By Sa Nyoung Kim
Global warming and climate change have contributed to a green consumer revolution whereby more people are buying goods they consider less harmful to the environment, while also promoting healthy lifestyles. As such, more consumers want products that have reduced negative impact on the natural surroundings.
The environmental impact or footprint of a product is defined as any positive or negative effect on the ecosystem during its entire lifecycle from manufacture to disposal. IGI Global, a leading science publisher defines eco-friendly products as those that protect the environment during production, use and disposal.
Factors determining the environmental footprint of a product include amount of natural resources used to produce it, quantity of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) it emits when in use, and the level of toxicity when ultimately disposed. Lowering the amount of resources consumed in manufacturing eases pressure on Nature and facilitates sustainable use of vital but scarce raw materials.
Take the case of home appliances like televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, cookers, and ovens. These require electricity to function but also release carbon dioxide and other GHGs, not to mention air pollution. Research by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions reveals that home appliances consume one-third of electricity in households thus contributing significantly to GHG emissions globally.
Hence the need to consider their long-term environmental implications at the time of purchase. Fortunately, the latest home appliance technology incorporates innovative applications that improve performance while minimizing water and electricity consumption as well as emission of harmful gases.
For example, some washing machines come with intuitive technology based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling them to use much less water and energy. Televisions or refrigerators that use less power mean less bills. Air conditioners that have advanced air purification systems curb pollution and presence of illness-causing allergens.
The benefits to the consumer of buying such eco-friendly gadgets include enhanced energy efficiency, more economical consumption, and improved home environment by cutting indoor pollution.
However, some of the cutting-edge home technology may appear expensive when making that purchase decision, but they save the user money in the long run as they are cost efficient, besides protecting the health of families.
At LG Electronics, we champion the use of environmentally beneficial appliances that have minimal impact on the ecosystem. LG has a green product strategy that entails developing products that limit damage to the indoor and outdoor surroundings throughout their lifespan. These include products that are easier to use and consume less resources during manufacture, use and disposal.
Recently, LG was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index which ranks leading companies in terms of reducing the environmental impact of products – from design and production to packaging and transportation, use and disposal. We consider this an affirmation of our long-standing commitment to developing innovative products that minimize negative impact on the Planet over their life-cycle.
We have also been identified by Corporate Knights, a leading media and financial products firm, as one of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world in terms of embracing key environmental, social and governance metrics.
As a company we have committed to transitioning completely to renewable energy by 2050 as a core aspect of our sustainability strategy. As a business, we are on track to reduce carbon emissions generated at our sites globally by fifty per cent by 2030 compared to 2017 levels, while simultaneously expanding its use of renewable.
Consumers benefit through an improved home environment through reduced noise and pollution from home appliances and anti-bacterial and anti-allergy features. Packaging that is recyclable and reusable is safe and healthy for individuals and communities but is also manufactured using non-toxic, bio-degradable materials.
In the end, the consumer saves money and the world we live in is much healthier and safer.
(Mr Kim is the MD, LG East Africa).
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