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New Bottom Line Volume 5.14 – Rating Your Company's EQE: A Design for Environment Checklist

In the months to come we’ll present additional checklists that can hopefully serve as guides and inspirations for profitable action. These checklists are not complete or universal solutions. Companies and industries are too varied, and the state of the art is evolving too quickly, for brief checklists to cover all options. And ultimately the most importance resource is the onsite expertise of your own staff and consultants.

Life Cycle Thinking
[ ] We systematically include EQE as a key factor in product and process design.
[ ] We consider the environmental impacts of our products and processes throughout their life cycle, including Extraction, Production, Distribution, Use, Disposal.
[ ] We have established a formal qualitative or quantitative life cycle analysis system for major products and processes.
[ ] We take “life cycle” responsibility by designing for efficient and economical disposal or take-back of our products at the end of their useful life.

Materials
[ ] Our design and/or procurement specifications favor the least toxic materials with minimal environmental impact.
[ ] We continually strive to replace toxic materials with less toxic alternatives.
[ ] We have established and implemented a “buy recycled” policy specifying recycled content in procurement of product feedstock, packaging, office paper, etc.
[ ] We purchase products and packaging with recycled content when available within a reasonable price differential.
[ ] We purchase products and materials that are easily recyclable at end of life.
[ ] We continually strive to minimize use of materials and energy in our products and processes.

Product
[ ] We emphasize durable, long-lived products to maximize customer value and minimize environmental impact.
[ ] We design our packaging to minimize materials and waste and to maximize reusability.
[ ] We design our products to be easily recyclable at end of life.
[ ] We strive to dematerialize our products by providing more benefit with less physical “throughput” of energy and materials.
[ ] We seek new business opportunities by replacing our products with services.

Value chain management
[ ] We provide our environmental quality standards to our vendors, and make environmental quality a factor in procurement and vendor selection.
[ ] We monitor our vendors for environmental quality (with checklists, audits or other means).
[ ] We work with our vendors and distributors to “design out” hazardous materials and improve overall EQE.

Process Design
[ ] We incorporate EQE criteria in facilities design.
[ ] We systematically identify opportunities to link processes (eg, cogeneration) for multiple benefits.
[ ] We systematically identify opportunities use wastes as feedstocks.
[ ] We systematically drive out waste of all kinds: energy, materials,
quality, time, and opportunity.
[ ] We conduct regular pollution prevention assessments of both new and existing processes, with an ultimate goal of zero “waste” (outputs that bring no revenue).

Systems and Strategy
[ ] We incorporate EQE indicators into our quality management systems.
[ ] We make DFE part of process of continuous improvement processes
[ ] We ensure open communication across design and engineering, production, sales and customer service organizations, to ensure that design is responsive to customers.
[ ] We actively link our DFE processes and core business strategy.

For additional resources on Design for Environment, specific information on any of the strategies discussed here, or Integrated EcoAudits that systematically assess EQE, contact Gil Friend and Associates.

(c) Gil Friend. All rights reserved.

New Bottom Line is published periodically by Natural Logic, offering decision support software and strategic consulting that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise.

Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is President and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc.

May be posted intact–including this notice–in any non-commercial forum.
Please inquire at “reprint_rights at natlogic dot com” before reproduction in any commercial forum.