PLM and Sustainability

Summary & Goals

The goal of the new PLM Green Global Alliance discussion forum and working group on PLM and Sustainability is to promote activities that positively contribute to the seventeen United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. In particular, we will focus on those topics where PLM-enabling technologies have a role to make a difference; relevant for the SDGs 7-8-9-11 and 12.

The general subject of Sustainability is a very wide and diverse topic that is globally covered by many organizations. Our alliance will focus on the application and value of PLM-related strategies, technologies, software solutions and consulting services to contribute to a more Sustainable future. This is a subject matter that no other professional PLM organization have taken up as a priority, though more industrial users and solution providers are increasingly interested.

Theme Moderators

Focus & Objectives

The goals and challenges of Product Lifecycle Management and Sustainability share much in common and should be considered synergistic. Where in theory, PLM is the strategy to manage a product along its whole lifecycle, Sustainability is concerned not only with the product’s lifecycle but should also address sustainability of the users, industries, economies, environment and entire planet in which the products operate.

The most significant difference between PLM and Sustainability is in the traditional lifecycle of products. Manufacturers often do not take their products’ full lifecycle footprint and costs into account. Reducing products and processes that create waste and are a negative impact on the planet’s lifecycle have only recently become more important and are still not a priority in many industries.

Like modern PLM practices, Sustainability also requires systems thinking. Solving one of the 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) can positively or negatively influence the other Sustainability Development Goals.

In the same manner, developing a product should also be performed through the lens of system thinking. The product lifecycle starts from choosing its solution concept (i.e., which materials and what environmental impact) through its manufacturing process, then usage and finally its recycling or repurposing. The goal is to avoid a landfill.

We passionately believe that implementing data-driven, end-to-end PLM practices can help organizations to understand, measure, and analyze the consequences of their product design, methods of production, and supply chain choices on the planet’s lifecycle. Investigating, documenting, and minimizing this impact with examples is a key objective of the PLM and Sustainability discussion group.

Specific topics we wish to discuss further in this forum include how PLM can be used to:

  • Make products and processes more efficient and green
  • Understand and measure the impact on the carbon footprint of design decisions and production processes, along with changes to them
  • Develop, distribute, and use new sources of renewable green energy
  • Design products and their lifecycles to be sustainable
  • Recycle, reuse, or repurpose assets, materials, and natural resources
  • Enhance the resiliency and Sustainability of infrastructures, communities and economies

We invite others to nominate additional topics important to their businesses and then help us to prioritize our efforts going forward.

Agenda & Activities

We will be pursuing the stated objectives by a plan composed from several elements which may include topical focus groups, articles and blog posts, book reviews, recorded interviews, industry surveys, conference panels, webinars, and cooperation with other organizations. This plan will be developed in collaboration with members using small discussion groups. To follow our progress or better yet join us by sending an email to info@plmgreenalliance.com.

Announcements & Updates

Check back soon as we finalize and announce our activities for 1H2021, or register HERE to receive our news updates.

Invitation to Participate & Collaborate

To participate in our PLM and Sustainability group, we invite you to first join the PLM Green Global Alliance LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12304531/ then contact one of our moderators.

References & Resources

Coming soon to this page will be a curated list of featured white papers, blog posts, presentations, case studies, webinars, survey results, and recorded interviews on the role of PLM-enabling technologies in addressing sustainability. We invite you to send us examples you have come across in your own work, company, or industry.to info@plmgreenalliance.com.