The implementation of eco-design within any existing business requires change. Change is required because eco-design involves the introduction and integration of new design criteria within an existing product development system. To support meaningful change, it is important to understand the current situation, or business context. The first eco-design case study presented in this paper, illustrates a failure to recognize the importance of understanding the business context. Through a retrospective analysis of this case study, a company characterization process (CCP) has been developed. The CCP is presented in this paper, and a further case study is provided to help exemplify its application. The CCP has been developed using an action research methodology to support the development of effective and efficient eco-design projects, through a three-step process that characterizes business features for eco-design activity planning. The tool has been developed for use in any company in the early stages of eco-design implementation, and particularly for to academics and industrial eco-design practitioners who are supporting company efforts from outside the company.
- retrospective research