Jean-Luc Bessède, director of Innovation and Eco-design at Schneider Electric, talks to us about eco-design in his company.
For how long has Schneider Electric been committed to an eco-design approach? Jean-Luc Bessède: Eco-design is an idea that has exited at Schneider Electric for more than fifteen years. The company pre-empted the REACH and ROHS European directives and set up measures for limiting the use of certain dangerous substances that make up the materials. It also committed itself to recycling its products and life-cycle assessment by modelling their environmental impact, and by marking eco-designed products with a Green Premium label.
What are the advantages for the company when you set such constraints? J-L. B.: It is a win-win approach. By anticipating the demands of its clients and the regulatory requirements, the company proves that it is innovative and competitive. The current priority concerns energy consumption but the desire to reduce the environmental impact of our activities embraces other areas such as waste production and the consumption of raw materials. The company has now reached a plateau because the regulations are already very demanding in terms of the environment, especially regarding substances.
Given these conditions, what areas of improvement are still possible? J-L. B.: Other areas must be explored. Schneider Electric applies the eco-design approach to all its development activities and is committed to communicating the environmental characteristics of its products. It intends to publish an Eco-passport label or Product Environmental Profile (PEP) for all its major product families. The PEP will provide clients with information on environmental performance throughout a product's life cycle as well as information on better solutions for end-of-life treatment.