Standards & Certification vs Lowest Bidder Supplier

As the things we produce take more of a toll on our ecosystems, people everywhere are becoming more concerned not just about what we make, but how it’s made, and what it’s made from. With more than three quarters of consumers in the western world interested or having already made changes to their buying habits to move toward sustainability[1], it falls to manufacturers to meet those desires. Yet it’s no simple job to meet sustainability and economic needs while innovating for better, improved products! 

Everything we make consumes materials of some kind, but registering the impact of the use and creation of those materials is comparatively new. The methods of measuring the energy use and impact of our materials has yet to be agreed upon, creating a range of measurements that undercut or obscure the true effects of certain material types or their usages[2]. Part of this problem stems from our method of awarding construction contracts, be they for houses, machine parts or medical supplies, which awards funding to the contractor who can promise the lowest price. It is through this metric that, time and again, long term usability is sacrificed for short term cost[3]. Eventually, it is the consumer (or end user) that pays the highest price as they struggle to use low quality products, and the environment suffers from low quality materials[2].

By implementing strict standardisation measures for the means of measuring impact, along with the materials, methods and longevity of produced items, the effect upon the environment and end user satisfaction can be huge, with existing efforts having already reduced inefficiency, water and energy consumption, and waste generation by up to 50%[4]. Standardisation even increases innovation, as more environmentally focused methods are able to integrate with existing infrastructure, preventing obsolescence in a fast-changing world[5]. More than ever it’s shown that forward thinking societies need to consider the costs of tomorrow far more than the savings of today.

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Search terms for your own research: lowest bidder contractor effects, industrial standardisation, environmental certification

 E-Waste Recycling, Energy Conservation

 GDP Focused Governance, Corporate Consolidation
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