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Ecodesign: a promising approach to sustainable production and consumption

April 1997 - Ecodesign: A Promising Approach to Sustainable Production and Consumption is the first manual to provide companies with a step-by- step approach to ecodesign. During product development, many opportunities exist to fully integrate environmental considerations into the design process. This can lead to: radical reductions in the numbers of parts and amounts of materials used; avoiding use of toxic materials; reducing energy consumption during use to a minimum; and planning for re-use, recycling or final disposal from the very earliest life-cycle stage. This process can even go further, with the product becoming a service when the manufacturer's responsibility is extended to take-back for re-use or disposal.

The manual, written jointly by UNEP, Rathenau Instituut and Delft university of Technology, addresses the issue of product development and offers a methodology to companies which want to make a start on ecodesign. The modular structure of the manual allows a company to gain experience in the field of ecodesign, and then to tailor the initial step-by- step approach to produce an ecodesign programme suited to its own situation and needs. In this way, the company can internalize ecodesign in its product development function, and improve its existing products.

The manual gives many examples of companies - large and medium-sized - which have already made substantial progress with ecodesign, clearly demonstrating that there is a successful and repeatable methodology which can be used all over the globe, once adapted to regional circumstances.

The manual thus provides an introduction to ecodesign for all those active or interested in product development, in large as well as small companies, and in design consultancies. Although the primary audience is product managers, developers and designers, many of the issues addressed are relevant to marketing managers, production planners and buyers as well. The manual also contains valuable information for students and teachers in industrial design engineering or, more specifically, ecodesign.

With governements, companies, non-governmental organizations and consumers becoming increasingly interested in improving the environemental performance of products, it is hoped that Ecodesign: A Promising Approach to Sustainable Production and Consumption will contribute to the spread of the ecodesign approach, and together with cleaner production processes and better environmental management systems, help to promote sustainable production and consumption.

UNEP Information Note 1997/12



ISBN 92-807-1631-X
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About UNEP Industry and Environment
UNEP established its Industry and Environment office (UNEP IE) in 1975 to bring industry and government together to promote environmentally sound industrial development. UNEP IE is located in Paris.
Its goals are:
1) to encourage the incorporation of environmental criteria in industrial development plans;
2) to facilitate the implementation of procedures and principles for the protection of the environment;
3) to promote preventive environmental protection through cleaner production and other pro-active approaches;
4) to stimulate the exchange of information and experience throughout the world.

To achieve these goals, UNEP IE has developed the following main programme elements:
Accident Prevention (APELL), Cleaner Production, Energy, OzonAction, Industrial Pollution Management, Tourism.

UNEP IE organizes conferences and seminars, undertakes training and co-operative activities backed by regular follow-up and assessment. To promote the transfer of information and the sharing of knowledge and experience, UNEP IE has developed three complementary tools: technical reports, the quarterly "Industry and Environment" review and a technical query-response service.

Some recent UNEP Industry and Environment publications
Industry and Environment, a quarterly review. Each issue focuses on a specific topic and also covers news and events in the worldwide industrial environment.
Contact UNEP IE for subscription information.

NOTICE : Vol. 20, Nþ 1 of the review focuses on product design and the environment. Cleaner Production - A Training Resource Package, 110 p., 1996, FF 600/US$ 120

Trainers Workbook on Cleaner Production in Leather Tanning, 120 p., 1996, FF 600/U^$ 120

Trainers Workbook on Cleaner Production in the Brewing Industry, 75 p., 1996, FF 500/US$ 100

Trainers Workbook on Cleaner Production in Textile Wet Processing, 140 p., 1995, FF 600/US$ 120

Life Cycle Assessment: What it is and How to do it, 92 p., 1996, FF 200/US$ 40

Cleaner Production in China : A Story of Successful Cooperation, 10 p., 1996, FF 40/US$ 8

Cleaner Production Worldwide, Volume II, 48 p., 1995. Price FF 100/US$ 20

Government Strategies and Policies for Cleaner Production, 32 p., 1994, FF 100/US$ 20

Environmental Codes of Conduct for Tourism, Technical Report nø 29, 70 p., 1995. Price FF 150/US30

Company Environmental Reporting: A Measure of the Progress of Business and Industry

Towards Sustainable Development, Technical Report nø 24, 118 p., 1994. Also available in French. Price FF 250/US$ 50.



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Monday 28 Apr 1997
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