Towards True Product Sustainability

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Product sustainability is usually looked at from a business perspective with the goal to reduce product related risks or to differentiate the product from those of the competition - mostly with limited effects for sustainable development (SD). In light of the global sustainability challenges, we raise the question how products can make a significant contribution to SD? In addressing this question we analyze the evolution of the concept of product sustainability over time. This analysis is guided by two questions and it applies two different perspectives. The first question uses an analytical perspective and asks: “How have different product sustainability concepts been framed with regard to their contributions to SD and how have they evolved over time?” The second question uses a normative perspective and asks: “How do the product sustainability concepts in their different developmental phases contribute to SD?” We present a systematic analysis of the evolving perspectives of product sustainability which we group in three different phases and levels of development: from selective to holistic improvements (Product Sustainability 1.0), from better products to good products (Product Sustainability 2), and from private value to public value generation (Product Sustainability 3.0). In this evolution we perceive a development towards a model of “true product sustainability”, where the product makes a specific contribution to solving societal problems.
Authors Dyllick, Thomas & Rost, Zoe
Journal or Publication Title Journal of Cleaner Production
Language English
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SoM - Responsible Corporate Competitiveness (RoCC)
Refereed Yes
Date 20 September 2017
Publisher Elsevier Science
Place of Publication Amsterdam [u.a.]
Number 162
Page Range 346-360
Number of Pages 15
ISSN 0959-6526
ISSN-Digital 1879-1786
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Prof. em. Thomas Dyllick-Brenzinger
Date Deposited 31 May 2017 16:44
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:31


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Dyllick, Thomas & Rost, Zoe (2017) Towards True Product Sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production, (162). 346-360. ISSN 0959-6526

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