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Nottingham UK, 17-19 June 2015


Nottingham Trent University is pleased to be hosting the first international conference to examine Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) in the context of sustainability.

This groundbreaking event will include keynote presentations, discussion, debate and workshops, an exhibition and gallery of artefacts, and a gala dinner. The call for Abstracts is open until 8 September 2014 and registration will open on 11 November 2014.

Conference aims

We will be reviewing current research on how and why increased product lifetimes have become an important element in resource efficiency, waste reduction and low carbon strategies for sustainability.

Academic researchers, industry representatives and policy stakeholders will share knowledge and experience on the influence that product longevity has on environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Conference themes

PLATE will embrace a multi-disciplinary perspective including design, geography, anthropology, business management, economics, marketing and consumer behaviour, sociology and politics. The conference will explore the following themes, among others:

Theme one: Design Approaches to Product Longevity

  • Design for durability, design for disassembly (including reparability and upgradability)
  • Emotionally durable design
  • User-centred design, co- and participatory design, design for behaviour change
  • Systems innovation and transitions theory
  • Evidence for and against planned obsolescence

Theme two: The Role of Product Longevity in Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction

  • Product longevity as resource efficiency
  • The contribution of longer lasting products to waste reduction
  • The durability of materials
  • Material flows, embodied carbon and climate change
  • Product longevity as sustainable consumption and / or production

Theme three: Strategies for Product Lifetime Optimisation

  • Measuring product longevity
  • Lifetime optimisation models, tools and techniques
  • Lifetime extension, energy efficiency and rebound effects
  • LCA and product lifetime assumptions
  • Consumer information on product lifetimes

Theme four: Cultural Perspectives on the Throwaway Society

  • Disposability and the throwaway culture, historical perspectives on consumption and waste
  • Fashion and style obsolescence
  • Technological innovation and obsolescence
  • Material culture, user-object relationships, including product-user attachment
  • Social practices, grassroots innovation, community-based phenomena
  • Shopping and overconsumption
  • Longevity and the quality of goods, sustainable luxury, product aesthetics

Theme five: Business Opportunities, Economic Implications and Marketing Strategies

  • Innovative business models, product-service systems
  • Employment opportunities, social innovation
  • Product longevity as corporate social responsibility
  • Sustainable procurement policies, B2B decisions and product longevity
  • Implications of increased product lifetimes for economic growth
  • The circular economy, slow consumption, product replacement cycles
  • Product lifecycle management and life cycle costing
  • Price and brand as proxies for quality
  • Communicating and marketing longevity, product lifespan labels

Theme six: Consumer Influences on Product Lifetimes

  • Values, attitudes and behaviour
  • Product replacement decisions, disposal behaviour
  • Intensity of product usage, the potential for collaborative consumption
  • Repair and maintenance practices
  • Product life extension through reuse, repurposing and upcycling
  • Swapping, donating, second hand markets
  • Skills sharing, learning by doing, distributed competences and enabling solutions

Theme seven: Policy, Regulation and Legislation

  • Product policy, EU Eco-Design Directive
  • Scrappage schemes for cars and other energy-using products
  • Durability, repairability and spare parts in EU Eco-labelling criteria
  • Product standards and protocols
  • Guarantees, consumer rights, after-sales services

Theme eight: Open Theme

  • Topics relating to product lifetimes not addressed in other themes

Need more information?

Please email us or visit the conference website.