Speaking of eWaste and the ecological challenges facing the computer
industry, I’ve just posted a new ‘New Bottom Line’ column to the Natural Logic web site.

It Began With a Dot: Product Regulation and Future Markets looks at:

  • how the European electronic product take back and content directives are rippling through the industry’s supply chain;
  • why so many companies have been surprised, scrambling and resistent;
  • how they could have seen it coming — and can see what might be coming next — by looking through; and
  • what they can do about it — profitably.

An excerpt:

Some companies have embraced the inevitable, and are diligently investing time and
money in reaching goalposts that the EU is still moving. Hewlett Packard, for
example, has made “design for environment” a key part of product design
strategy, and has created a joint venture with mining giant Noranda to
field an efficient take-back system — mining the exceptionally rich
ores of modern society’s high tech detritus.

Others have taken a “do as little as possible, as late as
possible” strategy — a strategy based on a pervasive and deeply
wrong-headed assumption: that designing and delivering better, more
efficient, less toxic, more recyclable products would necessarily cost
more money and yield less profit. The bottom line impact of losing
access to the European market aside, the assumption is patently — and
demonstrably — false….

What can be done about it? Here are four steps to consider:

  1. Understand the drivers.
  2. Drop the assumptions. Face the facts.
  3. Design what works – before it’s demanded.
  4. Steer by the logic, not the thresholds
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