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Solving the Scope 3 challenge

Five key truths on Scope 3, from why 2030 is too soon to why sustainability is about a lot more than just ‘being green’.

Makersite CEO Neil D’Souza recently sat down with The Scope 3 Podcast’s Tom Idle and Oliver Hurrey to discuss the key supply chain challenges facing organizations today – and how Makersite can help to solve them. You can listen to the full episode below or using the link here.

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Five key takeaways on product sustainability and scope 3

The real impact comes from products

It might sound simple, but when it comes to Scope 3 we need to take things back to the source. As Neil notes, “100 % of the impact that we see in the world today comes from the products we make and use. If you really think about it, whether you’re a service company and you’re flying around, well, it’s the plane that’s creating the impact, right? If you’re on your desk, then it’s the laptop and the electricity you use to run it.”

Just reporting isn’t enough. If you truly want to fix something and resolve the problem of the impact that’s being created, then you need to do your homework and properly understand the implications of designing a product in a certain way – from the raw materials you use to where you source them from to the end of life of that product.

Sustainability isn’t about ‘being green’

It’s all very well for a company to want to flex its green credentials. But if you want to properly affect the product you make, then you need to go deeper. “Out of 250 odd projects that I’ve worked on,” Neil says, “there is not a single project that was implemented just because it was green.”

So what is it about? Business is about making trade-offs. It’s about asking yourself the right questions. “What will I get if I were to reduce its impact by 30%? What will I get in terms of, ‘will I be able to sell more in more jurisdictions?’ Would it address a different market? What would be the cost implication of it? Would I still be able to sell it given compliance problems that I may have? Would it still be safe?”

The design must be separated from the implication or the understanding of the implication.

Facilitating the demand for better products

Now more than ever, manufacturers in a variety of markets are facing an increasing pressure to make better, more sustainable products. But not only is there a greater demand from consumers and stakeholders for this approach – there’s also a greater propensity to pay higher premiums for better design.

However, these markets (from building and construction to automotive to chemicals) generally have very complex supply chains and products, and traditional tools and traditional approaches can’t solve the hurdles they need to overcome in order to meet those demands.

Makersite powers the systems used by the people (from engineers to procurement) in organizations who can make the difference – the CAD tools, the PLM tools, the ERP tools, the procurement tools.

With that help, they can ensure that the product that is being designed follows the rules of the region in which they’re trying to sell it.

2030 is too soon

Many companies have positioned ambitious Scope 3 and Net Zero targets for 2030. But, says Neil, that’s not giving anyone enough time. “In reality, if you think of this from an engineering standpoint, an average technical product takes five to seven years to go to market. 2030 is six, seven years away. You’ll be able to make one product change. That’s about it. There’s not a lot you can do with one product iteration.”

For Makersite, it’s about the bigger picture. The longer term. And it’s about stopping the same mistakes being made over and over again: “What we want to do is every iteration from now until 2050, every iteration of every product that is new, that is innovative runs through Makersite. If we do that, then we’re not making the mistakes that we’ve continuously made over time.”

The tools we have now are smart – but not smart enough

In order to properly service the market and the demand from consumers, the tools we have now need to be refined. They are good, but they could be better.

Neil D’Souza: “The first is engineering tools. Engineering tools need to become smarter in order that we make the right decisions during design. The second is procurement tools. Procurement tools themselves also need to become smarter. We need to be able to not just quantify what are the impacts of the products that we’re buying, but identify where are the low carbon products that we can buy. And the connection of these two tools is important for that to happen.”

Ultimately, if organizations want to decarbonize, then they must provide their procurement teams with the flexibility to look at the market for low carbon solutions, as well as the level of information to not buy the wrong thing. This is a connection that can only happen when you connect product development tools with procurement tools.

With that, there will then be an understanding of the material constraints and the production constraints that you need to have to make that product successfully.

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