David João Geraldes Camocho
Transition to circular and sustainable economy through design
Ana Margarida Ferreira, IADE, Universidade Europeia, Laureate International Universities
José Vicente, IADE, Universidade Europeia, Laureate International Universities
Currently, circular economy (CE) is gaining attention in Europe and around the world as a potential way for our society to increase prosperity and sustainability by reducing the dependence on primary materials and energy.
In this transition towards CE, numerous research projects and activities have and are being developed at distinct levels of society and design has a crucial role, however, there are still several limitations and barriers in its implementation. To implement the model, designers, product developers and companies need to be able to apply the CE principles and criteria in practice in a simple and efficient way.
The research project, designed with the objective of supporting the creation of added value for the design professionals and for the society by answering to questions such as “How design can effectively contribute to the transition from a traditional and linear economy to a more sustainable and circular model?”, will result in the definition of a strategy, supported by methods and tools that will support a more efficient design practice aligned with European and national policies and will contribute to a more sustainable future.
Changes are taking place worldwide in business strategy and industries face increasing pressures from economic crises, resource scarcity, and pollution. The Circular Economy (CE) is gaining attention in Europe and around the world as a potential strategy to increase prosperity by overcoming the current production and consumption models based in so-called “linear economy” or “take, make and dispose model” that depletes natural resources and destroys ecosystems.
In the transition towards CE, numerous projects and activities have and are being developed and the design has a crucial role, however, there are still various limitations and barriers in its implementation. There is not a systematic approach to its implementation and CE is not already a well-established and mature concept. To implement the model, designers, product developers and companies need to be able to apply the CE principles and criteria in practice in a simple and efficient way.
The design practice has a crucial role in defining the characteristic of the products that fulfill the needs of the society and their impacts in the life cycle are defined in the design phase. In order to promote design and the practice of design, it is important to assess the maturity of Portuguese companies and designers in the integration of sustainability criteria related to the development process through the analysis of the current design practice applied in the development of sustainable industrial products available in the market. This analysis will allow the identification of the drivers, barriers, and needs faced by practitioners.
Within the research under development, the team aims to identify, explore and develop an effective strategy supported by improved methods and tools which will be easy to apply in practice in order to promote the transition to CE through design.
The study will add value to the design practice in the areas of sustainability and circular economy at business and educational levels. Firstly, the study will have an innovative approach in mapping the design practice with sustainability concerns by identifying relevant products and the process underlying, having as sources of information the designers and companies that were responsible for the development and placement of the products in the market. These professionals are the ones who had dealt with the real challenges of the introduction of sustainability in the design process. Secondly, the study aims to establish a new strategy to promote the effective application of the design practice, supported by methods and tools aligned with the needs of designers. Thirdly, guidelines, supporting a robust and effective design practice will be tested and validated by practical application in pilot projects with companies and workshops with companies and designers. Finally, the results will increase the knowledge and contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy, aligned with the needs of the society, today and in the future.
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