Apr 2022
Viewed by 779
Abstract
In recent years, discussions on green purchasing have increased; most studies were concentrated in developed countries, with limited studies conducted in developing countries. This study aims to systematically analyze studies that have discussed green purchasing. Using the Scopus database, 142 studies from 61 [...] Read more.
In recent years, discussions on green purchasing have increased; most studies were concentrated in developed countries, with limited studies conducted in developing countries. This study aims to systematically analyze studies that have discussed green purchasing. Using the Scopus database, 142 studies from 61 journals published during the period 1998 to 2021 were analyzed. Our analysis focused on three fundamental aspects: the determinants, the effect of green purchasing, and exploring the theoretical foundations and the most common theories that the studies relied on. The analysis results focused on researchers’ demographic and physiological determinants based on the theory of planned behavior. There has been a development in discussing the determinants related to products and marketing and social and environmental determinants in recent years. The analysis results of the studies that addressed green purchasing show that green purchasing contributes to sustainable development. This study contributes to decision-makers by identifying the mechanisms of persuasion that motivate consumers to buy green products and provides a clear picture of the contribution of green purchasing to improving company performance and thus achieving sustainability, which encourages stakeholders to devise policies, promotional, and marketing strategies through which they can attract consumers. Full article
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