2015/07/05 10:35 Plenary panel, “Industrial Experiences of Industrial Ecology”, ISIE, U. Surrey

Plenary panel talks by Dr. Sarah Sim, Unilever; Kieran Mayers, Sony; Kirstie McIntyre, HP, at “Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology”, 8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, University of Surrey, Guildford, July 7-10, 2015

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship by David Ing.

Plenary talks for ISIE 2015 are by contributors to an open access volume, Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology, available online as open access e-book from Springer in fall 2015.  See the table of contents and the Springer book description.

Panel Discussion A: Industrial Experiences of Industrial Ecology

  • [Alternate panel discussion B was: Policy Applications of Industrial Ecology]

Moderated by Chris France, Director of Engineering Doctorate in Engineering Technology, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University Surrey

  • Industry, with academics focusing on other

Sarah Sim, “The Role of Science in Shaping Sustainable Business”

[Sarah Sim, Unilever]

Unilever: home care, personal care, food

Approach to science over past 20 years

  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Footprint over 2000 products annually, on water
  • Growing business with environmental impact


  • Forestry
  • Sustainable
  • Water
  • Into systems thinking, rather than portfolio thinking

Systems thinking

  • Irreversibility
  • Corporate decisions in broader perspective
  • Some predictive, not taken into LCA so far
  • 1. Scale, e.g. bio-based
  • 2. Spatial recognition
  • 3. ?

Systems thinking

  • Micro level assessments
  • New macro level assessments

Planetary boundary relevance to Unilever

  • Held workshop last fall

Kieran Mayers, Practical implications of product-based environmental legislation

[Kieran Mayers, Sony Computer Entertainment]

Worked in IBM, HP, Now in Sony

Graduated in environment degree from Surrey, then Yale

Where are we now?

  • In 1990s, environmental solutions were focused on end of pipe
  • Then read Graedel’s book, on life cycle
  • Requires new approaches new skill
  • Moving forward difficult
  • Supply chains are difficult, hard to influence whole
  • Technology changing quickly
  • Practically, hard to move forward

Life cycle management is no longer optional, mandated

  • 1. Production, limit hazardous substances, e.g. 36 restrictions, are finding 50% of companies faile
  • 2. Use, mandatory standby power limits, auto power down; e.g. voluntary consumption
  • 3. End-of-life:  Now pay about 1-2 million Euros for Playstations


  • Chemistry and material use
  • Power testing
  • Stock management
  • Business management, e.g. SAP
  • Products
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Chimcal analysis
  • Supply chain anagement
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Recycling and wast emanagement

Only 3 of above is covered in today’s curriculum

We know about diagnosis, but challenged about treatment

Kirstie McIntyre, Circular Economy @HP

[Kirstie McIntrye, HP]

One of 320,000 HP employees

Circular economy understood/internalized at HP

  • Bringing into products, services, customers

Global market trends, some world changes, some resource changes, moving at speed and scale

  • Netflix as access over ownership:  few buy DVDs today
  • Building relationships with customers:  customers who come back are cheaper than getting new customers; moving from transactional sales to repeat relationships
  • Big data and analytics to tailor offerings
  • Extended corporate responsibilities: not enough to comply with regulation, have to take it further, customers should know where materials come from, no child labour, transparent supply chain; can repair/refurbish
  • Brand loyalty
  • Growth of the middle class, particularly in BRICS: won’t be able to buy the raw materials that those people can purchase, service not just to large companies and governments but instead individuals

Where does HP focus?

  • First IT company to publish carbon footprint
  • Shows where we need to focus
  • Most is around energy use of products
  • At Climate Summit conference in NY, executive said would reduce by 40% by 2020
  • Then, resource efficiency materials will become much more important


Diagnosis and treatment?

  • When graduating from an IE program, have skills to diagnose
  • But then product-based legislation means have to start over
  • Producing compliance schemes for responsibility
  • Track and trace across supply chain
  • Have to make it up as you go along

This community does environment assessment and methodology development.  Do companies use it, e.g. LCA was uncertainty or dynamic?

  • At Unilever, in R&D, have a center that focuses from beginning through products
  • Need to support decisions from early to late
  • Have incorporated new methodologies
  • Trying to incorporate uncertainty better
  • Want to make decisions more robust
  • Planetary boundaries, looking at operationalizing

Circular economy at scale?

  • Unilever growth agenda would mean a growth in raw materials
  • Can look for efficiencies, sustainable agriculture
  • Will have some language changes
  • From petro to chemicals
  • Where will land expansion come from?  Mitigation? Deforestation commitment?