This is a little out of my usual reporting area, but still pretty cool. I’ve been a “conservationist” my entire life–and I think many of these principles go along with Lean methodology, efficiency and prudent cost reductions. So, check out this partnership.

Sustainable Minds, a greener product design software and information company, today announced a partnership with the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), the leading organization representing product, interaction, experience and service design, to advance the adoption and integration of ecodesign and sustainability practices in product design. The partnership will bring together software and information to educate, inspire, and ensure that product development organizations have the knowledge, tools, and value systems in place to support greener product design practices.

Greener product design means designing the whole product system from a life cycle perspective. Understanding what this means and how to design this way is the first step – and Sustainable Minds Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software helps bridge this information gap. The software enables rapid iteration and comparison of new product concepts, and provides quantified environmental performance information during the design process to help make design and manufacturing trade-off decisions.

“It’s the optimal partnership to catalyze meaningful change,” stated Terry Swack, CEO and co-founder of Sustainable Minds. “Our mission is to bring environmental sustainability to mainstream product development and manufacturing in an accessible, empowering, and credible way. Designers have the opportunity and responsibility to change organizations and culture through the products we value and use. Our partnership with IDSA allows us to deliver our ecodesign and life cycle assessment software directly to this community, enabling them to develop new knowledge, skills, and competencies to integrate environmental sustainability into their standard product design processes. We are excited about our partnership with IDSA, and will be offering training and discounted subscriptions to all types of IDSA members – professionals, educators and students – to help make this happen.”

“At IDSA, our goal is to help prepare our members for the challenges that lie ahead, especially in the area of sustainability and ecodesign,” stated Clive Roux, executive director of IDSA. “We are excited to now have a more effective tool in place to help designers plan for sustainability and environmental impact assessment. Together, with Sustainable Minds, we can work to advance the understanding and practice of whole systems and life cycle thinking in product design processes. We look forward to working with Sustainable Minds to help us deliver greener product design education to our membership.”

Sustainable Minds’ life cycle impact assessment methodology contains a next generation dataset based originally on the Okala 2007 impact factors, a module in the Okala curriculum guide. The guide was developed under the auspices of IDSA, through financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Design for the Environment Program, Eastman Chemical Company and the Whirlpool Corporation. Okala has proven to be a valuable resource used by design schools across the world, as well as individual design firms and corporations. Click for more information on the Okala curriculum guide.

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