The state of the art in eco-design - Sustainable Design

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The state of the art in eco-design - Sustainable Design

    The ‘state of the art’ in eco-design in the Japanese

    electronics sector

    Final report

    st1 November 2002

    Professor Martin Charter

    Director The Centre for Sustainable Design The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College

    Professor Eric Billet


    Department of Design

    Brunel University

    Joy Boyce


    Corporate Environmental Affairs

    Fujitsu Services Ltd

    Clive Grinyer Director

    Design & Innovation

     Design Council

     John Simmonds

    Managing Director

    Crawford, Hansford & Kimber

     An initiative of

The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College

    ? The Centre for Sustainable Design, Surrey, GU9 7DS, UK

    The ‘state of the art’ in eco-design in the Japanese electronics sector

Contents Page

Executive summary 1


    1.1 Background 4

    1.2 Objectives 5

    1.3 Target organisations 5

    1.4 Content of the report 5


    2.2 Research and development 6

    2.3 Development of policy and legislation 7 2.4 Other initiatives 10


    3.1 Introduction 13

    3.2 Strategies and action plans 13 3.3 Organisational integration 14

    3.4 Knowledge and learning 15

    3.5 Use of eco-design tools 15

    3.6 Green procurement and supply chain management 16 3.7 Environmental accounting and performance 18 3.8 Design, manufacturing, materials and recycling 18 3.9 Markets and marketing 18

    3.10 Communications and reporting 19

    4 DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 20 4.1 Analysis and conclusions 20

    4.2 Recommendations 23

ANNEX 1: Company initiatives 24

    ANNEX 2: Discussion questions and notes 31

    ANNEX 3: References 41

    ANNEX 4: The Mission team 42


    The ‘state of the art’ in eco-design in the Japanese electronics sector

Executive summary

During July 8-12 2002 a mission to Japan was undertaken to investigate the „state of the art‟ of eco-design in the

    Japanese electronics sector. The mission was sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with support from the British Embassy (Tokyo) and the Production Engineering Research Association (PERA). The team for the mission consisted of representatives from The Centre for Sustainable Design (at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College), Brunel University, Fujitsu Services (UK), the Design Council and Crawford

    thHansford & Kimber. On 8 July, the mission made a presentation at the British Embassy in Tokyo to over fifty companies and other organisations. Visits were then organised to the following organisations: Matsushita Electric (National Panasonic), NEC, Mitsubishi Electric, Sony, Ricoh, Hitachi, IBM, University of Tokyo, Ministry of Economy Trade & Industry (METI) and Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organisation (JIDPO).

Key findings

The environment an R&D priority

    Japan is going through significant economic and societal change. In spite of economic difficulties R&D continues to be regarded as essential for business and national competitiveness:

    ; Japanese companies and the government place more of an emphasis on R&D compared to the UK ; Industry leads R&D with 80% of spend

    ; Environment is one of the four key R&D priorities in the government-funded science and technology (S&T) plan ; In the past it was not normal for universities to collaborate with business but this is beginning to change and

    there have been some joint projects in the area of eco-design.

Development of a ‘Recycling Oriented Economic System’ – policies and new legislation

    Japan has been developing a legislative structure geared towards 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle); with the emphasis

    moving to the „front of pipe‟ or preventative, rather than „end of pipe „solutions to its waste problem (it has a severe

    landfill shortage). It has been moving from a focus on hazardous substances to new phases of greening, especially

    in the home appliance and electronic sectors:

    - Phase 1: Elimination of hazardous chemical substances

    - Phase 2: Recycling

    - Phase 3: Green new product development

    ; Since 2000 various laws relating to waste management and recycling have been enacted, or amended. These

    fall under four main categories:

    - Basic framework laws

    - Laws for proper waste management and recycling, including the Law for the Promotion and Effective

    Utilisation of Resources (LPEUR) which promotes 3Rs

    - Laws for promoting specific waste recycling eg the Home Appliances Recycling Law (HARL)

    - A law for promoting greater utilisation of recycled materials: The Green Purchasing Law requires

    government bodies to take a lead in procuring environmentally friendly products and materials. ; From an electronic perspective the initial focus of legislation has been on household appliance sector followed

    by office equipment

    ; The Home Appliances Recycling Law (HARL) seems to have been implemented relatively smoothly due to the

    existence of the „law abiding‟ society

    ; The implementation of the Green Purchasing Law (GPL) covering public procurement seems to be providing

    an impetus to the integration of environmental considerations into design engineering and therefore to

    development of greener products.

Responses by companies

    Japanese companies, especially the larger firms, appear to have responded positively to the new policy, legislative


    The ‘state of the art’ in eco-design in the Japanese electronics sector

and business framework:

    ; There seems to acknowledgement by companies that improved environmental performance is part of a firm‟s

    responsibility. There is also recognition of the mutual benefits of eco-efficiency (environment and economy) ; A number of companies visited have been establishing „end of pipe‟ environmental technology businesses.

    There has been substantial investment and development of home appliances and office equipment recycling


    ; Japanese companies in these sectors are placing more focus on green new product development with many of

    the companies visited having challenging goals over the next 5-10 years

    ; There are voluntary 3R initiatives for personal computers (PCs) for business use and photocopiers ; A range of green procurement initiatives have been implemented

    ; There seems to be considerable use of lifecycle assessment (LCA); however, the weaknesses of LCA do not

    seem to be acknowledged

    ; There is evidence of broader product-related environmental information systems incorporating data on

    materials, chemical, energy and packaging

    ; A standardised approach to environmental accounting appears to be evolving which is communicated in many

    corporate environmental reports. Environmental cost categories were defined by the Ministry of Environment in

    the late nineties

    ; Communications of product-related environment attributes seems to be increasing e.g. Type II labels; with

    possibly a push to increase the influence of Type III labels (LCA backed environmental information) ; Research into eco-services is in its initial stages which mirrors the rest of the world.