Three dimensions of design for sustainable behaviour

Hyunjae Daniel Shin, Richard Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Designing products to be more sustainable is crucial if the UK is to meet the challenge of its ambitious new carbon reductions targets by 2050. How designers, manufacturers and service providers conceptualise behaviour is key to understanding how there will be widespread adoption of new products. The research area referred to as Design for Sustainable Behaviour has emerged to explore measures of reducing environmental impact through moderating the way people use products, services and systems. To date, though, characterisations of its strategies have been relatively one-dimensional, with an emphasis on environmental psychological approaches to understanding behaviour. This paper draws on a wider set of literature and academic disciplines to propose a conceptual framework that incorporates three dimensions: empowerment, information and motivation. This three-dimensional framework argues for a wider understanding of behaviour that encompasses feedback, participation and acknowledgement of the wider social and organisational context that behaviour is situated in. This framework is presented, the implications for theory and practice are explored, and a challenge is laid down to designers, academics and policymakers to consider how this framework can be applied, tested and further developed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4610
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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