Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Life cycle assessment

The SM Transparency Report™ Program: A step change innovation in the PCR/EPD process

By Sustainable Minds on October 8, 2014

With Greenbuild just around the corner and interest in LEED v4 and product transparency increasing amongst manufacturers and their customers, there’s concern that building product manufacturers won’t be ready.

The SM Transparency Report™ Program is a step change innovation in the PCR/EPD process to standardize, harmonize and make product transparency reporting understandable and meaningful, it’s also faster, scalable, cost efficient and user-friendly.

It is based on these fundamental ideas:

The SM Transparency Report™ Program – The Genesis

By Sustainable Minds on September 17, 2014

A step change innovation in the PCR/EPD process to standardize, harmonize and make product transparency reporting understandable and meaningful. It’s also faster, scalable, cost efficient and user-friendly.

Now that environmental performance is a standard criteria in product design, shouldn’t greener be a standard part of how products are marketed?

We wondered in B2B marketing, why is there typically one document describing product features and benefits—and a separate technical document ONLY about the product’s environmental performance? Don’t manufacturers have enough product literature to manage already? And don’t customers already have too many pieces of disparate information to put together to make purchase decisions?

If environmental performance is to be operationalized into the way products are designed and marketed, it requires an integrated mindset, process and technology solution.

Webcast: Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace, Part 8: Using LCA to analyze and visualize possibilities

By Sustainable Minds on August 29, 2014

On August 28th, we held the eighth in a series of webcasts featuring educators from leading colleges and universities demonstrating how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. Life cycle thinking is now being taught across a wide range of disciplines. Learn how different programs are implementing unique approaches with a common e-learning solution. Professor Meo will share how he got started and the progress over 4 years, including the evolution of the curriculum and the impact on the growth of the program. We will also be learning how Dr. Bouldin introduced undergraduate business students to the complexity of creating everyday products and visualizing a sustainable supply chain.

Teaching life cycle assessment with Sustainable Minds: A discussion with examples and student projects

By Sustainable Minds on August 27, 2014

Mark Meo, Kelsey Bowman, Kayla Brandt, Madeline Dillner, Dylan Finley, Justin Henry, Kaylie Sedlacek, and Aaron Winner

Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019

Abstract
When the Department of Geography at the University of Oklahoma expanded its undergraduate degree options to include Environmental Sustainability in 2011, it was faced with the question of how should the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) core course be taught, and what aspects of LCA should it cover. In addition to the textbook selected for the classroom, it was clear that students would also need to get hands-on experience using LCA in a manner that reinforced and extended the themes taught in class. This dual challenge was resolved with the selection of a readable and easily understood text and the adoption of Sustainable Minds software for the conduct of student projects. In this paper, we describe the manner in which LCA is taught in the classroom and the important role that LCA software has played to help students acquire a working understanding of the merits of the technique as well as its limitations. Examples of student projects that were completed as course assignments are used to illustrate the scope of student interests and accomplishments.

SM Transparency Report™ Framework: Product group definitions - How to create, comment on and use

By Sustainable Minds on July 30, 2014

SM Transparency Report™ Program
Simplifying and standardizing product transparency reporting
Webcast recorded on Tuesday, July 29, 2pm ET

The increased demand for transparency and greener products requires a comprehensive solution. The SM Transparency Report Program creates a market-facing deliverable that does more than help your customers 'check a box.'

On our last webcast, we introduced the program's methodology, the SM Transparency Report Framework – a re-engineered product category rule (PCR) development process. Based on EN15804+A1 and in compliance with ISO 14040-44 and 14025, the framework provides a comprehensive LCA-based, time and cost-efficient, harmonized and user-friendly way to create product group definitions to enhance consistency in product transparency reporting.

The SM Transparency Report™ Program – The Launch

By Sustainable Minds on June 20, 2014

With the rollout of LEED v4 and the focus on product transparency reporting, there is confusion and anxiety in the building products industry around product category rules and environmental product declarations (PCRs and EPDs).

SM Transparency Reports were introduced at Greenbuild 2013, to provide manufacturers a new way to communicate the environmental performance of their products in an understandable, credible and consistent way.

Since then, Sustainable Minds has been developing its methodology to complete the program’s offering – the SM Transparency Report™ Framework. Based on EN15804+A1 and is in compliance with ISO 14040-44 and 14025, it provides a comprehensive LCA-based, harmonized and user-friendly way to create product group definitions (PGD) up front to enhance consistency in product transparency reporting.

Sustainable Minds is now launching the complete solution. The SM Transparency Report Program is the first comprehensive solution for product manufacturers to Design and Market greener products. It is an alternative to the PCR/EPD process with equivalent credibility, verification – plus much more.

NSF International and Sustainable Minds Partner to Accelerate Product Transparency Reporting

By Sustainable Minds on June 11, 2014

Sustainable Minds Transparency Report™ Program offers an innovative market solution to the growing need for product transparency reporting and verification

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sustainable Minds has partnered with NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organization NSF International, to provide life cycle assessment (LCA) verification and report certification for Sustainable Minds Transparency Reports™.

Sustainable Minds (SM), a software and services provider founded to operationalize environmental performance into mainstream product development and manufacturing,will introduce the complete SM Transparency Report™ Program to manufacturers and industry advocates through a webinar on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 2:00 pm EST.  Sign up at sustainableminds.com/weekly-webinar.

SM Transparency Reports, third party verified by NSF Sustainability and based on ISO 14044 compliant LCAs, are an alternative transparency reporting tool to environmental product declarations (EPDs). NSF Sustainability’s extensive background in certifying environmental reports and sustainable products and services provides additional credibility for the contents of the transparency reports.

Webcast Replay: SM Transparency Reports, a solution to the LCA/EPD/PCR conundrum

By Sustainable Minds on January 28, 2014

In response to market demand and LEED v4, three companies with a common mission to bring credibly greener products to the marketplace -- Sustainable Minds, TOTO USA and NSF International -- have introduced a new product for manufacturers to transparently report the environmental performance of their products.

TOTO Is The First Plumbing Manufacturer To Validate Its Products' Environmental Performance With New SM Transparency Reports

By Sustainable Minds on December 17, 2013

Company Innovates a Solution and Goes Beyond Compliance in Response to LEED v4's 'Building Product Disclosure and Optimization' Option

MORROW, Ga., Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TOTO announced today that it is introducing an innovative, new way to report product transparency that enables customers to earn LEED v4 credit for select high-efficiency toilets. Committed to environmental leadership that exceeds compliance, TOTO discovered that it was unable to comply with LEED v4's disclosure option to provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its high-efficiency toilets. The company could not do this because there is no Product Category Rule for toilets (PCRs define the requirements of EPDs for each product category). EPDs are required for its building industry customers to earn the highest number of LEED points for purchasing TOTO products. To solve this problem, TOTO, already using Sustainable Minds' LCA software to help it design sustainable products, turned to the company to help it solve this problem marketing.

Sustainable Minds' New Tool Adds Approachability to Product Life Cycle Transparency

By Sustainable Minds on December 17, 2013

via sustainablebrands.com

The first company to publish its product lifecycle information with SM Transparency Reports is leading plumbing manufacturer TOTO USA. The need for a new solution became evident when TOTO was not able to comply with the new LEED v4 disclosure option to provide EPDs, for customers to earn the maximum available product credits for purchasing selected TOTO products. The company discovered there is no Product Category Rule (which defines the requirements for EPDs of a certain product category) for toilets, just as there are no PCRs for hundreds of other types of products used in building and construction.