An Approach to Sustainable Design Management

Gisli Thorsteinsson*, Tom Page**
* Professor, Department of Design and Craft Education, University of Iceland, Iceland.
** Associate Professor, Department of Product Design, Nottingham Trent University, England.
Periodicity:June - August'2018


In recent years sustainable design has played an increasingly important role in university design education and within this EcoDesign tools have the potential to greatly improve the sustainability of work completed by design students. Currently however there is little guidance concerning which EcoDesign tools are most appropriate for use by undergraduate design students. This study seeks to establish which EcoDesign tools are most appropriate for use by industrial design students. This is achieved through a greater understanding of: the criteria which define whether an EcoDesign tool is effective for use by industrial design students, the views of students, and the most effective education methods for EcoDesign; ultimately gaining a comprehension of how EcoDesign tools can be more widely used by industrial design students. This was achieved through a combination of reviewing and collating existing knowledge and views, while seeking the opinions of current design students. The study found that the most significant barriers to widespread usage of EcoDesign tools are time constraints, the presentation style of tools, and a lack of knowledge in both tool selection and usage. It was found that the most effective and popular method of teaching sustainable design was through the use of practical examples; this was largely linked to the hands on nature of industrial design culture. The EcoDesign tools found to be the most suitable for use by design students were EcoDesign Web, Design Abacus and Information/Inspiration; mainly due to the relatively quick, simple and customisable nature of the tools. The increased use of EcoDesign tools by design students has the potential to greatly improve the sustainability of design, allowing students to gain experience and knowledge that can be carried with them in to industry. This study recommends further research in to a system or guide that aids design students in both the selection and use of EcoDesign tools.


sustainability, EcoDesign, industrial design, education

How to Cite this Article?

Thorsteinsson. G., and Page. T. (2018). An Approach to Sustainable Design Management. i-manager’s Journal on Management, 13(1), 1-9.


[1]. Acosta, P. R., Gonzalez, R., &Hernandez, N. V. (2011). An expert system to teach engineering students sustainability and creativity design method selection. American Society for Education, 11(1), 2011-2547.
[2] . Baker, J. (2002). Research Methods. The Marketing Review, 3(2), 167-194.
[3] . Bhamra, T., & Lofthouse, V. (2007). Design for Sustainability - A Practical Approach. Hampshire: Gower Publishing Limited.
[4] . Bhamra, T., Lofthouse, V., & Norman, E. (2002). EcoDesign education strategies: A recent initiative for Industrial Design and Technology undergraduates at Loughborough University. Journal of Design &Technology Education, 7(2), 133-141.
[5] . Birch, A., Hon, K. K. B., & Short, T. (2012). Structure and output mechanisms in Design for Environment (DfE) tools. Journal of Cleaner Production, 35, 50-58.
[6] . Bovea, M., & Pérez-Belis, V. (2012). A taxonomy of ecodesign tools for integrating environmental requirements into the product design process. Journal of Cleaner Production, 20(1), 61-71.
[7] . Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Reuse/ Recycling Technologies. (2009). Design Abacus. Retrieved from tools_designabacus.php [Accessed 08.01.2016].
[8] . Fletcher, K., & Dewberry, E. (2002). Demi: A case study in design for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 3(1), 38-47.
[9] . Greener, S. (2008). Business Research Methods. BookBoon.
[10] . Information Inspiration. (2008). EcoDesign Web. Retrieved from section=72¤tsubsection=72. [Accessed 08.01.2016].
[11] . Lofthouse, V. (2006). Ecodesign tools for designers: Defining the requirements. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(15-16), 1386-1395.
[12] . Lofthouse, V. A. (2003, May). Designing for designers: EcoDesign tools to inform and inspire. In Proceedings of IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment (pp. 377-382). IEEE.
[13] . Luttropp, C., & Lagerstedt, J. (2006). EcoDesign and The Ten Golden Rules: Generic advice for merging environmental aspects into product development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(15-16), 1396-1408.
[14] . Ritzén, S., & Lindahl, M. (2001). Selection and implementation-key activities to successful use of EcoDesign tools. In Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing, 2001. Proceedings EcoDesign 2001: Second International Symposium on (pp. 174-179). IEEE.
[15] . Vallet, F., Eynard, B., Millet, D., Mahut, S. G., Tyl, B., & Bertoluci, G. (2013). Using Eco-Design tools: An overview of experts' practices. Design Studies, 34(3), 345-377.
[16] . Watkins, M., & Lofthouse, V. (2010). A review of sustainability within product and industrial design courses th in British universities. In: Proceedings of the 12 International Conference on Engineering and Production Design Education.
[17] . Wikipedia. (2018). EcoDesign. Retrieved from [Accessed 08.01.2016].
[18] . Wrisberg, N., Udo de Haes, H. A., & Klöpffer, W. (2004). Analytical Tools for Environmental Design and Management in a Systems Perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Purchase Instant Access

Single Article

North Americas,UK,
Middle East,Europe
India Rest of world
Pdf 35 35 200 20
Online 35 35 200 15
Pdf & Online 35 35 400 25

If you have access to this article please login to view the article or kindly login to purchase the article
Options for accessing this content:
  • If you would like institutional access to this content, please recommend the title to your librarian.
    Library Recommendation Form
  • If you already have i-manager's user account: Login above and proceed to purchase the article.
  • New Users: Please register, then proceed to purchase the article.