Thursday 19 June 2014

Sustainability as a business strategy: Ecodesign

More from AIMPLAS 2014 - Valencia...

Miguel Sibila of the Department of Sustainability and Industrial Valorisation at AIMPLAS observed that our environmental problems were the natural consequence of unrestrained economic growth.  This had been recognised as long ago as 1987 when the Brundtland Report made the case for capitalism giving social and environmental issues equal weight with economic issues.

The resulting sustainability movement began with prevention of pollution, moved to a focus on the environmental impacts of industrial processes and now encompassed the entire global environment.  In fact the production of green products had become one of the main economic drivers, and all consumers would now choose lower carbon footprint products in the absence of any price/quality disadvantages.  40% of consumers are willing to pay a premium.

Mr Sibila made the case for Eco-design or basing a product’s design on LCA,  because 80% of environmental impacts are fixed during the design phase.  

Ecodesign would involve:

  • ·         Minimising raw material use
  • ·         Improving energy efficiency and optimisation of any transportation needs
  • ·         Using natural products, recycled materials and biopolymers rather than petro-polymers.
  • ·         Making biopolymers from organic waste rather than foodcrops.
  • ·         Reducing waste by optimising packaging and its recycling
  • ·         Altering production processes to suit environmentally friendly materials
...and finally using certification and eco-labels to communicate with the consumer.

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