From a business perspective, there is little point making environmentally sensitive products or services if they are not commercially viable. Yet there are commercial benefits in being ahead of the game. For example, the ethical stance a company takes inevitably contributes to its identity and reputation. More than that, in the long term, economic, ethical and environmental targets do coincide.
No firm, however adroit, can make money out of a poisoned population and a dead planet.
Giraffe advises on sustainable design, long term targets and future trends.
Since over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the product design phase, integrating environmental considerations early into the product development process is the most effective way of reducing their impact. There are a number of strategies a manufacturing company may take in considering its environmental burden.
Remanufacture – Extending a products life through reuse, repair and upgrade of core modules and components.
Reduce – reducing the material intensity as well as energy and water.
Redesign – Consider designing for durability and extending product life. Design for ease of recycling. Design for reduced toxicity.
Recover – Recovery is typically associated with the lowest form of environmental impact reduction above disposal to landfill. Recovery usually means energy from waste (efw). In lean terms recovery can also mean the recovery of waste energy during manufacture or use. For instance, an electric car that recovers energy when going downhill or under braking.
Giraffe advises on the best eco-design strategy for your business.
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The lessons learned by companies we work with present a broader provocation beyond legislative compliance, towards reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving product design and improving environmental performance across the entire lifecycle.
Can your company account for its impact at each stage of the lifecycle?
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ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTING OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Read about our work on ecological footprinting in TIME Europe.
Does your company know the impact of its product on the environment?
As part of the WEEE man initiative, for our client the RSA Giraffe developed a way to make an ecological footprint analysis of electronic products of mobile phones and computers. The web-based tool calculates a footprint – the amount of material and energy needed to produce a given product relative to that available on the planet.
The footprinting technique can be applied to any product or service. This is a great tool for understanding the life cycle impact of your company. Soon legislation will compel many companies to think in this way.