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Development of products and services

When developing products or services, you have a major influence on their impact on sustainability. By means of smart material choices, energy-saving solutions and functions that promote sustainable behaviour, you can generate real benefit for the user and the environment at the same time.

One of the most important factors in reducing a product’s impact on sustainability is to ensure that its useful life is as long as possible and energy consumption is kept as low as possible. The product should be able to be repaired, cleaned, and handled without breaking. You may also need to offer spare parts for components that wear or break more easily, or make it possible to upgrade the product. 

Offering services that provide access to products 

One growing trend, which is rooted in a circular economy, is to offer access to products through services instead of selling them. With arrangements like this it’s important to consider both the customer perspective and the sustainability perspective. The “servicification” of products is not necessarily sustainable, but it can be if it means that products are used for longer and more frequently. If you intend to rent products via a service arrangement, you need to consider how to make the alternative you offer more attractive to users than buying the equivalent product would be. 

Sustainable product labelling 

Product labelling of various kinds can help you to show off your product and get customers to specifically choose it. Labelling shows the customer that the product is eco-friendly, manufactured under acceptable conditions or healthy, for example.

You can read more about different product labelling here:
Voluntary labelling – the Market Surveillance Council (in Swedish)

Standards, certification and marking of products and services

Packaging

Making mindful choices regarding packaging for your product can reduce the environmental impact of your business. Packaging used by the business should be recyclable and not larger than necessary. 

The Trade Association Packaging Producer Responsibility (Näringslivets Producentansvar, npa.se) offers manuals to assist in designing recyclable packaging from four kinds of material: plastic, paper, metal and glass.
Packaging manuals on npa.se 

Producer responsibility for packaging

If your company brings packaging into the Swedish market, by law, you are an obligated packaging producer and have a financial responsibility to ensure that the packaging is collected and recycled.  

Producer responsibility for packaging on npa.se

Provide information about what the product contains

A product must not contain substances that are harmful to health or the environment, if this can be avoided. There is legislation regarding substances that may and may not be used, so you must check whether your products contain hazardous substances. You can do this by requesting safety data sheets from your suppliers, also known as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). You are responsible for informing your customers if your products contain hazardous substances and how to use them safely. 

You may also need to register your products in the Products Register of the Swedish Chemicals Agency. They hold information on chemical products and biotechnical organisms manufactured in, or brought into Sweden, and how they are used.
The Products Register on the Swedish Chemicals Agency website

Below you will find additional information if you wish to delve deeper into product and service development. For example, a link to the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation's sustainability guide for product development. At the Swedish Consumer Agency, you can learn more about how different products affect the environment. There are also questions to consider specifically for this area.

All the questions from the sustainability pages are collected here.

Questions to consider for developing your sustainability work