Sustainability is no longer a “trend” that corporations can ignore. In a recent survey, international accounting firm KPMG reported that 93% of the world’s largest 250 companies no publish annual sustainability reports.
Gartner asserts “that, in 2014 and beyond, an increasing number of organizations will view sustainability as a strategic issue to reduce the risk that affects how, where and with whom they do business; what business model they will follow; and how much value they will generate. Critical enablers for unlocking much of that value are information and communication technology (ICT) and associated services — which range from compliance and reputational risk mitigation to a positive impact on brand, operational efficiency, innovation, and the opportunities to benefit or profit from the ever-changing environment for sustainability-related products and services.”
Benefits from Implementing Sustainable NPDI
- Reduce production losses
- Reduce waste
- Improved packaging
- Shortened supply chain
- Increased brand confidence and customer loyalty
4 Steps to More Sustainable Products
How do you effectively manage a more sustainable New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI)?
Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) analyzes the product’s sustainability through quantifying environmental impacts.
1. Start from the beginning.
Many companies focus on creating more sustainable packaging, but the LCA should actually begin at the initial product ideation (concept stage).
Anne Roulin of Nestlé explains, “We’re the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods company and a sizeable part of our contribution to environmental sustainability depends on our ability to evaluate the impacts of our products from the moment we begin to design or redevelop them.”
2. Ensure you have the correct data.
Analytics will only be as accurate as the data you provide. Evaluate your current data harmonization practices and include vendor specifications. You can also purchase databases that will provide missing sustainability attributes.
3. Analyze more environmental impacts.
Nearly everyone understands the concept of a Carbon Footprint, which has a limited focus. A new analysis standard, Product Environmental Footprint, expands the limited focus to include multiple indicators, including:
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Water consumption
- Non-renewable energy and minerals
- Impacts on ecosphere
- Land use
- Mineral resource depletion
4. Provide more effective views for all team members.
While the analysis behind LCA requires significant expertise, the results should be something that all NPDI team members can understand. Your R&D team do not need to become experts in LCA. Instead, they need to have clear indicators on how sustainable a product is and what they can do to improve it.
LCA tools can augment your current Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) efforts, but these must integrate successfully with your supply chain, ERP system, and PLM software.