Nowadays, in order to face increasing competition, businesses must differentiate through innovation, but also crucially by positioning themselves with respect to environmental concerns, in order to improve brand image. SMEs are particularly plagued with a lack in human, financial and time resources to integrate such aspects to design. In this paper, we propose a gradual approach (short-, medium- and long-term) to implement an eco-design process in SMEs. This process comprises four stages: analysis, sensitisation, eco-design strategy and sustained improvement. A first experimentation, in collaboration with a SME (MulTiroir-Controlec), allowed us to integrate this eco-design process in the development of a new product range of hospital carts. We present the results of the product development as well as an experience feedback on the project; today the company integrates this eco-design approach in its strategy.
Keywords: eco-design, new product development, environmental aspects, sustainable process, knowledge feedback, SME