Sustainable Production

Sustainable development requires innovation towards radically dematerialized products, infrastructures and systems, as well as the change of consumption habits.

Increasing ressource productivity
When striving for improvements in resource productivity in terms of MIPS (the Material Input per Service-Unit), either lowering MI for a given S, or increasing S with a given quantity of resources can be applied. Both require technological as well as managerial personal adjustments and innovations.

Eco-intelligent Products
can be defined as competitively priced services and products (objects, tools, machines, buildings and infrastructures) that yield maximum possible utility - in terms of individual customers preferences - for the longest possible time, with a minimum of natural material, energy, surface coverage and dispersion of toxic materials - from cradle to grave.

This means that from a resource conserving point of view, designing eco-intelligent products, services or infrastructures requires to extract from each investment of natural materials the largest possible number of service units for the longest possible time span.

Product Service Systems (PSS)
These offer a combination of products and services to the consumer. Criteria of sustainable development shall be incorporated into such systems when they are set up. The establishment of PS systems can help to make production and consumption more sustainable.

Through its product and production related research SERI contributes to the development of eco-efficient products and services.

Project Areas

MIPS (Material Input per Service Unit)
Analysis of material inputs of products and services and communication of the concept to firms and the broader public.

Product Service Systems (PSS)
Looking at possible contributions of Product Service Systems to sustainable ways of production and consumption.

Ecological Information Society (EIS)
Sustainable development calls for an important reduction of the absolute use of resources. One possible strategy to achieve this is to use the potentials of the information society in combination with the right macroeconomic tools and challenging changes in lifestyles.


European Roundtable on Sustainable Production and Consumption, Bilbao, 12-14 May 2004

See also our pages on sustainable consumption

Want to learn more?

Long text version of the theme-description Production
[ pdf].

Related events

EU Regional Stakeholder Workshop on eco-efficiency






Mark Hammer

Five Rules for eco-intelligent products

  1. The number of service units obtainable from products ("service delivery machines") must be as high as possible during their entire useful life. Built-in obsolescence must stop.
  2. The life-long material input into processes, products, and services must be as low as possible.
  3. The life-long energy inputs into processes, products, and services must be as low as possible.
  4. The land use (surface coverage) per unit service must be as low as possible, from cradle to grave.
  5. The dispersion of toxics must be minimal.

Source: Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek. Das MIPS-Konzept. Munich: Droemer-Knaur 1998


Have a nice day - Your SERI-Team.

last update 26-Feb-2004