Design for Environment: Innovating to Compete
Table of Contents
- Drivers and Adoption
- Context and Benefits
- Final Remarks
- Annex I
Sustainable development is becoming a guiding objective of economic and technological advancement as individuals and firms grow more aware of and concerned about their impacts on the environment. Design for Environment (DfE) is one aspect of this overarching objective of sustainable development. DfE focuses on improving environmental impacts over a product life cycle by incorporating environmental considerations into product design. In today’s complex business environment, the extent to which firms use DfE practices is a key determinant of their competitiveness.
Industry Canada has partnered with the Design Exchange (DX) and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) to review this valuable service business function. Drawing from a survey and intelligence from industry, and using economic analysis from Industry Canada, this industry–government partnership has produced the first assessment of DfE usage by Canadian design service providers and their business partners. This unique analysis is intended to help Canadian product design and development executives as well as decision makers understand current trends and recognize the advantages of adopting DfE practices to improve business competitiveness.
Design for Environment is a valuable activity that enables Canadian firms to improve their business competitiveness on many levels.
- Best–in–Class (BiC)Footnote A firms are able to better differentiate their products, increase sales, and access foreign markets.
- Main DfE business drivers include corporate responsibility, need for product differentiation, customer demand for environmentally friendly and energy efficient products, and regulatory compliance.
- Firms are using several DfE strategies including: design for resource and emission efficiency; design for recyclability, disassembly, and environmentally friendly disposal; and design for reduced packaging.
- Small– and medium–scale businesses have difficulty financing DfE related investment, lack the knowledge to implement DfE practices, and are less aware of the business benefits.
Approach and methodologyThis report is based on a collaborative undertaking between the DX research committee, the CME, and Industry Canada’s Service Industries and Consumer Products Branch. The DX research committee and the CME defined industry needs, drivers, and metrics and offered valuable insights from an industry perspective. By using information from industry partners and international market research organizations, and by applying unique economic models developed in-house, Industry Canada provided the overall analysis and brought together all the components needed to produce Canada’s first Design for Environment report with competitive performance parameters.
- Footnote 1
Best-in-Class (BiC) firms are defined as businesses who achieve positive results in two of the main environmentally specific activities: improved product environmental impact and energy efficient distribution practices.
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