How can you take action?
Implementing an ecodesign initiative in your company is easier than you think. What’s most important is to understand the steps to follow!
Here is a typical process. You can easily take inspiration from this example and adapt it to your needs.
What the manager needs to consider
+How many people will be needed to implement an ecodesign initiative?
Large companies may assign one or more managers to lead responsible innovation and ecodesign initiatives. Most often, the initiative is carried out by existing product development teams who integrate environmental criteria in the design process. External specialists may be called upon to fill gaps in expertise that is unavailable internally, for example to carry out customer and stakeholder needs assessments or life cycle analyses, or to determine recyclability potential.
+What personnel should be assigned to this type of project?
Packaging ecodesign requires the involvement of several operational units in the company, as well as the support and direction from management. The units that could be closely or tangentially involved throughout product development include:
+How long does a typical initiative take?
When embarking on its first initiatives in which environmental factors and stakeholder expectations are taken into consideration, a company will need to conduct a situation analysis, identify avenues for improvement and determine potential solutions. Time needs to be invested in laying the groundwork, determining procedures and gathering information, while outside expertise may be sought to help in launching the initiative.
Each optimization and ecodesign project will be an opportunity to clarify your understanding of the issues you face and identify available opportunities. While implementing the initiative will not require a top to bottom review of your business practices, you will need to establish a structured foundation based on a clear vision.
If a company masters the ecodesign mindset, implementing an initiative is not likely to slow down the product development process. Ecodesign can stimulate innovation, and a solid process will improve product quality, limit late-process changes and thus speed up product marketing.
Integrating ecodesign in basic innovation management practices will be the key to making it part of the company’s fabric and advancing its continuous improvement process.
+How much money needs to be invested in the initiative?
Many assistance programs are available to help companies integrate ecodesign in their processes.
Resources and subsidies available to companies include:
IDP’s PARI-CNRC ecodesign strategy interventions
- Understanding ecodesign issues and opportunities
- Defining a vision and action plan for implementing an ecodesign initiative
IDP training and guidance programs, with support from the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations (MEIE)
- Team skill building
- Implementing ecodesign projects
MAPAQ’s Programme Levier, a tool developed by Quebec’s food processing industry to create winning conditions that increase competitiveness and spur development:
- Strategic development
- Quality assurance systems
- Structured business partnerships
- Projet ACCORD by the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations (MEIE), to promote ties among business people and entrepreneurs in a given region who have a common vision of their business sector and have defined a long-term strategy for progress.
Fonds de développement de la transformation alimentaire (FDTA)
- Programme d’aide financière pour l’optimisation des emballages (financial assistance program for packaging optimization): Program designed to provide financial assistance to Quebec food processing companies wishing to optimize a packaging item or a process linked to packaging.
- Programme d’aide financière pour l’optimisation d’un emballage au moyen de l’analyse du cycle de vie (financial assistance program for packaging optimization using life cycle analysis): Program designed to provide financial assistance to Quebec food processing companies wishing to establish a diagnosis of their environmental performance, carry out a life cycle analysis of a product or optimize the selection of a process, packaging item or ingredient.
- IDP’s PARI-CNRC ecodesign strategy interventions
Begin your ecodesign journey
Packaging and printed matter optimization is the objective. Ecodesign provides the means to achieve it.
1. EVALUATE your initial situation
First, take the time to review your current situation in terms of your objectives, your business sector or a specific packaged product and/or printed matter. This step is essential to clearly defining priorities.
Here is a decision-making tool to help you with the process and take action. Download tool in PDF version.
Where do you begin?
List all your packaging items.
Make a list of all your products before picking out the ones that need special attention.
List your packaging and printed matter by priority, for example: private brands, biggest sellers, lines under redevelopment, products needing differentiation, ability to influence, new products or recently launched lines
2. IDENTIFY which ecodesign strategies are right for you
Ecodesign is made up of four strategies to improve the product at each step of the process. The strategies will enable you to not only optimize procurement, design and recyclability, but also effectively communicate the benefits of the initiative!
First, be sure to understand ecodesign strategies so you can determine which ones are the most suitable to your packaging and printed matter. Then, select the ideal process to generate the most benefits for your company. For more information, go to OptimEco.ca
3. DEVELOP a new packaging design
You don’t have to look very far to improve your packaging. Simple changes can sometimes make a significant difference! For example, take the opportunity when reviewing or developing a product line to apply an ecodesign initiative and generate new ideas!
How to get your teams on board?
Put together a business case and document all expected benefits.
What to do when your influence is not enough for your suppliers?
- Start the discussion on ecodesign
- Promote the benefits of your products
- Work cooperatively with them
4. COMMUNICATE the improvements you made and set yourself apart
It’s time to introduce the new packaging and printed matter that you redesigned according to selected strategies. To promote your improved packaging, put the spotlight on the initiatives and related benefits to inform customers and build loyalty.
Use OptimAction, the interactive tool to visualize, measure, document and communicate the environmental benefits of your initiative. Visit OptimEco.ca for more information.