Development of products and servicesThe page was last modified:
When developing products or services, you have a major influence on their impact on sustainability. By means of smart material choices, energy-saving solutions and functions that promote sustainable behaviour, you can generate real benefit for the user and the environment at the same time.
One of the most important factors in reducing a product’s impact on sustainability is to ensure that its useful life is as long as possible and energy consumption is kept as low as possible. The product should be able to be repaired, cleaned, and handled without breaking. You may also need to offer spare parts for components that wear or break more easily, or make it possible to upgrade the product.
Offering services that provide access to products
One growing trend, which is rooted in a circular economy, is to offer access to products through services instead of selling them. With arrangements like this it’s important to consider both the customer perspective and the sustainability perspective. The “servicification” of products is not necessarily sustainable, but it can be if it means that products are used for longer and more frequently. If you intend to rent products via a service arrangement, you need to consider how to make the alternative you offer more attractive to users than buying the equivalent product would be.
Sustainable product labelling
Product labelling of various kinds can help you to show off your product and get customers to specifically choose it. Labelling shows the customer that the product is eco-friendly, manufactured under acceptable conditions or healthy, for example.
You can read more about different product labelling here:
Voluntary labelling – the Market Surveillance Council
Making mindful choices regarding packaging for your product can reduce the environmental impact of your business. Packaging used by the business should be recyclable and not larger than necessary.
Provide information about what the product contains
A product must not contain substances that are harmful to health or the environment, if this can be avoided. There is legislation regarding substances that may and may not be used, so you must check whether your products contain hazardous substances. You can do this by requesting safety data sheets from your suppliers, also known as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). You are responsible for informing your customers if your products contain hazardous substances and how to use them safely.
You may also need to register your products in the Products Register of the Swedish Chemicals Agency. They hold information on chemical products and biotechnical organisms manufactured in, or brought into Sweden, and how they are used.
Questions to consider
- How can you reduce the use of raw materials, energy or chemicals?
- Can you assess what type of environmental impact your service or product will have by studying life cycle analyses for similar services or products?
- Has the product been designed so that it can easily be shared by multiple users, or be repaired, upgraded, reused or recycled?
- How can you inform users how to use the product in order to minimise environmental impact?
- Can you find new customer groups who want to purchase your product after its initial use?
- If you intend to rent a product, how can you make this more attractive than buying it?
Links and detailed information
Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign (SVID) has joined forces with other stakeholders to develop a sustainability guide for product development.
The sustainability guide on SVID’s website
The Packaging and Newspaper Collection Service (FTI, ftiab.se) offers manuals to assist in designing recyclable packaging from four kinds of material: plastic, paper, metal and glass.
Packaging manuals on FTI’s website
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has information and guidance about chemicals for businesses. You can also find the Products Register on their website.
Start page for businesses on the Swedish Chemicals Agency website
The Products Register on the Swedish Chemicals Agency website
Some products have to fulfil certain minimum requirements for energy efficiency. These are known as ecodesign requirements and are aimed at reducing a product’s environmental impact.
About ecodesign requirements on the EU website
The Committee for Technological Innovation and Ethics (Komet) has developed a digital tool for responsible technological development. The tool is web-based and is used for self-assessment of ethics and sustainability by businesses.
The Swedish Consumer Agency offers information and tips for how you and your company can choose more sustainable products and services. You can also learn more about the environmental impact of different products.
The environment and sustainability at the Swedish Consumer Agency
Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth