Posted By Jeff Moad, August 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM, in Category: Sustainability
Manufacturers typically track and report their sustainability improvement progress in terms of resource savings and emission reductions. But what about the sustainability characteristics of the products themselves? What if manufacturers—and their customers—had an objective way to measure and compare the sustainability of specific product through their lifecycles?
Research from the University of Kentucky and other schools recently published a paper in the Journal of Industrial Ecology proposing a comprehensive model for assessing a product’s sustainability performance throughout its life cycle. The proposed Product Sustainability Index covers four life cycle stages: pre-manufacturing, manufacturing, use, and post-use. The paper also describes the hypothetical application of the model to two consumer electronics components.
Such a model could clearly be of use to manufacturers attempting to demonstrate the sustainability levels achieved by their products and to consumers attempting to compare products and their environmental impacts. But how realistic is it to think about applying a single model across a wide range of manufactured products?
Written by Jeff Moad
Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit