Organizational Responsibilities

In a company developing and manufacturing electronics, the typical product-related environmental issues could be the following:

  • Energy use during product life-time
  • Banned and restricted substances in the production and in the products
  • Materials use in products (including packaging material)
  • Securing optimal treatment of the products in the end-of-life situation
  • Using these issues as an example, this section looks into the implementation of Eco-Design in the organisation as an ongoing activity.

Considering these points, here a brief description of the responsibilities of each of these parts of the organisation:

Should set up the company’s general product related environmental policy, and in cooperation with Marketing and Development set targets for improvement in environmental performance of products (see ‘Environmental Metrics).
For every new product development or major revision of an existing product, environmental goals should be set up in the requirements specification, on line with other product attributes and performance requirements.

Should investigate customer requirements and market trends concerning environmental issues.
Should include environmental issues in the communication strategy, e.g. communicate to the customers about the products environmental performance, and what the customer can do to minimise the environmental impact of the products.

Should be trained in understanding environmental aspects of electronics, and applying Eco-Design guidelines.
Responsible for achieving the product related environmental goals set up by management (see ‘Development of Environmental Metrics’ and ‘Environmental Calculator’)
Should ensure, that raw materials, components and sub-assemblies fulfil requirements concerning official and company-specific lists of banned and restricted substances.
Before accepting new suppliers, the suppliers should either give a full material declaration on their product, or declare the specific content of substances mentioned in the lists of banned and restricted substances in their products.
Should set up environmental requirements for suppliers, e.g. about their environmental management systems and their preparedness to deliver environmental data on their products (see Customer Requirements / Market Demands).
Should secure that no substances on the official and company-specific lists of banned and restricted substances are used in the production.
Should provide feedback to the development team, e.g. concerning ways to minimise waste in the production by altering the design, or ways to make disassembly easier etc.
Should inform the customer about the environmental aspects of the products (e.g. energy use during life-time, energy savings features, upgradability, take-back possibilities etc.), and about the measures that the customer can take to minimise the environmental impacts (see Communication).
Should provide feedback to the marketing and development team on customer experience and requirements.
Should, if possible, specify shipment with transportation means having the least environmental impact.
Should advise the customer of upgrade possibilities and other ways to prolong useful lifetime of the product.
Should guide the customer as to when it, from an environmental point of view, would be optimal to exchange the old product with a new one, e.g. when an old product can be substituted with a new using considerably less energy.
Should ensure, that scrapped products are taken back or that the customer is informed about the optimal treatment possibilities.
Should provide feedback to the marketing and development team on customer experience and requirements.
Should ensure, that all relevant personnel are properly informed and trained, so they can fulfil their role
Should gather information about existing and upcoming legislation.
Should keep track of χχχ environmental performance of both own products and the competitors, and of state-of-the-art in Eco-Design.