Sustainable Product Design

Last night I attended Net Impact Boston’s Sustainable Design panel hosted by Dassault Systems. The panel was moderated by Asheen Phansey, North American Sustainability Leader and Sustainability Product Manager at Dassault Systemes. Panelists included Johanna Jobin, Sustainability Manager at EMD Millipore; Peter Girard, GaBi Product Manager at PE International; and Dr. Matthew Gardner, Director at Sustainserv. To be honest, I didn’t learn anything new about PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) through the lenses that I am familiar with: LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) or PDD (Product Design and Development.) However, it was the specific stories that resonated most with me. I won’t disclose specifics regarding the clients or projects of the various firms, but I will highlight the over arching theme that often there are conflicting stories told by what one organizational function requests and what the data show. The panelists all agreed that more often than not a rough LCA is enough to generate actionable results. The 80-20 rule in effect.

After the panel, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a few people I had met at previous Net Impact Boston events (Most recently the Brewing sustainably event at Mead Hall.) Additionally, I met Lori Van Dam, President at PlanetTran, which was the first transportation service run with an entirely hybrid fleet. It turns out they are neighbors with Night Shift Brewing, who were recently featured in Edible Boston, and are neighbors with another Brewery, Idle Hands, who spoke at the Net Impact Boston Brewing Sustainably event. I do hope that these three Everett businesses could host a sustainability themed party soon. Furthermore, Bully Boy Distillers are friends with Night Shift (Night Shift’s beer was served at Bully Boy’s 1-year anniversary secret pop-up speakeasy party at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.)

A few folks from Preserve Products¬†also stayed after the panel to enjoy the local apple wine from Nashoba Winery, and French Organic Red paired with local cheeses. Preserve has such great products, but no one buys them as far as I can tell. I recently returned my first toothbrush to them in the BOPP/PE sturdy plastic film packaging/mailer that they use to package their toothbrushes. In my opinion, what Preserve needs, are more corporate sponsors (like Stonyfield Farms.) Although I dont’ know the nature of the relationship with Stonyfield, I imagine there are other companies that have an abundance of #5 Poly Propylene that could be used in Preserve’s Products, as well as excess cash that they would hope to generate a return on an investment, as well as employees who consume toothbrushes and razors. Do you think that the time of providing for your employees is over? I think not.

Lastly, I met Mike Harrington, Business Development Manager at Intertek. Intertek’s consumer goods services include testing, inspection, certification, auditing, QA, and environmental impact solutions. Mike said his company was interested in joining Net Impact Boston as a corporate member. I hope they do join, certainly the Boston area has no shortage of footwear and apparel brands that are all increasingly being moved by market and government forces to understand and report their environmental and social impact.

Take a ride with PlanetTran!

Order sustainable personal care and kitchen products from Preserve!


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