Single synergized initiative needed to make product life cycle management integral part of business strategy

| Updated: Oct 17, 2016 22:23 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct.17 (ANI): The successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 12 of Responsible Consumption & Production, requires building a strong foundation for the next 15 years with a single synergized mega-initiative. The policy makers should have the ability to see the future to reinvent governance according to the arising needs, stated Mr. Anurag Goel, Former Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, here today. Delivering the inaugural address at the fifth edition of Indian Conference on Life Cycle Management (ILCM) 2016 organized by FICCI jointly with UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, Mr. Goel, said that Assam has started building the foundation; and was hailed as leading the world. Sharing the Assam Experience, Mr. Goel said that after extensive deliberations a 'Vision & Strategic Architecture Document' was prepared. Also a strategic need was felt for applying Life-Cycle Thinking to enhance outcomes from the entire SDG Initiative. He added that there was a growing realization that sustainability is first and foremost a mind set and society, departments and Industry and Business first needs to imbibe the mind set for LCM. Mr. Goel said that Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technically complex exercise involving many variables, requirements for data which may often not be available, complex and expensive tools. Also, business viability, competitive advantage, innovation and cost cutting are the other factors that impact it. Besides, it has human and management of change dimensions. Hence, the governments, businesses and experts have to work together to deal with issues ranging from how business is affecting sustainability to how sustainability is affecting business. He added that Assam lacks the knowledge and expertise to introduce LCA, but has the leadership and will to take up this challenge. To make LCA a success, it is imperative that experts and stakeholders come forward as partners. In the theme address, Dr. Feng Wang, Programme Officer - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said that considering the complexity of the environmental issues, contribution from life cycle thinking and knowledge can be three-fold. In principle, life cycle thinking ensures that we look into the environmental issues from a holistic and systemic point of view, which covers all life cycle stages of a product or service, from raw material extraction, production, use and end-of-life. This makes sure that we look into the overlooked areas that go beyond the boundary of factory, or national territory. It also helps to avoid burden shifting from region to region, or from one type of environmental category to another. Dr. Wang said that as a pathfinder, life cycle thinking can help identify the priority and hotspot along the value chain of a production, or the priority sector from a national economy. This will ensure we spend our effort in a most efficient way, which generates the maximum result (of reducing impact) by using the optimal resources and in function. Life cycle assessment and other relevant tools can provide a quantitative measurement for the impact of a product, service or a system, enabling the benchmark among different products, and compare different strategy options, and support the monitoring and assessment of policies. Highlighting UNEP's role, Dr. Wang said that UNEP has three main working areas; infrastructure, that is to create life cycle data/database access, life cycle impact indicators to enable practitioners to conduct life cycle assessment; developing practical tools to be used for the private sector and also the public sector; and capacity development and provide training opportunities and pilot projects to disseminate the life cycle knowledge. Dr. Rajnish Karki, CEO, Karki Associates, said that LCM must become a part of the strategic agenda of an organization. It has been seen that LCM is being adopted far more actively on the operations side of the business but now is the time that the top management makes LCM a core part of its strategy. Earlier, growth was referred to economic development only, but in the last two decades development has become synonymous with economic and socio-environment sustainable growth. There is a paradigm shift in looking at a country's growth and LCM is a good technique for sustainable development and models were needed to be developed to integrate LCM with businesses. In her closing remarks, Dr. Sanjeevan Bajaj, Adviser - Quality Forum, FICCI, said that ILCM is the only Indian event where the global LCA community congregates. The goal is to achieve sustainability through life cycle knowledge and it can be achieved only when LC knowledge informs policy and better business decisions. She added that FICCI Quality Forum was making special efforts for engaging decisions-makers in LCM to make it an integral part of the policy and strategy process at the top management level. The vote of thanks was delivered by Mr. MA Patil, Director - Quality Forum, FICCI. (ANI)