Improving the Effectiveness of Introductory Eco-design Activities within Industry through the Development of an Introductory Eco-design Process

  • Molly Buckingham

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


The research project set out with the aim of investigating how introductory eco-design projects can promote and support ongoing eco-design development within design and manufacturing companies. To meet this aim, the dissertation presents a body of research that supports the development of an Introductory Eco-design Process. The Introductory Eco-design Process provides a structured approach for those undertaking their first eco-design project. The activities and sequence that make up the process have been identified to ensure that introductory projects increase eco-design knowledge and understanding, whilst promoting and supporting ongoing development.Adopting an inductive approach, the Introductory Eco-design Process has beendeveloped by collating the learning outcomes from three key research phases;observation, pattern identification and theory development. The observation phase consisted of a literature review and introductory eco-design case study description. The literature review identifies a set of characteristics that describe companies in the nascent stage of eco-design development and finds that existing experience, recommendations and methodologies are poorly matched to these characteristics. The case study description provides a detailed examination of an introductory eco-design project that was found to poorly embed eco-design practice. This provides learning relating to the practical and psychological opportunities and barriers faced when introducing eco-design in a design and manufacturing firm. The pattern identification phase consisted of two retrospective analyses of the case study achieved through subsequent interviews, documental analysis and a review of design activity. Collating this retrospective research enabled key recommendations for structuring eco-designprojects and identified a set of company characteristics found to have greatest impact on introductory eco-design activities and outcomes. Bringing the learning outcomes from each of these phases together, the Introductory Eco-design Process emerged as an initial theory. Acknowledging the inherent limitations of applying an inductive approach to a single case study, the final chapter tests this theory against other industrial backgrounds. The exercise finds that the process can successfully support eco-design introduction in other industrial contexts.
Date of Award22 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorElies Dekoninck (Supervisor) & Marcelle McManus (Supervisor)


  • Eco-Design
  • Project Improvement
  • Business Development
  • Sustainable Design
  • Change Management
  • Project Implementation

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