The Cambridge Sustainable Design Tool Kit

The Cambridge Sustainable Design Tool Kit is being developed as part of an ongoing research project at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at the University of Cambridge. A central aspect of this project is the development of sustainable design reference and brainstorm tools which aim to provide a better understanding of how the concept of sustainable design can be more effectively integrated in design practice.


Following the 'Attitude to Action' concept the tool kit is designed to provide both a theoretical learning experience as well as action based support. To cater for this range of requirements, the tool kit consists of a series of individual components each of which has been developed on the basis of the latest research at the IfM.

On a theoretical level, the tool kit provides a set of presentations and conceptial frameworks. This helps the design practitioner to better understand the true meaning of sustainable design. On a practiacal level, different card deks support decision making in the early product development phase.

The tool kit's modular format allows for adaptation to specific project needs or for separate use of the individual tool kti components.

The Tool Kit


The tool kit has been developed for and tested in facilitated workshops in the design industry. Depending of the participants' needs, the workshop may serve different purposus.

On a practical level, the workshop facilitates the re-design of already existing products as well as the generation of entirely new design concepts. However, on a more theoretical level, the workshop also facilitates a better understanding of the implications of sustainable design on the design process. In this respect, the workshop may not only educate design practitioners, but also facilitate the communication between individuals and departments.

The workshop lasts between 2 and 4 hours and can include between 3 and 25 participants.



  • challenge the participants' preconceived ideas of good and responsible design.
  • communicate fundamental principles of sustainability in order to provide an appropriate reference point for sustainable action.
  • ensure a better understanding of the short and long term implications sustainable design thinking has on the development process of new products, services and product-service systems.
  • facilitate the design process by providing an extensive set of guidelines and examples.
  • deliver a clear line of action for the participants to implement after the workshop.


The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is part of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, one of the world's oldest universities and a leader in research and education. The IfM takes a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together expertise in design, management, technology and policy to address the full spectrum of industrial issues.

The research is undertaken in collaboration with companies, ensuring its relevance to industrial needs. Thereby, the IfM's activities take place in an innovative structure that integrates research and education with practical application in industry.




The tool kit has been developed by Bernhard Dusch,
Nathan Crilly and James Moultrie who are members of
the Design Management Group at the Institute for
Manufacturing (IfM). Please contact us if you are
design researcher or a design practitioner interested in
this tool kit or in participating in our study.

Bernhard Dusch
Institute for Manufacturing
University of Cambridge
17 Charles Babbage Road
United Kingdom

tel: +44(0)1223 764473
fax: +44(0)1223 464217