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July 23 , 2010

Life Cycle Design

A Manual for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises


Small and medium-sized enterprises can serve as promising cradles for challenging ideas and pioneering initiatives. That is exactly what is required in order to make progress towards sustainable levels and patterns of production and consumption. Of all the continents of the world, Europe is most likely to lead the way towards a more sustainable relation with the environment. Having been the cradle of the industrialized world as we know it today, Europe again will lead the way in the journey of discovery to sustainable industrial practice, that is, if suitable conditions exist, and engaged and motivated entrepeneurs take the challenge and the role of the pioneer. Essential to these conditions is a set of values regarding the availability and properties of resources, the functioning of products and the impact upon the environment, now and well into the future, in Europe as well as globally. Furthermore, imagination, infor­ mation and encouragement will be essential. This manual provides ideas, tools, examples and guidance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that wish to develop products with the environment and the future in mind. It addresses product development and design with consideration for the whole life cycle of the product. This cycle is a process ranging from the identification and formulation of a need at the early stage of product development to the disposal of the product, after repeated usage, at the end of its life. A particular focus has been given to principles and criteria in the design of complex products.
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