In simple terms,

Sustainability is the ability of a system to be sustained indefinately.

This system could take any form and could be beneficial or detrimental to the human race. However, the term Sustainability is usually used in reference to systems that are beneficial to the human race, and it is in this context that it is used throughout this site.

Sustainable Design can therefore be defined as:

“The design of systems that can be sustained indefinately”

and Sustainable Product Design defined as:

“The design of objects that aid the sustainability of the systems in which they operate”

These definitions highlight the fact that sustainability is about systems. This is because nothing exists in isolation; everything is part of a system. The result is that in many cases the job of a Sustainable Product Designer will reach beyond designing physical objects and into designing other aspects of the system in which the objects operate.

Sustainability is usually measured according to three primary factors (Environment, Society and Finance), referred to as a Triple Bottom Line approach.

Watch our video presentation for an introduction to Sustainable Design: