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Ecodesign: a new industrial design for a new circular economy

22 November | 10:00 h - 12:00 h

More than 20 years have passed since the publication of the first ecodesign projects in Basque Country. In a context in which companies were beginning to abandon the so-called end-of-pipe solutions for waste minimization and prevention practices, in 2000 Ihobe published the "Ecodesign Manual: Implementation operation in 7 steps." This manual arose with the aim of offering Basque companies simple criteria and tools to take their first steps in the eco-design of products with a life cycle approach.

During all this time, there have been many Basque companies that have incorporated environmental criteria as another factor in the design of their products, in addition to the usual factors such as quality or functionality. An example of this are the more than 150 products included in the catalogue “20 years of ecodesign. Made in Euskadi” published by Ihobe in 2021 or the traveling exhibition “ZIRKULARRAK: Basque circular products exhibition” held in 2022 and 2023.

Today, ecodesign occupies a central position in the context of the European Green Deal. But the focus of ecodesign for a circular economy has expanded. At the origins of ecodesign, 20 years ago the concept of “Life Cycle Thinking” was worked on, a framework thinking about the different stages of the life cycle and how they could be improved from a single point. From an environmental point of view, closing the cycle once the product reached the end of its life through recycling. However, the circular economy requires taking a step further and thinking about closing the different cycles before reaching the end of life, incorporating “Circular Design Thinking”. This new thinking framework goes one step further, especially rethinking value retention and continuous loop closure. The goal is to completely close the flow of resources in multiple closed loops: by increasing the longevity of products, their reuse, or the recovery of parts, materials or raw materials.

While “Traditional Ecodesign” based on “Life Cycle Thinking” focuses exclusively on process optimization and reducing environmental impact, “Circular Ecodesign” also incorporates the maintenance and recovery of product value through the circularity of the stages.

To this end, Ihobe has renewed and updated its ecodesign manual, incorporating this new perspective. This new work is the one that will be presented today.


9:45 - Reception of attendees

10:00 - 10:15 - Role of Ecodesign in a Circular Economy. Rikardo Minguez. University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV)

10:15 – 10:30 - Legal framework for ecodesign: the European proposal for an ecodesign regulation for sustainable products. Jose María Fernández. Ihobe.

10:30 – 10:45 - Ecodesign and standardization: new European standards for measuring aspects of product circularity. Juan Carlos Alonso. 23 de setembre.

10:45 – 11:00 - New “Ecodesign Manual for a Circular Economy” by Ihobe. Elisa Toscano. Grunver Sostenibilidad.

11:00 – 11:45 - ROUND TABLE: the role of ecodesign as a lever for the competitiveness of Basque companies.


  • Carlos San José. Industrial designer and former president of EIDE - Basque Design 
  • Rikardo Minguez. Director of the Master of 'Circular Economy: Application to Business' at the University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV)
  • Ana Mezo. Responsible for SME support projects at Ihobe.
  • Jon Kepa Izaguirre. Management Director of A&B Biotechnology Laboratories

Moderator: Jose María Fernández. Director of Circular Economy at Ihobe.

11:45 - Presentation of “Basque Circular Hub. Center of advanced services for Circular Economy in the Basque Country” and guided tour.

12:00 - End of the day

Ensanche Building (Atrium)
Ihobe, Gobierno Vasco