The concept of sustainable product-service systems has emerged recently, and is distinct from the ideas of cleaner production, eco-design and design for the environment. The concept goes beyond the environmental optimisation of products and processes and requires radical and creative thinking to reduce environmental impacts by a factor of between four and 20 times while maintaining an acceptable quality of service. Sustainable product-services consider alternative socio-technical systems that can provide the essential end-use function, such as warmth or mobility, that an existing product offers. Four types are outlined—result services; shared utilisation services; product-life extension services; and demand side management. Sustainable product-service systems attempt to create designs that are sustainable in terms of environmental burden and resource use, whilst developing product concepts as parts of sustainable whole systems, that provide a service or function to meet essential needs.
Sustainable Product-Service Systems
by Robin Roy
Feb 28, 2000