Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Inês Sousa

Sustainable Minds

Inês Sousa has a track record of connecting product design and engineering with sustainability. In 2007, Inês co-founded Sustainable Minds, a software and information services company enabling product design organizations to create innovative and sustainable products. The company's mission is to bring sustainable product design into the mainstream in an accessible, empowering and credible way.

For her doctoral dissertation, Inês created a new approach based on machine learning algorithms to allow companies the timely incorporation of environmental assessment and lifecycle thinking up-front in their product development cycles. While at MIT she sparked relationships and managed collaborative work between the MIT CADlab, leading manufacturing and design companies, and European academic institutions. She worked with a number of companies, including Ford Motor Company, Scania (Södertälje, Sweden), Polaroid and Pininfarina (Torino, Italy), advising senior management and working in multi-disciplinary product design groups towards a systems approach that integrates environmental performance evaluation of product concepts with business goals and regulatory requirements.  Inês also integrated workshops, round tables and open discussions with the MIT Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS) partners – academia, industry, government and civil society – as an active contributor to AGS initiatives putting forward methods and tools to support technology, policy design and education.

Prior to co-founding Sustainable Minds, Inês lead the knowledge management and intellectual property division at YDreams, a technology company headquartered in Portugal that is focused on the creative use of interactive media, location-based services and augmented reality. Previously, she worked with J. Ottman Consulting in New York City, a pioneer company in Green Marketing and Eco-Innovation, and was an independent consultant for Tellus Institute in Boston in a project spurring sustainable business practices in Mozambique. In addition, Inês has been volunteering for a number of environmental and community development non-profit organizations in the US, Brazil and Kenya.

Inês has published in a variety of internationally refereed journals and conference proceedings. She is currently a member of the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) Certification Management and Technical Criteria Committees developing the management system and technical criteria for certification of Life Cycle Assessment Professionals in the US. Inês holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Design, and a Master of Engineering in Environmental and Water Quality Engineering, both from MIT.


Selected publications:

Sousa, I. and Wallace, D., “Product Classification to Support Approximate Life-Cycle Assessment of Product Concepts”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 73(3), 2006, pp. 228-249.

Sousa, I., Eisenhard, J., Wallace, D., “Approximate Life-Cycle Assessment of Product Concepts using Learning Systems”. Journal of Industrial Ecology vol.4 issue 4, MIT Press, 2000, pp. 61-81.

Sousa, I., Lagerstedt, J., Luttropp, C., Wallace, D., “Functional and Environmental Product Attributes for New Car Concepts”, Proceedings 5th Intl. Conference on EcoBalance, Tsukuba, Japan, November 2002.

Sousa, I., Wallace, D., Borland, N., Deniz, J., “A Learning Surrogate LCA Model for Integrated Product Design”, Proceedings of CIRP 6th International Seminar on Life Cycle Engineering, Kingston, Canada, June 1999, pp. 209-219.