Eco-Design: the new Competitive Edge

Solutions that support mankind’s efforts to protect our planet and that enable companies to achieve a real competitive advantage

no longer refers just to ‘re-usable’, or ‘without depleting natural resources’. Collectively, our objective must be to facilitate the development of industry, science, medicine, and of the most advanced technological prospects without impeding future generations from doing the same. Real sustainability lies wherever the improvement of current human conditions does not compromise the progress of those who come after us.

In such a context, the increased competitiveness of a company and the way it positions itself relies increasingly on its ability to successfully align its business processes with the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

CSR refers to business policies adopted to manage social and ecological impact externally, and related issues internally, all integrated into the commercial operations of the business through effective systems.

When a company decides to promote sustainability within its corporate practices, it must review all its operational processes to introduce short and long-term strategies leading to clear actions that support sustainability and benefit clients as well. Some examples are: the use of durable and innovative materials; the reduction of energy consumption; the restriction of imports from overseas with all of their logistical impacts; the use of eco-sustainable packaging and, of course, cooperation with local suppliers.

The adoption of such strategies will inevitably impact internal daily work practices as well as the wider community that a business interacts with.  Indeed, it must: CSR cannot be pursued in isolation.

The main objective should be to reduce the impact of our work practices on the environment, in part by lowering the consumption of energy and natural resources as much as possible. This encompasses recycling production waste and managing the emission of pollutants, with a focus on promoting local sourcing of components.

Overall, it is a green vision founded on transparency. In fact, a value chain founded in Corporate Social Responsibility aims to increase the competitive edge of customers through the adoption of processes and philosophies that, today more than ever, are essential to create a successful product and/or service.

Eco-design: an investment in our future 

Designing a solution is always an adventure, a journey to find the optimum balance between competing factors. It is the responsibility of Product Managers, who try to operate within the wider ecological sustainability context, to incorporate eco-design within their workflow. The term eco-design refers to the eco-sustainable creation of a product and/or service that follows the key principles of circular economy. This is aimed at reusing materials and basic resources in subsequent production cycles, in a smart way to reduce waste and maximize performance. To achieve this objective Global Display Solutions (GDS) also draws guidance from the European Union’s directive Clean Energy for all Europeans, the program aimed at creating energy models that control climate change risks.

The focus is not just on energy consumption but also on matters related to the recyclability, reuse, maintainability, assembly and manufacturing of products. These considerations translate into the use of resistant and durable raw materials and on the selection of materials that have been mixed together to increase reuse rates. For example, the metallic components of many GDS products can contain 80% recycled aluminum, which in turn is purchased from suppliers who use 70% of reusable raw materials. Similarly, 100% recyclable glass is utilized in our  production chain of which 7% comes from external recycling activities.

The principle of eco-design also requires the presence of two more key elements of modern Circular Economy: the repair and upgrade of products and/or services. Providing this facility prolongs service life and limits waste and replacements. In GDS’s Midas ORO (ORO stands for Onsite Recovery Operations), GDS has built-in a serviceability that guarantees an increase in the life cycle of the displays used by our customers for advertising and information purposes. Thanks to this solution GDS customers save thousands of dollars, as well as they reduce the emission of pollutants and the quantity of electronic devices that need to be disposed of (e-waste). It also enables access to any relevant tax benefits offered by Governments to support green initiatives. Thanks to the principle of circularity, Midas ORO supports those companies and commercial partners who want to take part in the eco-sustainability revolution.

We are delighted that our customers who engage with our eco-design proposals also actively take part in the fight against climate change.

Multidisciplinary expertise coordinated to achieve sustainable designs and partnerships 

With the climate crisis upon us, now more than ever, it is essential to invest in professions and supplies that are able to combine the digital world with the environmental sustainability sector. While sustainability managers work to revolutionize traditional material paradigms moving towards a greener materials portfolio, and energy managers adopt strategies to save energy during the production phase, the principle of Circularity reaches its peak expression through the work of eco-designers. For a product and/or service to satisfy the required strict design criteria the chosen solution has not only to provide reusability and recyclability but also smart packaging and delivery options, so that the use of plastic-based materials and the emission of CO2 linked to transport can be reduced to the minimum.

To achieve these objectives a truly green product has to be designed from scratch, by assessing all the phases of its lifecycle in detail and step by step.

The following are just some of the measures that can be implemented in the production departments:

  • Reduction of materials imported from overseas.
  • Introduction of corporate solar power systems to produce more energy than is consumed.
  • Establishing production units in areas that are as close as possible to where the final product will be utilized.

Eco-Design: A business philosophy that takes care of the planet

How can a business philosophy lead to measurable effects towards protecting the planet and its resources? At GDS we decided to adopt a new philosophy. Instead of the traditional rhetoric that measures the growth of our business solely through its volume of production, we looked at innovative strategies that focus on many other qualities as well, some inside GDS and some outside. Among these are the quality of the materials and production processes and the quality of the work environment that our partners operate and the quality of the digital communication utilized by our clients.

Perhaps surprisingly, the key words are diversity, inclusion and collaboration. We know we are not alone: the clients and suppliers that participate – and have participated in the past- in the green initiatives we promote have helped us to spread the value of sustainability as a collective and social effort. We would like all the stakeholders we work with – employees and management as well as customers and partner companies – to become an active part of the sustainability revolution that we care so much about; no exceptions made, because the presence of a strong and cohesive community is what makes the difference.

For these reasons the collaboration contract with our partners is not just a business agreement but also an environmental and sustainability one. The promotion of circular production is the result of our combined and relentless efforts.  The benefits lie in the opportunity to give back life to valuable raw materials, projects, and production, providing eco-sustainable solutions that, step by step, help us get closer to our collective goal of improving human conditions.

Global Display Solutions now stands out from its competition thanks to its creation of synergistic partnerships that work towards achieving the most important environmental, social and economic objectives of today’s society.

GDS has introduced solar photovoltaic systems in the operations centers in Europe, particularly in Romania and Italy, to produce more energy than what gets consumed, while often working with national and international services that also utilize recycling systems.

Our production materials are selected with care. Exports take place following a rigorous evaluation of proximity – for example we have a local production base in the United States for products and/or services purchased by our US partners.

Solution by solution and project by project the GDS team has increasingly managed to tick most of the boxes in its list of sustainability objectives.

Day by day we add more green initiatives to our curriculum. Increasingly our clients and suppliers see the commercial benefits of this approach as well as the environmental ones. We hope that society too will recognize and embrace the value of sustainability more and more so that future generations will inherit a habitable planet.