The investigation of environmental sustainability within product design: a critical review

Emelia Delaney, Wei Liu*, Zicheng Zhu, Yuchun Xu, Jian S. Dai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sustainability encompasses social, economic and environmental issues with the primary aim to fulfil the needs of the present society without compromising the potential needs of future generations. Product design has been identified to greatly influence the sustainability of New Product Development. This study aims to identify and review the fundamental factors in which product design has the ability to influence and improve the overall environmental sustainability of a product. A comprehensive literature review has been performed to establish trends over the past four decades. The factors that have significant potential, such as the 6Rs, waste and energy, which aid designers in the implementation of environmental sustainability during the product design process have been identified and discussed. Through this analysis, a new conceptual framework has been conceived, facilitating designers in implementing environmental sustainability during product development. In addition, future research opportunities have been identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15
Number of pages43
JournalDesign Science
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2022. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.


  • design process
  • environmental sustainability
  • factors
  • product design
  • sustainability


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