Product: Management and Development
Product: Management and Development
Original Research Article

The potential of design to build freedoms: a case study of design for sustainability in a scavengers association

Mariana Fonseca Braga, Eduardo Romeiro Filho

Downloads: 1
Views: 301


This paper presents a case study conducted at ASMARE (Paper, Cardboard and Reusable Material Collectors Association), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. ASMARE is a “scavengers” association that screens recyclable waste to sell it to recycling companies. The purpose of this study is to analyse the potential of the current practices of one sector of this organization, the Carpentry Factory, for sustainability. The Carpentry Factory enables workers to design and manufacture products from reused and recycled materials. This research demonstrated that fostering creative, design- and art-related capabilities can improve the results in terms of profitability and sustainability, adding value to the organization activities and outcomes, hence to the work of ASMARE members.


product design, ASMARE carpentry factory, sustainability


Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why nations fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty (1st ed.). New York: Crown.

Asprilla-Perea, J., Díaz-Puente, J. M., & Martín-Fernández, S. (2020). Evaluation of wild foods for responsible human consumption and sustainable use of natural resources. Forests, 11(6), 687.

Borchardt, M., Poltosi, L. A. C., Sellitto, M. A., & Pereira, G. M. (2008). Considerações sobre ecodesign: um estudo de caso na indústria eletrônica automotiva. Ambiente & Sociedade, 11(2), 341-353.

Brown, T. (2002, June). Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Calvo-Porral, C. (2020). Creating value from garbage: a marketing and circular economy strategy for sustainability. In G. Andraz, H. Carrasqueira, R. Pereira & R. Baleiro (Eds.), Dynamic strategic thinking for improved competitiveness and performance. Hershey: IGI Global.

Cannon, M., Thorpe, J., & Emili, S. (2020). ASMARE: informal waste workers engaging in municipal policy-making (Case Summary, No. 16). Brighton: IDS.

Checkland, P. B. (1981). Appendix 2: a workbook for starting systems studies. In P. B. Checkland (Ed.), Systems thinking, systems practice (pp. 294-297). Chichester: Wiley.

Comissão Mundial Sobre Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento – CMMD. (1991). Nosso futuro comum (2. ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Editora da Fundação Getúlio Vargas.

Commission on Sustainable Development – CSD. (1992, December). Agenda 21. The United Nations Programme of Action from Rio. Retrieved in 2019, June 23, from

Coughlan, P., & Coghlan, D. (2002). Action research for operations management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 22(2), 220-240.

Cross, N. (2001). Designerly ways of knowing: design discipline versus design science. Design Issues, 17(3), 49-55.

Crul, M. R. M., & Diehl, J. C. (2006). Design for sustainability: a practical approach for developing economies. Delft: United Nations Environment Programme, Delft University of Technology, November. Retrieved in 2019, October 18, from

D’Ippolito, B. (2014). The importance of design for firms’ competitiveness: a review of the literature. Technovation, 34(11), 716-730.

D’Ippolito, B., Miozzo, M., & Consoli, D. (2014). Knowledge systematisation, reconfiguration and the organisation of firms and industry: the case of design. Research Policy, 43(8), 1334-1352.

Dogan, C., & Walker, S. (2003). The Best of Both: A Study of the Feasibility of Integrating Scales of Design and Production for Sustainable Products. The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 3(3), 135-147.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532-550.

Fonseca Braga, M. (2019). Handling design support programmes complexity: an interpretative framework for barriers and drivers to introducing design innovation into MSMEs [PhD Thesis]. Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Milan.

Freitas, A. L. C. (2011). Design e artesanato: uma experiência de inserção da metodologia de projeto do produto. São Paulo: Blücher Acadêmico.

Freitas, A. L. C., & Romeiro Filho, E. (2005). Ademically supported social work for the development of handicraft skills: case study: the Pitangaporã Project. Product: Management & Development, 3, 87-91.

Gonçalves, J. A., Oliveira, F. G., & Silva, D. (2008). Dezoito anos catando papel em Belo Horizonte. Estudos Avançados, 22(63), 231-238.

Guérin, F., Kerguelen, A., Laville, A., Duraffourg, J., & Daniellou, F. (1991). Comprende le travail pour le transformer. Paris: Éditions de l’ANACT.

Jeswiet, J., & Hauschild, M. (2005). EcoDesign and future environmental impacts. Materials and Design, 26, 629-34.

Julier, G. (2017). Economies of design. London: Sage Publications.

Malinowski, B. (1976). Introdução: tema, método e objetivo desta pesquisa. In B. Malinowski (Ed.), Os argonautas do Pacífico Ocidental: um relato do empreendimento e da aventura dos nativos nos arquipélagos da Nova Guine Melanesia (Coleção Os Pensadores, pp. 17-34). São Paulo: Abril Cultural.

Manzini, E. (2007). Design, social innovation and sustainable ways of living: creative communities and diffused social enterprise in the transition towards a sustainable network society. Milano: Politecnico di Milano.

Manzini, E., & Vezzoli, C. (2005). O desenvolvimento de produtos sustentáveis: os requisitos ambientais dos produtos industriais. São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo.

McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD. (2020). How’s life? 2020: measuring well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Petrina, S. (2000). The political ecology of design and technology education: an inquiry into methods. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 10, 207-237.

Prahalad, C. K. (2005). A riqueza na base da pirâmide: como erradicar a pobreza com o lucro. São Paulo: Artmed.

Romeiro Filho, E. (2013). Design and craftsmanship: the Brazilian experience. Design Issues, 29(2), 64-74.

Santos, V. S. (2014). A trajetória de desafios, superação e sucesso entre a ASMARE, a Pastoral de Rua de Belo Horizonte e a Prefeitura Municipal de Belo Horizonte. Projeto InterAção, Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Retrieved in 2020, April 24, from

Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sorokin, P. A. (1964). Sociocultural causality, space, time: a study of referential principles of sociology and social science. New York: Russell-Russell.

Souza, C. C., Alves, L. L., & Romeiro Filho, E. (2019). Sustainability and cleaner production principles in micro furniture companies: two Brazilian cases. Product: Management & Development, 17(1), 52-58.

Teodoro, N. F. G. (2011). Contribuição para a sustentabilidade na construção civil: reciclagem e reutilização de materiais [Dissertação de Mestrado]. Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, Lisboa.

Thiollent, M. (1983). Problemas de metodologia. In A. C. C. Fleury & N. Vargas (Eds.), Organização do trabalho: uma abordagem interdisciplinar e sete estudos sobre a realidade brasileira (pp. 54-83). São Paulo: Atlas.

Thiollent, M. (1985). O processo de entrevista. In M. Thiollent (Ed.), Crítica metodológica, investigação social e enquete operária (2. ed., pp. 79-99). São Paulo: Polis.

Thiollent, M. (2007). Metodologia da pesquisa-ação (15. ed.). São Paulo: Cortez. 132 p.

Topcua, E., Altinoz, B., & Aslanc, A. (2020). Global evidence from the link between economic growth, natural resources, energy consumption, and gross capital formation. Resources Policy, 66, 101622.

Tukker, A., Emmert, S., Charter, M., Vezzoli, C., Sto, E., Munch Andersen, M., Geerken, T., Tischner, U., & Lahlou, S. (2008). Fostering change to sustainable consumpition and production: an evidence based view. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(11), 1218-1225.

Voss, C., Tsikriktsis, N., & Frohlich, M. (2002). Case research in operations management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 22(2), 195-219.

Walker, S. (2002). A journey in design an exploration of perspectives for sustainability. The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 2(1-2), 3-10.

Walker, S., & Dorsa, E. (2001). Making design work: sustainability, product design and social equit. The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 1, 41-48.

Wisner, A. (1987). Por dentro do trabalho, ergonomia: método e técnica (F. M. Gomide Vezzá, Trans.). São Paulo: FTD Oboré Editorial. Título original: Analyse de la situation de travail, méthodes et critères.

World Summit on Sustainable Development – WSSD. (2002, August). Global change global opportunity: trends in sustainable development. Johannesburg: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved in 2019, June 13, from

Xavier, A. F., Naveiro, R. M., Aoussat, A., & Reyes, T. (2017). Systematic literature review of eco-innovation models: opportunities and recommendations for future research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 149, 1278-1302.

Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: design and methods (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications. Zafarmand, S. J., Sugiyama, K., & Watanabe, M. (2003). Aesthetic and sustainability: the aesthetic attributes promoting product sustainability. The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 3, 173-186.

Submitted date:

Accepted date:

608c45f5a953952cbd677004 pmd Articles
Links & Downloads


Share this page
Page Sections