Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability, by Ramon Arratia, Sustainability Director, Interface, provides us with a clear, concise challenge. The challenge is this: can we integrate full product transparency into eco-labeling resulting in obtaining a complete picture of a product’s design, manufacturing, sales and end-of-life environmental impacts?
As described precisely in Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability, developing eco-labels that include all of a products environmental impacts is the next generation of eco-labeling. It could not occur sooner given today’s dismal state of affairs. All we need to consider is that according to World Bank data, CO2 emissions increased 37% from 1990 to 2007 after we had widespread knowledge and capacity to mitigate climate change. This is an increase over the previous 17 years emissions from 1973 to 1990 of 31%.
In other words, after we agreed globally that climate change is a major global concern, we increased emissions 20%.
Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability shows us a path way forward. Let’s apply full product transparency within a life cycle analysis framework so that we no longer outsource our environmental impacts. According to in Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability, this can be achieved through product category rules within Environmental Product Declaration for products. Furthermore, as explained in in Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability, this is not expensive. In fact, it very inexpensive to develop a product category rules within an Environmental Product Declaration.
This matters to ecosystems as ecosystems globally from the Sahel to mangroves to tropical forests are under an assault driven by mismanagement and lack of concern of environmental impacts associated with goods and services. All this is driven by consumer consumption. So let’s integrate accurate scientific standards into consumer consumption. Imagine products with accurate full product transparency informing customers with facts about all energy, biodiversity, chemical, aerosol, nutrient, land-use change, water, and ocean impacts and sources of energy used in manufacturing, use, and end-of-life. Furthermore, as shown in Full Product Transparency: Cutting the Fluff Out of Sustainability, full product transparency can revitalize supply chain accuracy and eco-labeling effectiveness.
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Author: Ramon Arratia
Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, LEED AP, is a natural resource scientist and financial consultant.
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