1994 the PROMISE manual ecodesign was introduced in the Netherlands.
This manual was developed by the University of Delft, TNO
institute for industrial technology, KIEM sustainable innovations
and others. The PROMISE manual was the basis for an international
eco-design manual published by UNEP in 1997 (eco-design, a
Until recently, the focus of environmental considerations
in most companies has been heavily driven by regulatory compliance.
However, there is an increasing shift towards competing in
the market on environmental performance. The increasing adoption
of voluntary environmental management systems (ISO 14001 and
EMAS) and product standards (e.g. eco-labelling) is part of
Other pushes are coming from the European Commission. The
Council and the European Parliament adobted in October 2007
a directive on establishing a framework for setting Eco-design
requirements (such as energy efficiency requirements) for
all energy using products in the residential, tertiary and
It is no surprise that governments are more and more involved
with the environmental aspects of R&D activities and it can
be expected in the future that ecodesign becomes a standard
activity in business like accountancy and waste management.
the heart of eco-design is the concept of the product life
cycle. Product life cycle starts with resources taken from
nature, goes on to the production of materials and manufacturing
processes, packaging and transport, the use and maintenance
of a product and finally concludes at the end-of-life stage.
Key environmental factors of life cycle considerations are
inputs and outputs that take place at every stage of the whole
product-system: consumption of materials and energy, use of
water, emissions to air, water and soil, generation of waste
materials, transport and packaging.
Four different grades of environmental product innovation
can be distinguished: product improvement, redesign, function
innovation and system innovation.
Ecodesign is part of the product development process. It adds
several new activities to the traditional design process,
the structure of which stays the same.
Many methods and software tools are developed to support companies
in their aim to develop green product and services. An R&D
strategy can be found that can bring their business more aligned
with nature. CEED wants particularly to support small and
medium sized enterprises with practical methods.