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Mechanical Engineering Tech Lead, Will Harrison, recently made a guest appearance on the new podcast, Accelerate Net Zero. Will caught up with author Katherine Radeka to share his thoughts around how to build sustainability into all types of products from the beginning stages of development. To achieve Net Zero, eventually every one of the products we use on a daily basis will need to be carbon neutral. But how do we get there?
High profile companies like Amazon, Microsoft and IKEA have pledged to achieve Net Zero well in advance of the goals set by the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change. To do that, they’ll need to put these goals into the center of their product development systems. Sustainability—which is lower carbon emissions but also lower resource consumption, lower toxicity and a better solution than a landfill when the product is at the end of its life—requires commitment from the earliest stages of innovation.
Will shares some tools and resources that product developers and their leaders can use to assess sustainability and identify ares that can be improved. But the real solution is the demand signal—the pull—that demands sustainability from consumers, investors, public policymakers and activists. When that demand signal is strong enough, it’s easier for engineers like Will to make decisions around sustainability even when it costs more, or compromises performance in some way.