System Perspective – Design for Eco-Products

sustainable designMost people don’t realize that sustainable design is a lot more than just designing an eco-friendly product. It involves understanding all the steps that go into your product and how they affect the environment, from packaging to production to disposal. What’s even more important is analyzing these impacts using a system perspective. To help you with this, we’re going to dive deep into what system perspectives are, how they work, and why it’s so important for the sustainable design of products. So let’s get started!

Introduction

System perspective tools such as an environmental life-cycle analysis (LCA) or a Life Cycle Management tool (LCM) as well as The 5 Level Framework (5LF) can guide product development by shedding light on the life-cycle of any given product and illuminating ways to reduce resources consumed and lower costs all along the value chain. It does this by using an ecological footprint perspective–that is, looking at everything from cradle to grave in order to measure environmental impact during every phase. From a system’s perspective, it’s easy enough to identify what steps use up water or produce air pollution more quickly than others; as such these are good places for improvement!

The Components of a System Perspective

Life Cycle Management (LCM) is a business approach that ensures sustainable value chain management to target, organize, analyze and manage product-related information and activities towards continuous improvement along the product life cycle. LCM differs from an environmental LCA in how it measures performance; LCM focuses on improving environmentally conscious aspects of production while also considering economic factors such as cost efficiency throughout the process.

Unlike many other tools for sustainability assessment like ESG or GRI reporting standards which can only provide broad overviews of company operations across various industries/sectors at any given time period, an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment by contrasting forces companies to collect specific data about their products’ environmental impacts during each stage so they are able to accurately identify what needs improvements before making decisions.

In a world where sustainability is becoming more and more important, it’s crucial to know the different types of tools that can be used in order to create sustainable products. One such tool is LCM – Life Cycle Management which provides an umbrella for other assessment tools like environmental LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and offers a framework under which product-LCA are able to inform the design process of new sustainable products.

In addition, the organization called the Natural Step developed a five(5) level framework that can help companies create a picture of what it means to be sustainable not just for their product sustainability, but also in their operations, processes using a holistic approach. Using a holistic approach, and working with a clear vision of the end-point, companies can lay out the steps necessary to get there as the Natural Step founder, Karl-Henrik Robert calls it “backcasting from principles”.

The 5 Level Framework (5LF) is a comprehensive model for planning and decision making in complex systems based on whole system thinking. It comprises five levels: 1.) System, 2.) Success, 3,) Strategic Planing/Decision Making Strategies, 4) Actions to be Taken; and 5., Tools that can help accomplish the goals of each level. The framework helps one analyze any type or scale of complex system by providing tools to plan strategically towards success while respecting principles determined by how the working of the individual components influence its overall performance over time.

Who Uses Systems Perspectives?

sustainable design

The use of system perspectives can help policymakers and designers understand how to make their sustainable projects more impactful. Policymakers could use this perspective for example, when deciding where or what to build in order to have the most impact on improving sustainability.

Similar to the human body, a factory is well-designed when every part of it works together seamlessly for optimum efficiency. In order to do this correctly, you have to consider energy consumption as just one component in an interconnected system. Factors such as water usage and waste production rates also play into how much money your design will cost over time while still being environmentally friendly thanks to its incorporation of systems thinking which should be considered by anyone interested in creating sustainable solutions that are not only effective but profitable too!

Why is it Important for Sustainable Product Design?

First, what are system perspectives and how do they work? A system’s perspective analyzes the environmental impact of your product from start to finish – meaning your production process plus any other steps that lead up to or follow after its disposal. To illustrate this point, let’s consider an eco shampoo bottle as an example: by using system perspective tools such as life cycle analysis (LCA), you can determine which parts of the design might need tweaking in order to make them more sustainable. 

For instance, consider this real-world example: A shampoo bottle. It is designed with the end in mind, and you can look at it from three different perspectives to see how each impacts its sustainability. From a design perspective, use eco-friendly materials that are recyclable or biodegradable for less waste during the production of the product itself; If looking at disposal after usage, make sure your bottles will be recycled properly so they don’t find their way into our landfills – especially now when there’s not as much landfill space available because everyone has been using recycling bins! As an added bonus? Using sustainable practices like those outlined above also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better energy efficiency on every level throughout the process by reducing resource consumption needs and the use of chemicals.

Typical System Perspective Example

Design Perspective: Designing an eco product with materials that are non-toxic, biodegradable or that can be recycled easily

Post perspective: Disposal after usage, make sure your bottles will be recycled properly so they don’t find their way into our landfills – especially now when there’s not as much landfill space available because everyone has been using recycling bins! As an added bonus? Using sustainable practices like those outlined above also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better energy efficiency on every level throughout the process by reducing resource consumption needs and the use of chemicals.

Governing perspective: Analyzing the environmental impact of your product comes in handy using a system’s perspective.

For the above example, System perspective tools such as the environmental LCA can help your business capture these data and create metrics for measurement –and as a result, you can be able to track some basic environmental outcomes – the resources it uses and what it emits or wastes, etc

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