Nemko has always worked for product safety. When our customers and the regulatory requirements expanded to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and telecom, that became part of our service portfolio as well. In recent years, our visions have expanded, and we are growing as a partner within sustainability and environmental services. Together we can work for a better and sustainable future in many ways, including the reduction of carbon emissions, material efficiency, more durable products, creating more energy-efficient products, reuse of parts, products or critical raw materials and limiting waste from all-electric and electronic equipment (e-waste or WEEE).
Is it possible to limit the global rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius? Yes, it is possible. What does it take to do this? Most countries have agreed that we need to be carbon neutral by 2050 and that for the shorter term, we need to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50% compared to 1990 by the end of this decade. .
Reducing waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE)
Another growing problem is waste in general, and especially e-waste. In 2019 the world’s total generated e-waste was 53,6Mt, where only 17,4% was collected and properly recycled. This means that today’s products, at the end of their life cycle, will contribute to polluting nature, harming animals and contaminating our water. In addition, recycled waste is often handled under dangerous conditions, causing severe health effects to workers, and even to children who are either forced to work, or who spend time at landfills looking for a means to survive.
A shift toward efficiency in use of raw materials
The transition to sustainability for products – in Europe we call it the circular economy -- will be regulated through the sustainable products policies. For approximately a decade, we have seen the introduction of energy efficiency requirements for products to combat climate change. Now there is a new shift. Material efficiency is being introduced in legislation. The world’s raw materials are in many cases in low supply while burgeoning trade wars between blocs of exporting and importing countries have increased the crisis. Finally, the lack of success in countries to recycle e-waste means the situation for critical raw materials is a growing concern in many industries.
The practical outcome of the situation concerning demand for raw materials will be:
- products placed on the market will be designed to last longer
- products will be easier to reuse, repair and recycle
- repair and recycling will require openness and guidance from manufacturers to independent repair shops on repair methods
- firmware and software updates will be increasingly available
- supply of spare parts will increase
- products will incorporate as much recycled material as possible, instead of primary raw material
E-marks for sustainability and environmental performance
Large companies now see a need to reduce their carbon footprint and declare their level of sustainability or the sustainability of their products. There is a drive toward improved corporate social responsibility (CSR). More than 200 different certification marks for sustainability or environmental performance exist in Europe, with more than 400 worldwide. Most of these are self-documented and most are not based on life cycle assessment of the production process and the product.
Click here to find current European Union information about different sustainability requirements for my product.