Technological advancement culminating in a globalized economy has brought tremendous improvements for mankind in manifold respects but comes at the cost of alienation from nature. Human activities nowadays are unsustainable and cause severe damage especially in terms of global depletion and destabilization of natural systems but also harm its own social resources.
In this paper, a sustainability assessment method is developed based on a bio-inspired sustainability framework that has been developed in the project TRR 141-C01 “The biomimetic promise”. It is aims at regaining the advantages of societal embeddedness in its environment through biological inspiration. The method is developed using a structured approach including requirement specification, description of the inventory models on bio-inspiration and sustainability assessment, creation of a bio-inspired sustainability assessment model and its validation. It is defined as an accompanying assessment for decision support, using a six-fold two-dimensional structure of social, economic and environmental functions and burdens. The method is applied and validated in 6 projects of TRR 141 and its applicability is exemplarily shown by the assessment of “Bio-flexi”, a biobased and biodegradable natural fiber reinforced plastic composite for indoor cladding applications. Based on the findings of the application the assessment method itself is proposed to be advanced towards an adaptive structure and a consequent outlook is provided.