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

SM named Smart Innovator in Verdantix Product Stewardship Solutions report

By Sustainable Minds on January 18, 2016

Sustainable Minds was featured as a provider of voluntary product stewardship solutions (vs. compliance-based solutions) along with 7 other companies including industry staples PRé Sustainability, Quantis International and thinkstep.

Verdantix defines a product stewardship solution as: “Software and services that enable firms to identify, report, manage and minimize the negative environmental, health and safety impacts associated with the manufacture, composition, distribution, use and disposal of a physical product for the purpose of meeting compliance requirements and supporting voluntary action.”

They further define voluntary product stewardship as focusing mainly on LCA and ecodesign, which are necessary to long-term global sustainability. Verdantix finds the solutions in this space tackle challenges including:

  • Understanding and optimizing increasingly complex product life cycles
  • Engaging all internal stakeholders involved in a product’s lifecycle, not just those that design it
  • Supporting eco design teams
  • Identifying supply chain hot spots
  • Identifying where the value lies in voluntary product stewardship
  • Effectively communicating the product sustainability message to non-experts

[Note: in October 2009, Sustainable Minds was the first to bring an ecodesign + LCA software solution to product development teams. Sustainable Minds Introduces First Web-based, On-demand Life Cycle Assessment Software for Greener Product Design]

A recurring theme Verdantix came across while preparing the report was the difficulty of effectively communicating voluntary product stewardship benefits and accomplishments, both internally and externally. Too often, reduction in a product’s water or carbon footprint is buried deep within sustainability reports or in detailed EPDs and LCA reports, and neither are readily seen nor understood.

Verdantix went on to showcase another Sustainable Minds industry first: “Sustainable Minds has developed the SM Transparency Report™, its brand of EPD, to fix this. The tool showcases the EH&S performance of products in three concise pages: a performance dashboard, a page for LCA results and interpretation, and a page specifically describing what a manufacturer is doing in a given lifecycle stage to improve a product’s environmental performance. This aligns with the launching of the first Program Operator Consortium by ASTM International, ICC Evaluation Service, NSF International and Sustainable Minds, to promote the use of and add value to LCA reports and EPDs by making the final output and associated communication much more standard and simple.”

Report overview:
Product stewardship, the concept of anticipating, addressing and mitigating any negative environmental or health and safety impacts that a product might have at any point in its life cycle…In the more recent past – 30 years or so – product stewardship has become much more complex, leading to new challenges for any firms that manufacture, distribute and sell physical products around the globe. In response, a wide variety of solutions have been developed to help firms cope. This report helps decision-makers and executives understand the issues that firms are grappling with at present, issues that will appear in the future, and which solutions, both software and services-based, may be the best-suited to help them overcome those issues.

Learn more about the Smart Inovators: Product Stewardship Solutions report >