Rethink: Why sustainable product design is the need of the hour
Moving towards sustainable product design.
With an overriding focus on “user-centricity,” modern product design may have made sense in a purely commercially driven business framework, but it can have negative consequences further down the line – both for other stakeholders and for the environment.
For example, an estimated 80 percent of environmental impacts associated with products result from design decisions. As such, sustainable product design is becoming increasingly important due to its potential for positive environmental and social impacts as well as improving financial performance.
Sustainable design can be defined as “maximizing environmental, social, and economic benefits over a system’s lifecycle, while minimizing associated social and environmental costs.” This definition reflects the “triple-bottom-line” accounting framework, where the performance of a system is measured not only by the profit it generates, but also by positive impact on people and the planet.
Regulatory pressure is a top motivator
The report found that the top motivator for 61% of the organizations currently adopting sustainable product design practices or planning to do so in the future is pressure from regulators. With regulation set to tighten in the future, including around product life extension and recycled materials used in products and or packaging, businesses that aren’t already implementing sustainable design must reconsider in order to safeguard from the risk of future regulatory non-compliance.
Sustainable design does not always lead to increased cost
Sustainable design is often thought to be too expensive, and this perception represents a major roadblock for implementation. However, Capgemini found that, across all sectors, 23% of businesses which have implemented at least one sustainable design strategy have experienced a decrease in costs, while 37% of organizations say costs have remained the same.
Sustainable design practices provide a multitude of long-term benefits
According to the report, organizations must view investments in sustainable product design through a long-term lens. For many businesses, these investments are already paying off; of those organizations that reported an increase in costs, 51% say it has been outweighed by an increase in benefits. Organizations have experienced increased revenue growth (73%), improved customer satisfaction (70%), and improved employee engagement (79%) alongside carbon emissions reduction (67%).
To read more about how organizations can move towards sustainable product design, download the report.