Contemporary design assumes and employs a highly diverse range of materials, skills and technologies to create new products for production. A close consideration of the relationships and characteristics of this multifaceted design and production system can help designers better understand the social and environmental implications of current practices, and help move us in constructive and positive directions for change. Academic researchers are able to take the long view on such change, they can analyse the existing situation and suggest beneficial possibilities for the future. This discussion takes such a view by bringing together design research, systems thinking and product design explorations. From this, we have developed a fresh approach that we have termed ‘integrated scales of design and production for sustainability’ (ISDPS). This integrated approach was first proposed by Walker in 2000. Since then the concept has been developed and elaborated upon (Dogan and Walker, Restoring Local Scale: Rethinking the Company Structures for Sustainable Product Design. Sustainable Innovation Conference 3, October 26–27, Stockholm, Sweden). This present discussion focuses on the feasibility and implications of sustainability of the ISDPS concept.