- The Role of Materials
- 3 Capitals
- Competing Articulations of Sustainable Technology
- Material Efficiency
- The Role of Design
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Do this by measuring corporate success with a Triple Bottom Line
The Role of Materials
Global or national “wealth” can be seen as the sum of three components: the net manufactured capital, the net human capital, and the net natural capital.
- Manufactured capital – industrial capacity, institutions, roads, built environment, financial wealth (GDP)
- Human capital – health, education, skills, technical expertise, accumulated knowledge, happiness
- Natural capital – clean atmosphere, fresh water, fertile land, productive oceans, minerals, and fossil energy.
- Comprehensive capital – the sum of all three capital assets.
Manufactured capital is often seen as more important at the loss of the other 2 in the name of economic growth.
Competing Articulations of Sustainable Technology
For a long while energy prices were steady and material prices dropped, incentivizing companies to minimize labor and not be concerned with waste. Now material and energy prices are rising, encouraging material efficiency.
Global efficient material use means getting more material services with less material production
Material consumption > material production because of reuse and recycling
- minimize depleting non-renewables
- reduce dependence of developed countries on imports
- reduce demand on other resources
- reduce unwanted emissions generated by material production and use
- improved material technology
- material-efficient engineering design
- use of economic instruments
- social adaptation
The Role of Design
How might we create products that can be adapted and personalized so that they acquire, like a house, a character of their own and say "keep me, I'm part of your life"
We throw things away bc we do not see value in them
- Physical life - time for product to break down beyond economic repair
- Functional life - when there is no longer a need for it
- Technical life - advances in tech make the product obsolete
- Economical life - advances in design and tech offer the same functionality at significantly lower cost
- Legal life - new standards, legislation, or restrictions make the product illegal
- Desirability - changes in tastes and preferences make the product unattractive
So we should expand product life as much as possible by:
landfill, combustion for heat recovery, recycling, re-engineering, and reuse