Ensuring sustainability in every product we develop

DeLaval has always looked at sustainability criteria when developing a product. But in the past two years, the product development teams have raised the bar a notch. A Product Management & Development (PMD) and Digital Services Sustainability Group has been established to integrate sustainability into everything we do.

“We’re a tactical forum,” says Anna Lindquist, Director Strategic Program Office. “We are initiating what we call ‘enabler projects.’ These are projects that make it easier for the organisation to work with sustainability. This will be an important foundation for future improvements in the area of sustainability.”

Lindquist explains that the goal is to make it simpler for the organisation to do the right thing. For example, they are working on including improvement goals into new projects.

“It should be easy to integrate sustainability goals into any product development project,” says Lindquist. “So, we are including sustainability requirements into the product development process for example.”

“We’re also looking at how we can use an LCA (life-cycle analysis) tool to help the organisation in its decision-making. This will help us understand if it’s better to choose a metal or plastic component for a product for example. An LCA tool can help us understand the most sustainable option.”

The tool will also help them understand if energy usage is the biggest emissions factor when a product is in use, or if it’s something else. This kind of information can affect how product development teams work at DeLaval and how they innovate. Armed with the right information, they can make better and more sustainable choices.

The sustainability group is also about to embark on assessing the company’s Scope 3 downstream emissions. Scope 3 downstream emissions are all the emissions that occur after a sold product has left the factory. So far, DeLaval has measured scope 1 and 2 emissions and scope 3 upstream emissions. The last piece of the puzzle are the downstream emissions and completing this measurement could affect how future products are developed.

“The downstream footprint could really help us,” says Lindquist. “By creating a baseline, we will have something to measure and can then monitor progress over time in a much better way.”

Lindquist says that the group is already seeing a difference across DeLaval. “There is a mentality shift within the organisation. There is a greater sustainability awareness today and a groundswell of interest with more and more colleagues wanting to learn more and contribute to our sustainability journey.”