Effizienz-Agentur Case Studies

Study on Ecodesign in NRW

In 2003 Effizienz-Agentur NRW (EFA) conducted in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerces in North-Rhine Westfalia a study on knowledge and experience on ecodesign. The study design was developed scientifically by the Fraunhofer Institut for Production Technology from Aachen. 400 companies actively participated in the study.

Even though the majority of the companies saw a growing demand for eco-friendly products in the Business to Customer market as well as in the Business to Business market, they did not have any structures or processes in place to include this aspects into the product development.

The study also found that product development was mainly driven by the general manager and company owner and their knowledge on state of the art practizes in product development was highly dependant on how long ago they had left University/qualified.

The procedures found in place were not structured and arbitrary. For EFA and its partners it was logical that this is the reason for the general low rate of new and successful product developments, an effect that was also shown in a lot of other studies. These studies also proved that more that 80% of all new products do not succeed in the market and even the vast majority of product developments do not even reach the market introduction phase.

Based on these results EFA deicded in alliance with its study partners that just providing training on ecodesign methods will not help to increase the number of eco-friendly products in the market. All approaches in this direction need to step in earlier and help the companies to firstly structure their product development processes. The increase in successful product developments will automatically also bring new eco-innovations into the market.