An Introduction to EcoDesign Strategies ? Why, what and how?

Karsten Schischke, Fraunhofer IZM, Germany

The basic idea of eco-design is the reduction of environmental impacts throughout entire product life cycles by improved product design. Two initial key questions in relation to this are: Why is "the environment" a relevant topic, and, of particular interest to companies? And what is the philosophy behind the legislative activities of, for example, the European Union? Once it is understood, why the environment is a significant and relevant topic, companies are then better able to deal pro-actively with the requirements coming not only from the legislators, but also business and private customers, the market, and other stakeholders. In addition, those companies that have a strategic and pro-active approach to eco-design are likely to open the door to creative innovation.