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Design for Sustainability (DfS)

Help Your Team Integrate Design for Sustainability Economically and Efficiently

Effective Design for Sustainability Starts with Life Cycle Thinking and How it Applies to Your Product or Service

EarthShift Global can help you infuse Design for Sustainability (DfS) into your team. We don’t apply a cookie-cutter approach—every company and every team is different and needs different support. That’s why we work with a wide range of experts and bring in the specific skills needed for each team.

What is Sustainability in Business?

Effective Design for Sustainability starts with a firm understanding of life cycle thinking and how it applies to your product or service. But the real skills for DfS already exist in the engineer’s toolbox. By clearly defining the function your product offers and the hotspots in your products’ lifecycles you can unlock the DfS potential in your organization. EarthShift Global engages internal and external experts as needed to infuse DfS into your design process. Our guidance opens doors to new product innovation and even new business models.

The process starts with a free consultation with an EarthShift Global Sustainability Advisor under a confidentiality agreement. We’ll talk about your products and your industry, the engineering, R&D, management and marketing cultures in your organization, and how sustainability fits with the corporate goals, among other things.

Together, we’ll put together a plan of action which may include:

  • Further exploration of sustainability in the corporate culture
  • Working through strategies to identify how DfE aligns with corporate goals
  • Exercises or simulations to get the entire company or division working together
  • Additional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study or training
  • A half-day workshop to explore hot-spot and leverage points and brainstorm product improvement ideas
  • Providing engineering access to the LCA model in calculators or other easy-to-learn formats
  • An innovation workshop with experts in the field

As an example, we might kick off the process using an LCA hot spot analysis from a representative product as the basis of a participatory workshop. We start with exercises that help the team understand life cycle thinking and then delve into the functional unit. After introducing the hot spots, we help the team identify areas where they have leverage and help them brainstorm solutions. While many solutions are often already at top of mind when the team gathers, some solutions come from out-of-the-box thinking. EarthShift Global is adept at facilitating and/or contributing to getting out of the box. Bringing in subject matter experts is another way to jump-start the process.

We can then explore how DfS can be made integral to the design process. DfS is most effective when it becomes part of the stage-gate design process. Implementation at this level must be done from within but is seldom easy. Depending upon the sticking points, we can work with you to bring in experts who can help in, for example, recognition of the benefits of DfS, changing corporate culture to embrace sustainability, breaking down barriers between management and employee thinking, the mechanics of changing a stage-gate process, best practices in a particular manufacturing area or technique, etc.

Related Articles

Design for Sustainability (Sustainatopia Boston 2015)

Interested in more information regarding our Design for Sustainability (DfS) solutions to help you create a plan for sustainable product development?

EarthShift Global’s extensive knowledge and experience provide a novel, forward-looking approach as well as specific insights – even during the proposal process.

Please call +1 (207) 608-6228, contact us by email for a personal consultation, or use our consulting services inquiry form.