Ecoproduct for Youth

Development of a method for sustainability assessment of products for young people. Becoming aware of the consequences of our consumption activities and tracking product features

Features like price, functionality, design, and image of a product mainly influence our purchase decisions. The effects a product has on its environment, e.g. during its usage or referring from production processes, are rarely considered – respectively, there is no information available. For a holistic sustainability assessment, environmental as well as economic and social aspects of products have to be considered. Therefore, a platform for sustainability assessment of products has been developed, where consumers themselves have the possibility to evaluate and compare products with an easy to use method.

The platform has been made accessible for a new target group within the Sparkling Science project in cooperation with three high schools. Young people are the customers and decision makers of the future. Although their financial means are limited, they already present an important consumer group.

“Ecoproduct for Youth” aimed at winning the target group of young people for sustainability concerns. The platform has been extended with information material and communication tools and adapted for the consumer behaviour and special needs of the target group. This also comprised the redesign of the platform and the creation of a separate platform which was accessible to the involved school classes during the project and to the public at the end of the project in December 2009. Within the project, pupils had to assess textile and electronic products along the whole life cycle in terms of sustainability. Questions concerning the ecological, economical, and social impacts of real products had to be answered and evaluated. This comprised some research activity about the characteristics of and critical views on the chosen products. Such a knowledge base enabled the young consumers to include sustainability thoughts into their purchase decision of every day goods.

The theoretical basis of the assessment method has been used for developing criteria for a sustainability label, which could present a guideline for concrete application in industry. A label created for young people combined with an attractive image might raise the awareness and demand for sustainable products within the target group. This presents a further step towards enhancing the sensibility of the future decision makers and customers.

This project has been completed.