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IBM launches 'green' consulting services

Posted: 29 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:green consulting service? recycling program? product manufacturing?

IBM has initiated a new "green" consulting service targeted to help customers deliver more eco-friendly products from development and manufacturing through delivery and use to end-of-life reclamation and recycling. The IBM Environmental Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) service will help customers analyze every phase of a new product, designing it to be environmentally friendly from the start.

"The days of using inordinate amounts of energy, toxic chemicals and wasteful packaging to create throwaway products that just get tossed in the landfill are coming to an end," said Mark Wilterding, IBM's global leader for product lifecycle management consulting, in a statement. "Governments, environmental advocacy groups, and most of all consumers are demanding that companies do better, and designing a product from the start to be eco-friendly throughout its lifetime is the most effective way to do that."

The IBM Environmental PLM takes into consideration the materials used to make and package the product; the energy needed to produce it, transport and use it; as well as designing it to be refurbished or recycled when it's no longer useable. Although the Environmental PLM is relevant to product and service offerings across all industries, IBM says it will be of particular interest to customers in sectors such automotive, heavy equipment, electronics and consumer products ranging from food to apparel.

The offering provides an overall analysis of a product's lifecycle, taking into account current environmental concerns, regulations and business issues, and industry best practices. Based on that analysis, IBM can help customers understand any gaps in its current practices; develop realistic targets for reducing the environmental impact of its products and establish a strategic plan to meet those targets.

This translates into helping customers build new design-for-environment capabilities, and integrating them into existing processes to improve the environmental competitiveness of their operations and products.

New services include design for compliance to ensure products meet new regulatory requirements, design for end-of-life management so products are easy to refurbish and reuse or dissemble and recycle, and the selection of renewable, recyclable and non-toxic materials.

Other offerings include looking at packaging designs that minimize waste and make it lighter and easier to recycle, and project delivery acceleration to reduce time to market of eco-friendly products.

In addition, IBM's lifecycle assessment and carbon footprint reduction offering focuses on reducing the environmental impact of producing the product, shipping it, use by the consumer, and reclamation and recycling, by evaluating carbon trade-offs through the manufacturing, distribution and transportation processes.

IBM says companies that take a comprehensive approach to designing environmentally-friendly products can not only avoid penalties and increase efficiency while lowering costs, but also have the opportunity to increase market share and revenue. An IBM global survey on corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicates that CSR activities are seen as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage and grow revenue. IBM's biennial global survey of more than 1,100 CEOs showed that the majority of them plan to increase their investments in CSR by 25 percent over the next three years.

- Gina Roos
Green SupplyLine

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