What Are Sustainable Producers?
Sustainable producers will create the products of the future.
Imagine a future where there is double the population currently on the Earth, where finite resources such as water, non-renewable energy, raw materials are stretched to limit to sustain life as we know it. Without the Circular Economy rolled out and zero waste, the world will simply not have enough resources. Commodity prices will soar, products will get more expensive to create, decisions of prioritisation will be made on where to put our waste — build parks & houses or build landfills, and pollution will be rife with a toxic effect on our health and wellbeing.
Enough dooms day speak, the solution is to design sustainable products…
Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
Sustainable Producers are legends! The put a lot of effort sourcing, designing and creating products that are friendly to the environment by considering the impacts of the whole product life cycle. The well known term for products like these are called “eco-design”. Not only does eco-designed products achieve environmental outcomes, they also assist in reducing production costs over the long-term.
Sustainable Producers Consider the Resources Used and Manufacturing Process
It is important to note, creating a product uses water, energy, land and materials. Sustainable producers creating eco-design products help decrease environmental impact on the extraction of natural materials during the mining, harvesting, the clearing of land and land usage, water usage, decrease CO2 carbin dioxide emissions. During this manufacturing process, consideration is taken of any wasted materials that could be repurposed and contaminents generated will need to be processed with sufficient waste management procedures.
Sustainable Producers Consider their Supply Chain’s Environmental Impact
Although transporting products around the world may make economic sense if it is produced at low cost, when you consider the whole life cycle of the product by including the environment impact of the supply chain, it may not actually be cost effective at all. Sustainable producers seek to decrease transportation impact along with associated pollution of the distribution supply chain from factory to consumer. They consider product excess weight and space as factors that need to be minimised if possible. Large complex supply chains often produce climate changing carbon dioxide. Typically road and air are polluting, with rail and sea having lesser impact. Certainly, a network of Tesla Semi’s would decrease the carbon footprint significantly — Go Elon!
Sustainable Producers Care About How Their Customers Use Their Product
Traditional producers stop caring about products the moment they make a sale. Sustainable producers consider the full life cycle of the product, during use and what their customer do with it when it has reached the end of it’s life cycle.
During use, it is important to consider if the product requires extra re-fills, cleaning, maintenance, accessories, water usage, just to achieve what it is designed to do. These materials expended and their environmental impact during the usage cycle are considered by sustainable producers in the design of their product. The durability of the product is also a factor — Can the product life be extended through easy re-furbishment? Will the product survive passing seasons, styles or fads? How many fidget spinners are filling landfills at this moment of human history?
Whats Happens When the Product Life Cycle is Ending?
- Will the consumer dump it straight into the rubbish bin after 3 uses? (Android Phone)
- Will they love the product for 5 years using it everyday, then pass it on to their friend or second hand buyer so they can enjoy it too? (Apple iPhone)
*Apple fan here* :)
Will the product be sent to land fill, or will it be re-used/re-purposed/re-cycled? If the sustainable producer designed it right it will be the latter. Elements of eco-design keep the product alive longer in the consumer circular economy and help reduce environemental impact by making it easier to recycle. Other things like packaging are also considered, with some manufacturers providing a “take-back” program to collect end of life products and extract their raw materials to be re-purposed and re-manufactured.
So if you are a producer, are you doing it sustainably? What about the products you buy, are they gonna be in landfill, or be part of the circular economy?
Join us on our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to Sustainable Consumption and Production!
Have a look at our other posts in the Tradr Foundation Series!