Improve Products & Services


These resources will help you to understand and improve the sustainability of products and services throughout their lifecycle, including the terms of their production, performance, and end-of-life (or next-life) solutions.

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What is the Circular Economy?

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation provides a range of videos, audio files, case studies, and slides and hat will help you to understand the limitations of our linear economy, the aspects and benefits of a circular approach to industry, and the principles that will enable businesses and communities to achieve this.

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What is Sustainable Innovation?

This article provides a high-level explanation of what sustainable innovation looks like when designing products and services and how it differs from traditional innovation. This resource is a good introduction on how businesses can make innovation sustainable, and will help you to understand why this matters.

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Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment

This comprehensive handbook outlines a method for analyzing the social impacts of a product across its entire life cycle. It presents a number of indicators you can use to make impacts more visible and potentially identify hotspots, risks, and opportunities for improvement. It was developed by The Roundtable for Product Social Metrics, a business-led working group that works in collaboration with academia, NGOs, government, and industry organisations.

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Biomimicry in Action

Janine Benyus shares a few stories about taking design advice from nature in this TED Talk. Biomimicry, a discipline developed by Benyus, is about sustainable innovation inspired by nature. Whether it’s waterproofing, optimizing packing space, repelling bacteria naturally, optimizing energy use, filtering water, or even using CO2 as a building block in cement, nature has answers.

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Whole Systems and Lifecycle Thinking

This short clip provides a great introduction to applying whole systems and lifecycle thinking to a product using the example of a clothes dryer. It was developed as a part of the Autodesk Education Community's Sustainability Workshop. The page also has a slide deck and video script, as well as links to information on Life Cycle Assessment, The Rocky Mountain Institute's 10xE design principles, and biomimicry.

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Model Behavior: 20 Business Model Innovations for Sustainability

Skim over this report if your organisation is considering how to start innovating for sustainability. It offers insight into twenty different approaches along with examples from a diverse range of organisations. The report was developed by SustainAbility, a think tank and strategic advisory firm.

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Solar Impulse Foundation

This database showcases thousands of solutions for improving the sustainability of operations, products, and services. The curated database allows you to filter for solutions by sector, client profile, application, geography, and more, and the solution profiles highlight the potential environmental and financial benefits. This is a good one-stop shop for technology experts, engineers, operations managers, change agents, and leaders to explore the growing range of innovations that can support their sustainability-related projects and objectives.

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Okala EcoDesign Wheel App

This "brainstorming tool" is a great prompt for early thinking on improving the sustainability of a product or service. Taken from the Okala Practitioner Guide, it organises different strategies for minimizing ecological impact around the stages of the product life-cycle.

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The Roadmap to Sustainable E-commerce

This report from EDF+Business encourages consumer goods retailers to share more information on the social and environmental impacts of their products. Intended for businesses that engage in both direct and indirect e-commerce, the report explains how retailers can leverage their influence to improve product transparency and buyer behavour. The report outlines seven steps to achieving e-commerce sustainability leadership, with each section referencing relevant guidance and toolkits to help you get started.