The Road to Net Zero. Partner Conference: AMDEA, City University of London and BEIS/OPSS.
2022 Conference Theme and Agenda: 'Sustainable Appliances'
Building on the outcomes of our 2021 event, this year’s conference will look at the challenges of change and the role consumer appliances have to play in delivering sustainability and the net zero home.
We will explore three key themes
1.) The Net Zero Transition Pathway: What actions are appliance manufacturers taking to reduce the ‘cradle to grave’ impact of appliance production, delivery, use, repair and recycling. Are there key hurdles to cross (regulation/geopolitical/resources/technology) to get to net zero? And if so, what are they?
- Technology and Materials - Where are the big wins to be made? How are they delivered?
- Innovation and Product Design - The role appliances will play in achieving net zero homes.
- Circular Economy Models - What is required and how do we deliver them?
- Net Zero regulatory framework development – Will the regulatory framework need to change and, if so, what changes are required?
2.) Owner Behaviours and New Business Models: What role does the user/householder have to play in achieving the net zero home. How do we encourage consumers to “Do it Right” in terms of purchase, use, repair/servicing and recycling?
What barriers are there to changing consumer behaviour? What incentives might increase the uptake of different behaviours and usage patterns?
Appliance use is growing, both in mature markets (the UK) and globally. Maximising the most efficient use of power generation requires a smarter approach to energy consumption, but how do we align these demands to a continued reduction? Will the increasing uptake of connected appliances address/ reduce areas of risk?
- Appliances within a smart home - What defines a smart appliance and how will they contribute to the net zero challenge?
- Responsible and ‘best practice’ owner behaviour - How do we achieve behaviour improvements?
- Changing business models - e.g. ‘pay for use’, rental.
- What are the real risks of appliance in home use? How do these compare with other risks we encounter in our daily lives?
- Safer by design - What measures can be taken in product design to reduce risk?
- Smart energy use - Are the risks of using appliances overnight/when out real or overstated? Do we need to change the narrative that actively discourages overnight appliance use (e.g. laundry)?
3.) Through-life Challenges: Extended life, multiple life, right to repair and the supply chain. How do we address the competing demands of consumer desires to purchase new appliances versus the increasing call to encourage extended life through increased servicing and repair?
- Extending life and multiple life use.
- Replace vs Repair - Is it all about the economics or are there other factors in play? How do we strike the balance between extended use, repair and recycling?
- Re-manufacturing or recycle?
- Design for through-life.
- The market for used appliances - Can this be a major supporter of the circular economy? If so, how do we deliver this?
- How will supply chains need to evolve to meet changing market requirements?
- Evolving security and cyber regulations - Do we have access to data that will support reduced risk? What’s missing and how might we get it?
- Through-life value creation.
Reflections on our joint 2021 ‘Fridge of the Future’ event.
The objective of this conference, and continuing events, is to understand what appliances in the future will likely look like, how this will be shaped by evolving demand, environment and new materials and technologies and what impact this will have on product safety. The discussion identified key themes for government, industry and other stakeholders to consider in order to improve the safety of white goods and reduce barriers to innovation.
Topics on the agenda included:
- What will appliances in the future look like?
- How will they be shaped by evolving demand, the environment and new technologies?
- What impact will this have on product safety and regulations in the future?
Some of the key outcomes and action points from last year’s conference were as follows:
- Changing user/consumer behaviour is essential to delivering against the sustainability/ environmental challenges. Personal responsibility is key to optimising the buy/use/recycle message.
- More consumers are becoming aware of the benefits of smart appliances, but there is still plenty of education needed to get them to use certain functions, such as eco settings.
- More regulation is needed to address connected appliances both now and, in the future, but it must also have the consumer’s safety at heart, while, at the same time, not stifle innovation.
- Connected technology has a huge potential to make appliances more convenient, more durable and more energy efficient, as well as safer.
- Different parties, such as manufacturers and retailers, but also consumer and public interest groups and environmental groups, as well as regulators, need to work closer together to address the issues involved around smart appliances.
- Innovation needs to be inclusive – it must work for everybody.
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