Innovation is the key to achieving sustainability. Without fundamental changes in the products, processes, and operations of an enterprise, sustainability exploration cannot progress beyond stakeholder dialogue.
Product innovation can involve a variety of approaches to product design that consider the full life cycle. These include enhancements in material selection, product architecture, packaging, energy efficiency, maintenance, and end-of-life recyclability. Radical improvements in eco-efficiency and social utility can result from disruptive changes in technology, such as a shift from conventional fuel to an alternative energy source.
Still more opportunities for sustainable value creation can be found by expanding the scope of exploration to include procurement, manufacturing, distribution, service, reverse logistics, and other relevant business processes. This enables product teams to evaluate the costs and benefits of innovative concepts in terms of their total impact upon the enterprise and its stakeholders.
We have supported the innovation efforts of companies in many different industries, including computers, automobiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products, and electric power. References are available upon request. Joseph Fiksel's pioneering book on Design for Environment is still used internationally as an academic text and business reference.
Eco-Nomics™ is a trademark of Eco-Nomics LLC since 2002