Sustainable Design Awards Toolkit
Section 2 - Companies and Products
Download the toolkit sections 1 & 2 here.
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Individual people and groups have recognised for many years that the
issues surrounding sustainable lifestyles need addressing. Of course,
for companies to get involved, they must be sure of their economic survival.
This means adopting approaches that enable them to address the social and
environmental issues relating to their work whilst staying in business.
Thus consumer behaviour as expressed through purchases and the rules that
governments put in place to regulate markets are fundamental to getting companies
involved in sustainability.
Companies will respond to the changing market place, so the next section of the
Sustainability Pack outlines the factors that are influencing companies. Once a
company has made a decision to look at the products it makes and the services that
it delivers, people need to decide what can be done. For many years, the advice has
been 'reduce-reuse-recycle' and in that order of priority. Reduction in the
resources used to make a product (e.g. the materials used) or deliver a service
(e.g. the energy used) gives an immediate reduction in the associated environmental
impact. Every time a product is reused, either in its original or a modified form,
the environmental impact is further reduced. If it is possible to recycle the resources
at the end of the product life or once the service has been performed, then there is
further potential for reduction. A discussion of the range of meanings that
'reduce-reuse-recycle' can have follows the discussion of factors influencing
One way of getting started is for people in the company to analyse the products and
services that they currently deliver and see what issues and ideas emerge. A form of
'reverse engineering' perhaps. Some notes that might help you to conduct such a
disassembly exercise on a product conclude this section.