By 2030, 1.5 billion people will move up to the middle class. Lifting them out of poverty is great news, but it raises the question of how to satisfy the needs of these new consumers and give them access to clean water and air as well as to proper food, housing and mobility solutions without exhausting the resources of our planet.
At WMF we are convinced that we can align 3 objectives that may seem contradictory: careful use of our natural resources, profitable growth for our industries, and fulfilling the needs of our citizens. And also convinced that we can design high value solutions at minimum cost.
In fact we started a while ago: with a smartphone today you can make a call, send a mail and take a picture and this all in an object weighing just 100 grams. 30 years ago, you needed 3 devices weighing 15 kilograms for the same functions, and with much less performance. So great progress already but still a lot to be done as manufacturing this 100g smartphone requires 70 kilos of materials and as less than 2 % of smartphones are recycled every year.
To move forward, we need to:
- Use less, which means both reducing the buy to use ratio (the 70 kgs for 100g in the smartphone), increasing end of life recycling and use recycled materials into new products.
- Use longer, which implies lengthening a product’s life span, and give more value to second hand products through easy retrofits.
- Use smart, by increasing the product performance per kilo of incoming materials or the full product usage: where aircraft are in service 50 to 70% of the time, cars are only 5 to 7%.
Tech solutions are plenty and experts in all sectors are working hard to come up with solutions including 3D Printing or Plastics Recycling that we reviewed at WMF 2016 or Internet of Things and New Mobility Solutions that we will review in a few days.
The difficulty is to put good ideas to work while involving all stakeholders of the value chain - industrialists, start ups, regulators and academics. This will be the purpose of our 2017 sessions on KPIs for Materials Efficiency and Better Growth, Recycling and Lightweighting or New Regulation Schemes.
So for our 3rd edition we will use our "WMF Lab" to collectively develop practical and actionable solutions. We have only one planet, not two. So, let’s be creative together if we want to make our Planet Great Again.
Looking forward to welcoming you soon in Nancy.
Philippe Varin et Victoire de Margerie