RESULTS from a four-year study by the Design Innovation Group of the Open University suggest that Greener product design leads to increased sales.
The study investigated product design in 16 British and overseas companies and found financial success linked to the Greening of products.
Dr Stephen Potter, a member of the research team, says: “An important finding is the strong role that small companies play in introducing more innovative Green products, often aimed at niche markets like eco-friendly lighting, paint and furniture.”
Most of the projects studied were clearly successful, says Dr Potter. “Given the number of projects, we need to be cautious about the financial details,” he says. “But in small firms, the launch of a new Green product or the Greening of an old one gave an average sales rise of almost 200 per cent a year.”
In larger firms, the Greening of established products led to mean sales increases of between 23 and 73 per cent per year.
Dr Potter cautions: “If you have a well designed product giving performance, quality and value, going Green will boost sales, especially in export markets. But Green products need to be good as well as environmentally friendly.”
Another member of the research team, Mark Smith, is further exploring the commercial impact of designing and developing Green products.