Early phases of product development are of great importance not only for the reduction of costs but also for the improvement of a products? sustainability performance. This particularly holds true for innovative lightweight concepts, since they require the application of new materials and the development of new practices and process, on which there is only insufficient data and experience concerning their sustainability aspects available. This lack of information and the high rate of uncertainty hinder the application of traditional sustainability assessment tools, such as Life Cycle Assessment, which moreover only focuses on environmental aspects and leaves out economic and social aspects. Since it was the aim of thesis to fully integrate a sustainability perspective into the product development process by facilitating Life Cycle Thinking and sustainability awareness among designers and engineers, also other Eco-Design and Design for Sustainability tools were considered only partially applicable for this purpose, why a new tool, the Checklist for Sustainable Product Development was developed. It is based on the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development methodology, and particularly focuses on early phases of automotive development.