Using proximity in sustainable product design

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This research examines proximity as a new interesting strategy to include in the design of more sustainable products. Drawing from the construal level theory, we posit that the environmental sustainability of a product embedding a form of proximity to an environmental solution in its design will be perceived as more concrete and will trigger higher prosocial product experience. To test this assumption, we used spatial proximity by manipulating the location from where the recycled plastic of a bottle of dishwashing soap was reclaimed. Based on the responses of 130 individuals recruited from a panel of consumers, we found that product environmental sustainability is perceived as more concrete and prosocial product experience is higher when proximity is embedded in product design than when far distance or no distance are embedded in the product design. This paper contributes by investigating how product design itself can help to enhance the acceptance of more sustainable products and by applying the Construal Level Theory to the field of product design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Perspectives on Creative Intersections
EditorsE. Bohemia, C. de Bont, L. Svengren Holm
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherThe Design Research Society
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Design Management Academy 2017 International Conference: Research Perspectives on Creative Intersections - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 7 Jun 20179 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy
PublisherThe Design Society
ISSN (Electronic)2514-8419


ConferenceThe Design Management Academy 2017 International Conference
CityHong Kong


  • sustainable product design
  • proximity
  • concreteness
  • prosocial product experience


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