What is Green PLM ?

Let’s face it, our world has changed, and in between the international economic crisis and melting icebergs, the PLM planet has also shifted. More than ever, OEMs and their partners are approaching PLM differently. New questions being pondered and discussed in hallways and boardrooms include:

“Will the product generate less carbon emissions if we chose X material instead of Y?”

“Is the packaging ecological enough, and will it still attract our regular buyers?”

“Can I sell it in the EU too, or will it be banned for not meeting requirements?”

All legitimate questions. All real issues.

In this introductory series about Green PLM, we’ll look at what gives Green PLM its color. Maarit Cruz, our manager of CSR and “green” issues, tells me that Green PLM can be broken down into two broad categories: a product’s compliance to international norms, and its overall environmental footprint. Throughout this Green PLM series we’ll examine both categories.

But first, what is Green PLM?

According to Maarit, Green PLM can be summarized as: “product conception processes that help to minimize the product’s impact on the environment throughout its entire lifecycle.”

The European Union estimates that more than 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is determined in the product conception phase. And depending on the product in question, the impact peaks differently. For example, because of the energy it consumes, a durable good like an appliance has the highest impact during usage, while a single-use product, like a paper napkin, has its biggest impact once it gets picked up by the garbage truck.

But there’s another side to Green PLM, and that’s cost. I’ll bet we all agree that Green PLM is great for our planet, but is it good for our budgets? In a blog post by Jim Brown entitled The ‘Unconventional ROI’ of Green PLM, he says that

“A sustainable change requires profitability and not just a good, warm feeling that you are doing something right.”

To get your banker (well, you may want to start with your boss) to smile, Jim calls manufacturers to:

“Reduce the cost impact of going green on yourself, your supply chain, and ultimately the consumer. Be smart about the design process, and leverage tools like PLM and regulatory management solutions that help lower the cost of green- not to mention the cost of mandatory compliance which you are probably already facing.”

Do you agree that PLM can reduce the cost of going green, or are you perhaps turning green? 😉

Before you reach any final conclusions, I invite you to stick with us for the rest of this blog series. If you’re not already receiving 3D Perspectives posts in your email, Twitter or RSS feed, why not subscribe to receive the full series? I’ll dedicate my next Green PLM post to compliance, particularly compliance assessment and impact analysis, and will share a video about this I took interviewing Mike Zep, Dassault Systèmes’ environmental compliance expert.