© All rights reserved, 2020

A project by Hanne Viehmann | hanne.viehmann@network.rca.ac.uk



The Sustainability Fader

Design is an opportunity to deal with complexity. For example, designing consumer goods connects functions, features, qualities, and a lot more including the users', makers', and retailers' experiences. But the moment the project goes global and includes the sustainable segments people, planet and profit, the complexity can exceed to be difficult for the designer to make easy design decisions. A global overrun of industrial novelties brought some radical, environmentally and culturally impacting product solutions. Therefore, design needs to re-understand and re-connect this complexity for a sustainable future.


I developed the Sustainability Fader to make responsible design decisions for global innovative projects and to develop consumer goods into sustainable solutions. The Sustainability Fader is a new design tool to assess the sustainability competencies and sustainable future of consumer goods.

The Sustainability Fader is a tool to connect sustainability features of the segments people, planet and profit to product related design features.

A new design tool to assess the Level of sustainability of consumer goods

how does it work?


The tool translates the sustainability aspects of the SDGs and general product needs into 36 sustainability features. Five ranks indicate the level of sustainability from 0 (not sustainable) until 5 (excellent sustainable). The best possible sustainable solution would show a filled circle.

organising and communicating Sustainability


4 sustainability segments:

People, Planet, Profit and Product

The product in relation to the 3 P's, people, planet and profit, show the comprehensive understanding of sustainability.


36 sustainability features

Each segment is structured by 9 features which represent the main goals of the sustainable development.

The pillar People includes the social factors of the produced, distributed and disposed product with impact on its most important stakeholders. These include employees, families, customers, suppliers, communities, and any other person influencing or being affected by the consumer good.

Corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility explains the stakeholder’s positive impact on society and the environment. This includes sustainable motivation and awareness about production, consumption and disposal as well as public perception, ethical and philanthropic behaviour with focus on the general quality of life.



ownership & rights

The factor ownership & rights concerns the product’s impact on representing the stakeholder’s civil and labour rights as well focuses on the regulations of originality, ownership and property.



Visualising barriers and opportunities

Assessing the sustainability level illustrates the product's challenges as well as opportunities which both are relevant for innovating concepts.


Comparing design concepts

The visualisation of a new concept shows the changing sustainability competence of the product. The diagrams are easily understood and compared for an advanced and combined result.

Visualising and comparing design concepts of the showcase project Bhar

If you are interested in testing the Sustainability Fader for your product or new concepts, download the JPG and start assessing. Contact me for further information.