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BSR and IDEO Reveal the ABCDs of Building Sustainability into Product Design

Published 05-28-08

Submitted by BSR

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 27, 2008 - Sustainability is not just about modifying products, but about modifying the way products are made. The wider range of factors to consider in product design and management, such as eco-toxicity, recyclability or renewability, often lie outside the expertise of traditional designers and product managers. Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), in conjunction with design and innovation firm IDEO, have published a joint report, Aligned for Sustainable Design: An A-B-C-D Approach to Making Better Products, to educate companies about how to create internal and external alignments that achieve their sustainable design goals.

"Companies succeed in sustainable product design by developing a more integrated design process," said Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Director of BSR's Environmental R&D team. "Rather than just focusing on new strategies and skill sets, they create new, cross-functional connections in their organizations that enable them to design and commercialize breakthrough products."

Using in-depth case studies, Aligned for Sustainable Design examines the processes that Nike, Herman Miller, Clorox and others have been going through to develop a capacity to design products more sustainably. These real-world examples show that, as companies begin to pursue sustainable design, they must recognize the many functions that shape their design options and choices. The A-B-C-D framework breaks these ideas down to illustrate how companies Assess, Bridge, Create and Diffuse capabilities in their organizations. It helps to show why companies are transitioning away from a "pipeline" model of product development to a more integrative design process that connects employees and groups in ongoing learning loops throughout the design process. These cross-functional connections are key to encouraging innovation.

Aligned for Sustainable Design: An A-B-C-D Approach to Making Better Products is an indispensable resource to companies navigating this process. The report is available on BSR's website: www.bsr.org/reports/BSR_Sustainable_Design_Report_0508.pdf.

About BSR

Since 1992, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has been providing socially responsible business solutions to many of the world’s leading corporations. Headquartered in San Francisco and with offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, New York and Paris, BSR is a nonprofit business association that serves its 250 member companies and other Global 1000 enterprises. Through advisory services, convenings and research, BSR works with corporations and concerned stakeholders of all types to create a more just and sustainable global economy. For more information, visit www.bsr.org.

About IDEO

IDEO helps organizations innovate through design. The sole design strategy firm on a 2008 list of the world's 50 most innovative companies, IDEO brings sustainable growth to the business, government, education and social sectors with its human-centered approach. Included in IDEO's legacy are such standard-setting designs as the first notebook computer, Apple's first mouse, the Palm V and the LifePort Kidney Transporter. More recently, IDEO’s multidisciplinary teams have addressed in their work such themes as sustainability, the design of communities, health and wellness, and enterprise for people in developing nations and emerging economies. For more information, visit www.ideo.com.

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BSR

BSR

Since 1992, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has been providing socially responsible business solutions to many of the world's leading corporations. Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Europe and China, BSR is a nonprofit business association that serves its 250 member companies and other Global 1000 enterprises. Through advisory services, convenings and research, BSR works with corporations and concerned stakeholders of all types to create a more just and sustainable global economy. For more information, visit www.bsr.org.

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