By investing in material efficiency, your company can reduce the consumption of raw materials and natural resources, and enhance its productivity and competitiveness. At the same time, it becomes easier to apply the Design for the Environment criteria. You can use life-cycle assessment in your product design. If your company designs energy-consuming products, make sure that you comply with the ecodesign legislation.
Material efficiency means that your company produces competitive goods or services and that the consumption of materials, raw materials and natural resources during their life cycle is minimised.
When your company invests in material efficiency, it needs to spend less on materials procurement than before. Moreover, your company will generate less waste and pay less for waste management. See the Materiaalitori website to find out whether your company could utilise the waste or side stream materials on the market or produce these for other companies (In Finnish).
You can order a material-efficiency audit for your company. During a material-efficiency audit, an external expert systematically assesses the way in which materials are used in your company and make concrete suggestions for improving material efficiency. You can also receive support for material-efficiency audits from Business Finland.
In Design for the Environment, your company puts emphasis on environmental aspects already in the product or service design stage. The aim is to maximise environmental friendliness throughout the product life cycle from the procurement of the raw material to the product’s final disposal,
In Design for the Environment, the aim is to maximise material and energy efficiency. Design your products so that they are durable, reparable and recyclable and minimise the use of environmentally harmful substances. Also consider the environmental impacts of the production process, delivery, recycling and final disposal.
When conducting a lifecycle assessment, identify raw material and energy needs, emissions and waste throughout the product life cycle. Also consider at which stages and how you can best reduce your company’s environmental impacts. A lifecycle assessment also provides information to support product development and marketing. Use the ISO 14040 series standards as an aid in the assessment.
Environmental footprint methods can also be used to support product design. While giving high priority to environmental aspects in the design process, remember to also invest in the functionality, quality and safety of the product.
Ecodesign sets ecological requirements for the design of energy-using products such as lamps, pumps or heaters. Its aim is to encourage your company to assess the environmental impacts of its products during the product design stage. Provisions on ecodesign are contained in the ecodesign directive of the European Union and the Finnish ecodesign act and decree.
Before you put a product on the market, use reliable measuring methods to check whether the product meets all relevant requirements. Prepare the required technical documentation and the EU declaration of conformity. Add the CE marking and the required product-specific markings on the product.
If your company fails to comply with the ecodesign legislation or the product fails to meet the requirements, you may not put the product on the market. Your company may also have to pay a penalty fee.
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is responsible for supervising compliance with ecodesign legislation in Finland.
The aim of ecolabels is to provide objective information on the environmental impacts of products and to guide the production and consumption of products in an environmentally-friendly direction. Ecolabels enable your company to inform consumers about the competitiveness of its product in environmental matters. You can also use ecolabelled products in your company's own procurements.
Ecolabelled products and services meet strict environmental impacts based on lifecycle thinking. The assessment examines, among other things, the origin of materials, energy consumption in the production and use of products, the use of chemicals and the generation of waste throughout the production and consumption chain.