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L'éco-conception : Quels retours économiques pour l'entreprise?

Ecodesign is a method of designing products (goods and services) that takes into account their impact on the environment at all stages of their life cycle so as to minimize them. In order to promote ecodesign, it is necessary to see if it is profitable for the enterprises. Very little work has been done on this topic. This paper aims at filling this gap. We examine systematically, through semi-structured interviews, 30 experiences of ecodesign, 15 in France and 15 in Quebec (Canada). In particular, our results show that, in 28 cases out of 30, ecodesign has increased the absolute level of profits in the firm; in the two other cases, the impact was neutral. Moreover, in 11 cases out of 30, we find that the profit margin of the ecodesigned product was greater than that of a product designed in a traditional fashion. We also notice that, in general, the French cases were a bit more profitable than the Quebec cases. We have also investigated other positive benefits for companies involved in ecodesign, but that are more difficult to quantify, such as better creativity or more mobilized workforce. Many firms that we studied have been able to enjoy such benefits.
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