ISO Report on Merging Business and Environmental Goals

The convergence of environment-friendly products with company profits is furthered by a new ISO technical report. ISO/TR 14062,Environmental Management – Integrating Environmental Aspects Into Product Design And Development, will enable organizations to identify the likely effects on the environment of their future products and make effective decisions during the design and development stages to improve their environmental performance.

“More organizations are coming to realize that there are substantial benefits in integrating environmental aspects into product design and development,” said Dr. Kun-Mo Lee, convenor of the ISO working group that developed the report. “Some of these benefits may include: lower costs, stimulation of innovation, new business opportunities, and improved product quality.”

ISO/TR 14062 describes concepts and current practices relating to the integration of environmental aspects throughout the six typical stages of the design and development process: planning, conceptual design, detailed design, testing/prototype, market launch, and product review.

All goods and services have an environmental impact in all phases of their life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials, via production packaging and use, to disposal and recycling. ISO/TR 14062 provides a systematic framework for anticipating and solving problems, while allowing the flexibility to make changes and improvements along the entire design and development process. It also aims to promote creativity and maximize innovation and opportunities for the environmental improvement of goods and services.

For example, water or energy consumption during the “use stage” of a home appliance may generate the greatest environmental impact of any stage of the product’s life. Improving the efficiency of water or energy use as part of product design and development can reduce the environmental impact of these products.

One of the most prominent features of ISO/TR 14062 is the emphasis of management on the success of the integration activities. The technical report recognizes that management decisions will determine the framework and targets of the program, the level of support the work will receive, and the degree of optimization the program will achieve.

The report is aimed at all those involved in the design and development of all types of products – product developers and designers, experts from marketing, production, environment, procurement, service personnel, and customer representatives – in all types of organizations, regardless of size, location and complexity. It is written for those directly involved in the process of product design and development and for those responsible for the policy and decision-making process.