Visitors attend the TECHNIA PLM Innovation Forum to learn about, share, and discuss the current state of sustainable innovation. In recent years, we’ve discussed how organizations are reacting to consumer-led climate activism; which industries are lagging behind; and which industries are leading the charge with sustainable innovation.

The global lockdown in 2020 provided a glimpse of what the world might look like without fossil fuels, with some analysts predicting the beginning of the end for oil. Now, businesses are recognizing that climate change is a more significant priority than in previous years.

In 2017, an Enablon article outlined areas in which 5 key industries can advance sustainable development goals. The article referenced the 2015 SDG Industry Matrix produced by the UN Global Compact together with KPMG and posed direct challenges to the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Life Sciences, Industrial Manufacturing, Automotive and Energy, Process, and Utility industries.

Now, we’re looking at the current state of 5 key industries taking on the challenge of sustainable product development in 2020.

Architecture & Construction

Today’s buildings are responsible for more than 40 percent of global energy usage. But the architecture and construction sector has enormous potential for sustainable innovation. Digitalization has come late to the construction industry, but organizations such as JM Construction and Lehto are now boosting productivity, streamlining project management and improving environmental sustainability across the entire value supply chain. All with the implementation of Product Lifecycle Management platforms.

We need to start thinking about city-planning in relation to the surrounding habitats. Begin building an economy that supports our natural environment. A liveable city will provide high-quality services and protect biodiversity. Liveable cities can be smart cities that use technology to provide services in a fairer and more efficient manner. And digitalization is the first step on the road to making this vision a reality.

Consumer Packaged Goods

An independent report from Acosta revealed that more than 73% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to improve the environment. While NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business found that 50% of CPG growth from 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products.

The Consumer Packaged Goods industry is one of the best markets to see consumer influence in rapid-action. This year, the top 100 Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies (as measured by revenue) made bold declarations about their commitment to drive sustainability over the coming years. These actions focus largely on the full-recyclability or removal of plastics and packaging. However, a fully sustainable, circular economy will require action to be taken throughout the supply chain and ensure that consumer recycling habits are informed and encouraged.

Energy, Process & Utility

Electricity generation, heat production, and transport still rely heavily on fossil fuels. Together, they account for roughly 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. While the use of modern renewables for heat and transport is sparse, it’s clear that we urgently need far-reaching changes in energy consumption and supply. But with swift progress in renewable electricity generation – close to 25% coming from renewables – and with analysts predicting that the global solar market will grow to about 14% in 2020 there is very real progress being made.

Life Sciences

The NASDAQ center for Corporate Governance found that 80% of reviewed life sciences and medtech companies highlight environmental or sustainability efforts as a priority. That nearly all have a dedicated, sustainability-focused website. And 91% have posted a sustainability report. But these are not results. In fact, leading pharma company, Pfizer, reported an increase-against-trend for CO2 emissions in 2018.

However, many Life Science, Medtech and Pharma companies are beginning to take a closer look at their supply chains, implementing transparent, transactional and collaborative platforms which are helping them to target sustainable development goals more effectively. A great example of this is the work that Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare) have been doing in partnership with TECHNIA to produce their Supplier Portal.

Transportation & Mobility

Technological advances such as digitalization, alternative fuels, and autonomous vehicles present a clear and current shift in the Transport and Mobility sector. While economic developments such as mobility-as-a-service, e-commerce and remote working are changing the way that consumers expect to travel. Shared ownership and on demand access to transport are trends which will disrupt the automotive industry within the current decade. Electric Vehicle sales jumped from 450,000 in 2015 to 2.1 million in 2019. And analysts predict that, despite a drop in 2020, passenger electric vehicle sales will continue to rise as the infrastructure and supply costs improve.

OEMs have had a keen eye on this upward trend for some years. And with global demand for cleaner transportation rising, Ford is investing $11 billion in electrification over five years, electrifying their most popular nameplates. In fact, they partnered with Volkswagon last year in a joint venture to further the development of autonomous, electric vehicles.

In Our Experience…

Circular economies play a central role in addressing the crucial challenges of our time.

Research shows that a transition to a circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion in additional economic output by 2030. Climate change, waste, and pollution cannot be addressed in our current linear model. So, we need organizations to push for a fundamental shift in the way our economy functions to create sustainable value. We’re beginning to see more and more companies willing to innovate and collaborate, with transparency, how they’re striving for net-zero emissions.

While sustainable product creation can, and often does, turn short-term profit, the journey to a circular economy is about long-term economic and environmental survival. We’re still a long way from achieving the goals set out by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. But innovative, sustainable product lifecycle management is a powerful driving force for positive environmental impact.

That’s why we, at TECHNIA, are committed to bringing together the world’s foremost authorities on sustainable product development. To network, discuss and explore solutions to the world’s most pressing product lifecycle issues.

Let's Start Making Product Creation Sustainable

Is your organization ready to take sustainability seriously? Learn more about the practical tools and processes that you can start putting in place today, so that your products help create a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

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