Product Sustainability Framework: Criteria for sustainable interior design

Dive into the five assessment categories of the Product Sustainability Framework and understand how it leads to greater sustainability in the world of interior design

Product Sustainability Framework
Source & Copyright by Finish Design Shop

Author: House of Eden

The Product Sustainability Framework (PSF) by Finnish Design Shop acts as a pioneering model that forms the basis for evaluating design products. This project was developed as part of a collaboration with a circular economy expert and represents a crucial part of the company's sustainability strategy. The aim of the Product Sustainability Framework is to provide design lovers with reliable and transparent information to guide their purchasing decisions towards sustainable products to steer.

In this article we take a detailed look at the five central categories of the PSF. We also explore how this evaluation model plays a pioneering role in promoting sustainable practices within the design industry.

The most important facts at a glance:

  • Finnish Design Shop's Product Sustainability Framework is a model for comprehensively evaluating design products.
  • It acts as a sustainability rating tool and is an important tool for buyers and suppliers to improve their sustainability status.
  • The PSF evaluates products in five categories: working conditions & employment, environmentally friendly production, climate impact, sustainable materials and circular design.

What is the Product Sustainability Framework?

The Product Sustainability Framework is characterized above all by its approach specifically tailored to the design industry. This enables the provision of product-specific information based on concrete data. The PSF therefore serves as a tool for sustainability assessment. It also serves as an essential tool for buyers to make selections that meet high sustainability criteria. At the same time, it offers suppliers valuable insights into their current business sustainability status and clear guidelines for further improvement.

Finnish Design Shop emphasizes its commitment to playing a leading role in the world of design and interior design to take over. With the aim of moving the entire industry to act more sustainably.

Product Sustainability Framework - Criterion

Source & Copyright by Finnish Design Shop

The evaluation criteria at a glance

The Product Sustainability Framework has defined clear criteria for the evaluation process, which are divided into three levels – Good, Very Good and Excellent. The evaluation is carried out by the Finish Design Shop based on information provided by the suppliers. Additionally, validation is carried out using our own data, expertise and experiences. The focus is on transparency as well as reliability to provide design lovers with a well-founded basis for decision-making.

The Product Sustainability Framework does not carry out checks at production sites. If there is no rating for a product, this may indicate a lack of response from the brand to the sustainability survey. Another reason could be that the product does not meet the selection criteria.

Product Sustainability Framework - Assessment in five categories

The Product Sustainability Framework subjects every product to a comprehensive sustainability assessment in five categories specifically tailored to the needs of the design industry. Each category is divided into three levels, which become more sustainable in ascending order.

1. Working conditions & employment

The first category focuses on the social aspects of production. From level 1 to level 3, there are demands for equality between employees, fair pay and the creation of safe working conditions. Commitment to the United Nations Global Compact at Level 1 sets the tone for ethical standards. Level 2, on the other hand, requires systematic efforts towards integration and well-being workplace. Whereas at the 3rd level, certification of the direct suppliers must take place. This approach ensures that not only basic standards are met, but also continuous improvements and higher levels of quality are strived for.

2. Environmentally friendly production

The second category focuses on ecological responsibility throughout the entire production chain. Level 1 places emphasis on resource-saving water use and sustainable handling of product returns. Level 2 involves monitoring emissions from direct suppliers and emphasizing environmentally friendly practices in their packaging materials. Level 3 highlights commitment to nature and ecosystems by promoting initiatives such as reforestation and the elimination of harmful chemicals.

3. Climate impacts

The focus here is on the manufacturer’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Stage 1 requires identification and reduction of direct emissions and carbon impact of the product. Level 2 goes one step further by involving participation in external climate projects and deployment of low-carbon transportation . Whereas stage 3 relies on a complete switch to renewable energy in production and a carbon-neutral or negative product. This progressive assessment promotes a continuous reduction in environmental impact.

Product Sustainability Framework criterion

Source & Copyright by Finnish Design Shop

4. Circular materials

This category evaluates the sustainability of the materials used in the product. Level 1 emphasizes responsibly sourced as well as sustainable materials. Level 2, on the other hand, favors circular economy materials that can be recycled and reused at the end of their life cycle. The 3rd level relies on innovative solutions and demands the highest standards in innovation, responsibility and circular economy.

5. Circular design

The final category assesses the products based on their suitability for the circular economy. Level 1 requires timeless design and durable materials. Level 2 emphasizes durability, maintainability and easy recyclability. The 3rd level additionally highlights products that fully comply with the principles of the circular economy. This evaluation approach requires manufacturers to not only design products that are sustainable, but also to consider the entire lifespan of a product and ensure that it lasts several life cycles .

How the sustainability level is determined

The sustainability assessment is based on 69 questions that are answered directly by the suppliers. Finish Design Shop validates the sustainability data determined. Each product receives a sustainability rating that enables comparison with other products. It is important to emphasize that the PSF is not an official certificate or industry standard, but a unique instrument with specific criteria for sustainable design.

Product Sustainability Framework_criterion

Source & Copyright by Finnish Design Shop

Unique Product Sustainability Framework approach

Finnish Design Shop's Product Sustainability Framework provides a clear and comprehensive assessment of design products that goes far beyond what many traditional sustainability standards offer. By applying this framework, consumers can make informed decisions and encourage manufacturers to reach higher sustainability standards . It shows the way to a more sustainable design industry and underlines Finnish Design Shop's commitment to being a driving force for greater sustainability in the world of interior design.

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