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What should the scope of my project be?

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A guide for designers and their clients to help the uptake of sustainable design in commercial practice.

Forecast

Look at the medium term trends (2-3) in your market and changes in your consumers.

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Introduction introduction

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The Building BlocksBlocks of Sustainable DesignDesign are designed to promote The Building of Sustainable are designed to promote discussion, provide guidance, and encourage investigation; helping you to discussion, provide guidance, and encourage investigation; helping you createto uptake your company or clients. createfor uptake for your company or clients.

company Company (or client company)

iance

ndards n leading can you use improving the mental impact roduct.

products Product or Service (or product service system)

The Building Blocks of Sustainable The Building Blocks Design of

Sustainable The goalDesign of this project was to create a ‘Road Map’ for both designers and clients to help with the uptake of The buildingsustainable blocks create a ‘Road Map’ for both designers and design. clients to help with the uptake of sustainable design.

Rather than take a prescriptive approach a series of

blocks werethe developed. enables both Rather thanbuilding prescribe a process, series ofThis building blocks companiestocan apply different enable bothdesigners designers and and client client companies apply different aspects to their ownown companies ext. aspects of the approach to their company’s activities.

this Guide works How ThisHow Guide Works guide in is aprovided in a logical sequence This guide isThis provided logical sequence allowing you toallowing work you to work through each key stage in order. It that follows through each key stage in order. It follows the basic principal it the basic principal that it is important to develop wider is important to develop wider organisational support for sustainable organisational support for sustainable design before design before undertaking a sustainable design project.

n

undertaking a sustainable design project.

consumers Customer and/or user (there may be more than one over the life)

scope Scope (of the project being undertaken)

The Foundations The The fourFoundations key elements, or foundation building blocks of a sustainable design project are common for both designers and The key foundations of a sustainable design project are client companies. They are listed in sequence as follows:

common for both designers and client companies. They are listed in sequence as follows:

ff Company (or client company)  fCompany client(or company) f Product or (or Service product service system)  Product or Service (or(there product system) ff Customer and/or User mayservice be more than  Customer and/or one over the life) user (there may be more than one over the life) ff Scope (of the project being undertaken)

Scope (of the project being undertaken)

The logic is simple, the further you move away from

The logic is simple;orthe further youcompany move away your company your clients intofrom the your life company it becomes more getthe information and it or cycle your clients company intodifficult the life to cycle more difficult you have lessinformation control over the becomes to get and theoutcome. less control you have over the outcome.

Each major foundation block has a number of smaller blocks which provide either orsmaller an ideablocks to which Each major foundation block hasaaquestion number of assist definition and promote effective project provide either a question or an idea to assist definition and promote establishment, development and implementation.

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It may be useful forbe those justfor starting developdown a toward It may useful thosetostarting the apathway sustainabletoward design project to follow the building sequence. a sustainable design projectblocks to follow the However, if prescribed you have experience guide canif be sequence.the However, youused havemore experience effective project establishment, development and implementation. selectively to yourbe organisational of sustainable theimprove guide can used more support selectively to improve This system is a platform for discussion and it does not your organisational support of sustainable design. This This system is a platform for discussion and it does not prohibit design. prohibit other elements being added or existing can be done by looking at specific blocks or areas. other elements being added oryour existing elements subtracted from elements subtracted from discussion. What is Sustainable Design? your discussion.

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design enlarges the scope of considerations to include Sustainable the scope of considerenvironmental and socialdesign factors.enlarges These factors are considered in to include environmental and social addition to, ations not a replacement of, the other factors such factors. as user These factors are considered in addition to, not a experience, cost, and performance.

replacement of, the other factors such as user experience, cost, and performance.

Considering environmental and social factors means taking into account theEnvironmental impacts of a product or service on take people and our and Social Factors into account of environment over the whole life cycle. A product life cycle has been the impacts on people and our environmental over generically defined as: life cycle. A Product life cycle was generitheir whole

cally defined as:

ff ff ff ff ff ff

Raw Material Acquisition  Raw Material Acquisition Processing and Manufacturing  Processing and Manufacturing Distribution and Transportation  Distribution and Transportation Use,Reuse, Maintenance Use,and Reuse, and Maintenance Recycle  Recycle Waste  Management Waste Management

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable desig


structure structure The guide is simple to use. It sequentially steps you through the four

foundation blocks. Each section starts with a summary of the foundation block, followed by blocks which provide with prompts The worksheets aresmaller simple building to use. They have a summary the about things toblocks consider. building of each foundation of each page. The sequentially step

Smallerthrough building blocksthe which 4 provide prompts about things you foundations in toorder.The third step is looking at your customer. How they interact, use consider, or alternative approaches. The guide has been designed

The Four Foundation worksheets: in a way that enables it to be written on or used for brainstorming. Don’t be shy!

These foundation worksheets contain smaller blocks which provide prompts about things to consider, or alternative Opposite each section is an additional worksheet which provides approaches. The worksheets are in the form of a worksheet you with an exercise and space to expand on the ideas you have that can be written on and used as a worksheet for formed. brainstorming. Dont be shy!. Grid simple blank worksheets provide Theworksheets: Startingthese Point an opportunity to expand on the ideas in the foundation worksheets further. The first step is understanding your company. This will provide a better platform for sustainable design. Organisational support

The is an starting important point enabler of sustainable design. Building from the centre (your company) is an effective way to build confidence and

The first step is understanding your company. This will understanding for the designer and the company or client. provide a better platform for sustainable design. Organisational support is an important enabler of The second step is to look at the life cycle of your product. This sustainable design. Building outward is an effective way to gives you an insight the problemsfor and opportunities that can build confidence andinto understanding the designer and inform the design process. the company or client.

and dispose of your product has an influence on its environmental performance.

The second step is to look at the life cycle of your product. This gives you an insight into the problems and The previous three steps inform the scope of your project. So opportunities that can inform the design process.

the fourth is around defining and refining the exact scope of your designstep project. Scoping project How so it can The Third is looking at your your first customer. theysucceed is a way, to manage risk andofprove approach interact use and dispose yourthe product has is anbeneficial influenceto the on itscompany. environmental performance.

The previous steps inform the scope of your Followingthree the four foundation building blocks will project. provide a clearer Mostpicture companies are on a journey environmental and can inform the brieffrom for a designer or client company. efficiency to effectiveness. Scoping your first project so it The resulting brief will have considered all important factors within can succeed is a way to manage thetorisk and prove the uptake of your company or client company provide a managed approach is beneficial sustainable design.to the company. The Four steps or foundations will provide a clearer picture and can inform the brief for a designer or client company. It considers the important factors that need consideration to provide a managed uptake of sustainable desgn.

company

product

It is important to understand how your company thinks about sustainability before starting a sustainable design programme. Look for a management plan or talk to senior management. If there is no existing plan or strategy within the company it may make more sense to undertake this as your first step before embarking on a sustainable design project.

Only by looking at the life cycle of your product or service can you trully understand and evaluate its environmental impact.

Review your own company and operation as it is directly under your control. Communicate your approach to help your team understand the context of sustainability within your enterprise.

Understanding the life cycle can yield important information. It can provide insight into both problems and opportunities which can improve design briefing and product development.

scope

customer

Improving the environmental factors related to a product require change. Each new idea, problem or opportunity will have a different profile from eco-efficiency to eco-effectiveness. Try not to take on too much at once, scope and plan waht is achievable in the timeframe

Consumers have a profound impact on your product. From purchasing choices to how they use the product over its lifespan (and what they do at the end of life).

The scope may range from simply benchmarking the product to a system level of innovation that requires greater change.

Sustainability is becoming a mandatory factor in some consumer markets, whilst in others it is just a minor consideration. Understanding the market trends and consumer behaviour can improve the environmental effectiveness of the product and improve product design.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project


company

company company company

products consumers company products

scope consumers

scope

Implementation Policy: Have Policy: you got Have you Actions: How is Implementation got Actions: How is an environmental sustainability sustainability & Integration an environmental & Integration policy or a stated incorporated into your How have you How have you policy or a stated incorporated into your position on company’s actions, embedded position on company’s actions, embedded sustainability that is does the actiondoes match environmental sustainability that is the action match environmental the rhetoric? publicly available to in your publicly availableconsiderations to the rhetoric? considerations in your internal and external companies processes? internal and external companies processes? stakeholders? stakeholders?

Culture

Culture

Communication Manufacture Communication Manufacture

How does How do you How do you Do you have processes How does Do you have processes sustainability relate to communicate sustainability relate to communicate or systems for or systems for the organisations sustainability tosustainability your site specific the organisations tomanaging your managing site specific values? are consumers. consumers. environmental issues? values? are environmental issues? responsibilitiesresponsibilities defined? defined?

SustainableSustainableDesign Supply Chain: Design Supply Chain: How does yourHow newdoes your new Are you aware Are of your Innovation you aware of your Innovation

product development suppliers How do environmental product development suppliers ow do environmental process consider environmental environmental and social trendsHaffect process consider and social trends affect social & environmental your business context? performance? Do you social & environmental your business context? performance? Do you theyou maximise the factors? track the source of the sourcedoofyou maximisedo factors? track opportunity to generate your raw materials. opportunity to generate your raw materials. value.

value.

Your company or your client is the best place to start when thinking about a sustainable design project. Understanding how your company relates to sustainability provides an important insight about how you can achieve change.If the company is already engaged in environmental or sustainability based activities, undertaking sustainable design is alot easier.

Sustainable design and innovation is a cross-functional activity, by having top level buy-in it encourages staff to collaborate to understand and create new ideas.

Key Points: ff An operational commitment to sustainability provides an effective platform for sustainable design and innovation ff Sustainable design and innovation is cross-functional, your team will need to collaborate to create change

A basic operational commitment to sustainability provides a robust platform for sustainable design and innovation to flourish. Businesses that have made a commitment to sustainability will usually have: Senior management committed to applying sustainability principles. A sustainability policy that is publicly available A long-term plan and invests strategically in its future and innovation. An outline of key areas of the company life-cycle that might need change. Systems for ensuring resources are used efficiently, selected for being the most sustainable option available and reused or recycled. Sustainability incorporated into design of products or services, their manufacture or delivery Sustainability as integrated into the company’s values and culture and staff behaviors reinforcing sustainability are supported. Accreditation verifying business practices, operations and products. Communications and marketing which involves sustainability demonstrating transparency and accountability. Many companies that excel at environmental sustainability have highly successful cross-functional teams.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable projectdesign project Building blocks of adesign sustainable


company

products

consumers

scope

worksheet company Policy: Have you got an environmental policy or a stated position on sustainability that is publicly available to internal and external stakeholders?

Implementation & Integration

Culture

Communication

Manufacture

Supply Chain:

Sustainable Innovation

Design

How does sustainability relate to the organisations values? are responsibilities defined?

Are you aware of your suppliers environmental performance? Do you track the source of your raw materials.

How have you embedded environmental considerations in your companies processes?

How do you communicate sustainability to your consumers.

How do environmental

and social trends affect your business context? do you maximise the opportunity to generate value.

Actions: How is sustainability incorporated into your company’s actions, does the action match the rhetoric?

How is ty

our

Do you have processes or systems for managing site specific environmental issues?

How does your new product development process consider social & environmental factors?

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable design project


Building blocks of a sustainable projectdesign project Building blocks of adesign sustainable

company

product product product

products companyconsumers products scope consumers

scope

Core Function Product LifeProduct LifeProblems &Problems & Core Function Describe the service Cycle Opportunities Describe the service Cycle Opportunities your product delivers

Document the life Document the Document the your product delivers Document the life and think aboutand all the think aboutcycle all theof your cycle of your problems and problems and things that contribute product/serviceproduct/service opportunities related things that contribute opportunities related to this over its life. include inputs, include outputsinputs, outputs to your productto lifeyour product life to this over its life. and life cycle stages. cycle. and life cycle stages. cycle.

Key Environmental Supply ChainSupply ChainComplianceCompliance Key Environmental Product Indicators Document theDocument theWhat standardsWhat standards Product Indicators (KEPI) Identify (KEPI) the in leading Identify the supply chain of your chain ofexisting existing in leading supply your most importantmost important use can you use product from product from markets can you markets product environmental to assist improving the improving the product environmental to assist manufacture manufacture issues or indicators, environmental impact issues or indicators, environmental impact through to end and define the targets through to endof your product.of your product. and define the targets consumer. consumer. measures. measures.

Benchmarking Competitors Benchmarking Competitors

Research existing Assess your products Research existing Assess your products product/serviceproduct/service life environmental life environmental cycle and analyse the performance against cycle and analyse the performance against environmental impact leading product’s and product’s and environmental impact leading to create a brands. to create a brands. benchmark. benchmark.

After understanding how sustainability relates to the company, the next step is building a more specific understanding of the product/service life cycle. This will enable a better business case to be made for a sustainable design project.

Compliance may seem a boring area, but meeting leading developed country standards may provide a good case for improvement.

Key Points: ff Define the service your product delivers, this creates a rich design perspective ff Leverage your team’s implicit knowledge of your product life cycle ff Find your key indicators and focus on them ff Don’t be afraid to look over the fence and learn

Products and Services effectively operate together in a system over the life cycle. A useful approach to understanding this is to define the ‘service’ being delivered by your product. This enables you to stand back from what you are designing and create a more effective and open brief. Think about a milk bottle, the service being provide is ‘convenient fresh milk’ not delivering you a plastic bottle. Understanding the service provides a more in depth understanding about what you are delivering your consumers. Illustrating your product life cycle is an easy way for your team to gain a better understanding about your product or service sustainability. Most companies understand a lot more than they think about their product life cycle, get your team together and draw this information out. Isolate the areas of greatest impact or ‘Key Environmental Impact Indicators’ (KEPI). This can empower your design, development and production teams with simple priorities. Benchmarking leading products in your domain can help to provide insight into important areas for improvement, nothing wrong with leg up to start the process, and sometimes having a competitive example is just what is needed to motivate change.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable projectdesign project Building blocks of adesign sustainable


Building blocks of a sustainable design project

company

products

consumers

scope

worksheet product Core Function

Product Life Cycle

Problems & Opportunities

Key Environmental Product Indicators (KEPI) Identify the most important product environmental issues or indicators, and define the targets measures.

Supply Chain Document the supply chain of your product from manufacture through to end consumer.

Compliance

Benchmarking

Competitors

Describe the service your product delivers and think about all the things that contribute to this over its life.

Research existing product/service life cycle and analyse the environmental impact to create a benchmark.

Document the life cycle of your product/service include inputs, outputs and life cycle stages.

Document the problems and opportunities related to your product life cycle.

What standards existing in leading markets can you use to assist improving the environmental impact of your product.

Assess your products environmental performance against leading product’s and brands.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable design project


company

customer customer customer

products consumers scope company products consumers

scope

Interaction Interaction Communication Market Position Communication Market Position How do you Define how the How do you What environmental What environmental Define how the communicate your issues are important communicate your issues are important customers and customers and companies to your market and companies to your market users and interact sustainability sustainability consumers? consumers? users interact with your product issues/solutionsissues/solutions to with your product to your consumers? life cycle & define your consumers? life cycle & define their roles. their roles. Forecast Key customer Key customer Forecast Supply chain Supply chain Look at the medium Where do yourWhere do your groups Look at the medium groups term trends (2-3) in products come From your From your term trends (2-3) in products come from? How can you How can you interactions interactions your market and your market and from? changes in your communicate this changes in your communicate this define who the define who consumers. the consumers. transparently to transparently to most important most important your consumers. your consumers. customers are. customers are. Do your Do your customers customers understand understand

Are you communicting Are you communicting the impact of your the impact of your products in a way your in a way your products consumers consumers understand. understand.

You’ve developed a great understanding of your company and the life cycle of the products and services. There is one variable easily forgotten in this: the customer and user. Consumer behaviour will have a profound impact on the environmental sustainability of your product. This ranges from: how you communicate, how consumers interact with a product over its life cycle, and what they do with it once its useful life is over.

certainty. Some markets may require verification, or contain companies who already verify and therefore you will need to in order to compete.

Key Points: ff Consumers are a critical component of life cycle thinking ff Understand how consumers think, purchase, use, consume and dispose of your products and services over the life cycle, this information can drive the innovation process ff Your consumers are part of the recipe for change ff Saying you do everything right, doesn’t sound right. Tell customers about your journey.

Develop a clear picture about how consumers are using and consuming the products and services you or your clients make. Consider adding questions around the environment to your customer satisfaction surveys or establishing a consumer user group to discuss the environment. The result of understanding the environmental attitudes of your customer is enables key customer driven insights to be generated which could provide support direction and focus for a sustainable design project. Information on overseas markets is collected by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; check this information regularly for changes in the attitudes or business settings of your markets. Understanding the market you are trading in, and the trends for the future, can give you ideas for your sustainable design project. It is also important to think about how and what you communicate to the consumer about your products environmental credentials and those of your companies. Sustainability is a journey for a company and often it is good to explain this to your customers, telling them what you are doing now, but also where you are planning to get to in the future. You may also want to consider obtaining external verification of your claims to provide customer

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable projectdesign project Building blocks of design a sustainable


company

products

consumers

scope

worksheet customer Communication

Market Position

Interaction Define how the customers and users interact with your product life cycle & define their roles.

Key customer groups From your interactions define who the most important customers are.

Forecast

Supply chain

How do you communicate your companies sustainability issues/solutions to your consumers?

What environmental issues are important to your market and consumers?

Look at the medium term trends (2-3) in your market and changes in your consumers.

Where do your products come from? How can you communicate this transparently to your consumers.

Do your customers understand

Are you communicting the impact of your products in a way your consumers understand.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable design project


Building blocks of a sustainable design project

company

companyconsumers products products

consumers scope

scope

scope scope scope Benchmarking Benchmarking Compliance Compliance Existing Product Existing Product and legislation Using legislation DocumentingDocumenting and Using Improvement Improvement understanding youras WEE,such as WEE, Making RoHS changes understanding your such RoHS Making changes existing product and REACH to existing product and REACH to to the product to the product improve performance performance improve materials tomaterials to through research. and through research. eco-efficiencyeco-efficiency and improve improve achieve compliance. achieve compliance.

eco-efficiency. eco-efficiency.

New Product Product System New Product Product System Development Development Innovation Innovation new Creating a new Developing Developing new Creating a new product service products to products to product service resolve persistent system or life resolve persistent system or life environmental cycle environmental cycle concept thatconcept that is eco-effective. problems. problems. is eco-effective.

Creating a life cycle perspective helps to build a profile of what a sustainable design project should focus on. It also helps to scope of the sustainable design project.

Key Points: ff Start small and get runs on the board ff A clear understanding of your life cycle can reduce risk and provide a platform for system level innovation

There are five different approaches outlined in the building blocks to help you determine the scope of your sustainable design project. The approaches move from a focus on ‘eco-efficiency’ to ‘eco-effectiveness’. Projects with efficiency improvement targets are smaller in scope and easier to achieve, whereas a target of effectiveness is harder to achieve with greater scope. Existing product benchmarking can enable better marketing and communication. It also provides more detailed information that can be used in design( for instance undertaking a life cycle assessment of one of your key products). Compliance can provide useful design targets for future product developments. As often standards are the result of a great deal of research (for example complying with new emissions standards). Product improvements can deliver efficiency improvements without radically affecting product function or performance (for example creating a more fuel efficient vehicle). New product development provides an opportunity to develop innovative new products and services that effectively operate within existing systems (think hybrid cars). Product system innovation offers the potential to readdress how the system of products and services is design and delivered. This has the greatest potential to deliver eco-effectiveness (this could include new modes of transport or communication which replace existing paradigms).

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of adesign sustainable Building blocks of a sustainable projectdesign project


Building blocks of a sustainable design project

company

products

consumers

scope

worksheet scope Benchmarking Documenting and understanding your existing product performance through research.

Compliance Using legislation such as WEE, RoHS and REACH to improve eco-efficiency and achieve compliance.

New Product Development Developing new products to resolve persistent environmental problems.

Product System Innovation Creating a new product service system or life cycle concept that is eco-effective.

Existing Product Improvement Making changes to the product materials to improve eco-efficiency.

Building Blocks of a Sustainable Design Project

Building blocks of a sustainable design project


further information Rather than provide you an exhaustive list of links we have provided key search terms which are important to each topic. Links and information are constantly evolving whereas some of the key terms are durable points of reference that can connect with these. These terms do not cover highly specific areas that have developed over the last 5-10 years (such as green house gas accounting). The focus is related closely to the subject matter of this document; sustainable design.

Company

Customers

Creating an operational platform requires management tools and approaches to enable this to occur. Life cycle management broadly encapsulates the application of life cycle thinking to an organisation so is a great place to start.

Consumers are a central consideration when looking at sustainability. Their interactions over the life cycle with your products and services impact on the sustainability of your company. Social innovation involves incorporating the consumer and user into the process of innovation.

Key Terms: ff Life Cycle Management (LCM) ff Environmental Management Systems (EMS) ff Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) ff Product Oriented Environmental Management Systems (POEMS) ff Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ff Global Reporting Initiative

Key Terms: ff Social Innovation ff Design Research ff User Experience (UX) ff User Centred Design

Scope

Product/Service

Managing the risk involved with change can make companies feel more comfortable about stretching boundaries.

Describing the service your product delivers is an important basic step that enables you to widen your perspective of your product and service to the whole life cycle. Life cycle thinking is defined as a production and consumption strategy that aims at taking into account all of the impacts (environmental, economic and social) that a product or service will have throughout its life cycle.

Key Terms: ff Product System Innovation ff Cradle to Cradle ff Cradle to Grave ff Eco-Effective ff Eco-Efficient

Key Terms: ff Life Cycle Thinking ff Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) ff Functional Unit ff Key Environmental Performance Indicators (KEPI) ff Product Service System (PSS) ff Service Design (1990+) ff Eco-Design (1990-2000) ff Sustainable Design (2000+)

Note: There are a wide range of links available through the Sustainable design resource which is available for download from www.sustainabledesign.org.nz.

Aknowledgements This project was supported by MFE through the Sustainable Design Group of New Zealand, convened by the Sustainable Business Network. It was designed to provide designers and their clients a guide to undertaking sustainable design projects. The document was created by Locus Research with editorial support from Libby Masterton (MFE).

locus research

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 New Zealand License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/nz/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA FIRST PUBLISHED: NOvEMBER 2009 REvISION: 0.1 AUTHOR: LOCUS RESEARCH


http://locusdev.locusdev.co.nz/sites/default/files/imce/resources/BuildingBlocksofSustainableDesign