Dealing with Uncertainties in Sustainable Consumer Product Designs

By Anders Haug and Jacob Busch.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: August 18, 2016 $US5.00

To address the growing environmental problems and rising social inequality, many manufacturers and designers are engaging in making more sustainable consumer products. However, launching the wrong sustainable designs may lead to negative consequences. To steer clear of this risk, we need to consider the uncertainties involved in launching sustainable consumer products and avoid launching products with a significant probability of causing harmful effects. To support this task, the paper clarifies the uncertainties associated with sustainable consumer product design. More specifically, the paper defines the concept of sustainability uncertainty in consumer product designs, identifies four types of "product uncertainties" and eight types of "consumer uncertainties," and discusses how to address sustainability uncertainty in these twelve dimensions. Furthermore, the paper provides a set of empirical examples to support the relevance of identified the twelve sustainability uncertainty dimensions.

Keywords: Sustainability, Uncertainties, Consumer Goods

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: August 18, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 708.431KB)).

Anders Haug

Associate Professor, Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark

Jacob Busch

Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Culture and Society, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark