Some Pervasive Challenges to Sustainability by Design of Electronic Products – A Conceptual Discussion is an academic journal article, written by four authors named Rafael Laurenti, Rajib Sinha, Jagdeep Singh, and Bjorn Frostell. The authors’ main argument is finding more efficient ways to make industrial products and save scarce resources. The article was published in August 2015 in the Journal of Cleaner production, a scholarly journal usually geared toward professional engineers. We can also assume the intended audience would most likely be anyone who is interested in sustainable, efficient ways of creating electronic products or is involved with the industrial industry. The authors’ purpose was to mainly inform the readers that there is a problem in the way they are creating their industrial products. The authors also try to entertain the readers by showing a current study of mobile phone subscribers in developed and developing countries. This shines a light on the idea of how the evolution of technology is causing more people to change their mobile phones more often. By changing their mobile phones more often, this is giving a shorter lifespan to mobile phones that are still in working condition.
The article begins by stating the 3 main points of sustainability, most important to the authors, which include ‘Doom and gloom’ environmentalism, ecological modernization, and acknowledgement of unintended environmental consequences. The authors claim that environmentalists believe future efforts should be devoted to adjusting the society to the destructive consequences that will be hitting us in the near future. On the ecological side, the authors explain that by fixing technology, it can reduce improvements in the environment due to economic growth. “From an industrial perspective, great progress has been made in achieving environmental gains that yield parallel economic benefits, e.g. refrigerators, washing machines, cars, computers, mobile phones and other industrial appliances now consume much less material and energy during life cycle than previous generations. However, rather less attention has been paid to the unintended consequences of incremental improvements, which occur separated in time and geographical location from the point of consumption (R.L., R.S., J.S., B.J., 2015).”
Because sustainability is the main topic of this article the authors list ways that we are unintentionally hurting the environment, such as “Increasing use of scarce minerals in smart phones, tablets, lap-tops, hybrid cars, LED light bulbs, etc., which have contributed to resource wars in developing countries (R.L., R.S., J.S., B.J., 2015).” Another way the authors explained was by population growth, improvements made in standard living, and an increasing demand for material goods. Due to those things, high quality resources have been being over used. It is made clear in the article that product design is the point where we should be addressing these challenges and making changes.
In conclusion, this article looks at many widespread challenges to sustainability, such as working products being thrown away, environmental and social impacts, and the use of scarce resources. Although fixing these challenges are difficult, the authors informed the readers about the consequences of creating products that aren’t as sustainable, which can lead them to create more efficient products in the future.
Laurenti, Rafael, Rajib Sinha, jagdeep Singh, et. Al “Some Pervasive Challenges to Sustainability by Design of Electronic Products – a Conceptual Discussion.” Journal of Cleaner Production 108 (2015):281-288.