Life cycle environmental problems have been addressed by a number of strategies, but with unsatisfactory results, since solutions are searched for within the same paradigms that give rise to the problems. This work questions the vision of linear material growth and searches for ways to sustain economic growth without putting the natural environment under stress. The research explores the concept of product-service systems as a strategy for reducing life cycle environmental impacts. It shows how the concept has evolved, defines a product-service system with sustainability criteria and presents a framework for evaluating and developing product-service systems. The research also explores drivers, barriers and opportunities for companies to shift towards providing use value through product-service systems. The importance of public policy and normative institutions in promoting more sustainable consumption and production patterns is investigated. It is concluded that the PSS concept has a certain environmental potential dependant not only on how the system is organised, but also on the institutional and socio-cultural context.