There are a lot of things to consider when designing a product. One factor that is becoming increasingly more important is social responsibility. This is the impact that your product has on society and the world – not just the end user. Failing to consider social responsibility could damage your reputation and negatively impact your ability to attract customers. Here are just a few ways in which you can ensure that your product is socially responsible.
It’s important that your product causes minimal damage to the environment. This includes where you source your materials, how you manufacture the product, how you distribute the product and how the product is eventually used.
Almost all materials can cause environmental damage, but there are ways to reduce the negative impact. When using timber, you can source wood from sustainable forests so that you’re not contributing to deforestation. When using metal, you should consider recycled metal and steel. Plastic is ultimately the most troublesome material – if you can avoid using it, you should, however recyclable plastics are the next best option.
Meanwhile, during manufacture, you should consider any other environmental damage caused. Reducing waste is important – there are companies like https://www.ceratizit.com/ that can recycle waste metal for you, while other companies may be able to put waste plastic and timber to use. You should also try to reduce the energy required to power machinery, as well as reducing any pollutants that are given off in the air. Shop around for machinery that is energy-efficient and that gives off minimal fumes (or outsource a manufacturer that already uses such machinery).
You may also want to consider ways of reducing environmental damage when your product is being distributed and used. If the bulk of your customers live in another country, it may make sense to manufacture some of your product there to minimize transport costs. As for products like electrical appliances, consider ways of making these more energy-efficient so that consumers aren’t using unnecessary energy.
No Animal Cruelty
You should also ensure that your product doesn’t cause unnecessary harm to animals. Avoiding animal testing is the most obvious way to do this. Growing concern for animal welfare is making more people intolerant of this behaviour. Articles as found at https://www.livescience.com offer information on some of the alternative options to animal testing.
Occasionally, animal cruelty and environmental damage can come hand in hand. An example of this could include using animal products that may involve the unnecessary slaughter of animals (e.g. using real animal fur in clothing). Where possible, try to always use artificial alternatives.
Fair labor is also an ethical concern to consider when designing a socially responsible product. This ensures that everyone involved in the manufacture of your product is fairly paid and fairly treated. A lot of companies outsource cheap labor from other countries when manufacturing their product. It’s important that these workers are getting enough money to live on, that they’re working in good conditions and that they’re of a suitable age (i.e. no child labor).
Many organizations, such as Fair Trade, have made it their mission to end unfair labor. Fail to treat workers fairly and you could find yourself at the receiving end of one of these organisations.