This project, funded under the EU Interreg IIIC Programme, aimed to use partnerships between small companies, local authorities, consultants and universities to educate industry in activities surrounding eco-design.

Successful Implementation of Eco-Design in SMEs (SIMPLE) was a Project run with Swedish Partners to share best practice from across Europe.

The UK aspect of the Project held business support, via SME engagement as the central focus, in line with the aims and objectives of the delivery plan. The engagement relied more heavily on direct knowledge transfer between SMEs and Lancaster University to develop specific products or processes within SMEs.

SIMPLE engaged with 10 SMEs in the UK, and a considerable number in Sweden over sustained periods, providing design optimisation for products that were either in existence or the early stages of development. A key focus of the Project in sharing best practice – as well as using online methods – was the promotion and organisation of events. This included international networking and dissemination events, Programme Conferences and Study Visits, all of which were resoundingly successful.

SIMPLE resulted in a Research Paper, entitled 'A transnational approach to the implementation of eco-design methodologies in SMEs', and was presented at the 5th International Conference on Design and Manufacture for Sustainable Development in July 2007.

The Project was part of TOWER, (Towards Sustainable Excellence by Innovating Regions) and was an INTERREG IIIC programme in cooperation between five European regions with the overall objective to share and improve methods and tools for sustainable economic growth, to encourage long-term collaboration, and to improve economic growth strategies and programmes.

Within the TOWER programme, interregional sub-projects are the tools for developing innovative strategies and methods through an exchange of experience and best practice between the partner regions. The programme focuses on four thematic components:

  • Strategies for sustainable economic growth in regions
  • Strengthened technology infrastructure in regions and transfer to SME's
  • Competitive and knowledge-based entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable SME's