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Life-Cycle Thinking

Greener, from cradle to grave

Life-Cycle Thinking (LCT) is an important part of the Design for Environment process that helps us evaluate the environmental impact of our products.

The life-cycle of a set-top box starts when the materials to make it are extracted, and ends with its disposal. We make it our business to directly or indirectly influence most of the environmental effects of this life-cycle, although there are some that are out of our control, such as the length of time an end user keeps the set-top box switched on. See the diagram below (click for larger version).

Lifecycle of a set-top box - Diagram (click for larger version)

Life-Cycle Thinking helps our designers to understand that efforts to reduce environmental impact at one stage of the cycle may trigger a disproportionate impact later. It's about thinking the whole cycle through in order to achieve the best overall result.

For instance, selecting an alternative raw material may reduce environmental impacts later on in the set-top box manufacturing process. Similarly, a different design approach may make a product easier to disassemble at the end of its life and more likely to be recycled.

Overall, we consider the principal environmental effects of our activities to be:

  • energy consumption (and any associated greenhouse gas emissions) during operation of our products by end users;
  • energy consumption, waste production and resource use associated with the operation of our facilities;
  • greenhouse gas emissions associated with the above, and business and product transport;
  • resource use in relation to the materials used to build and package the product; and
  • indirect impacts associated with the manufacture, transport and final disposal of the product at the end of its life.

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