The event was co-organised with the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA), and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
City, University of London hosted 2050: Appliances of the Future on Wednesday, 21st September 2021. The event was co-organised with the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
2050: Appliances of the Future, taking the theme, 'Sustainable Appliances', considered the challenges of change and the role consumer appliances have to play in delivering sustainability and the net zero home.
Three main strands were explored:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
Following a welcome and introduction of the day’s agenda from Executive Dean of the School of Science and Technology, Professor Rajkumar Roy, the opening address was delivered virtually by Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The first keynote address was delivered by Teresa Arbuckle, Managing Director (UK and Republic of Ireland) of Arcelik/Beko, who gave penetrating insights into the company’s efforts at producing sustainable appliances and embedding a commitment to sustainability throughout the value chain.
There were three sessions through the day and a tour of City’s compressor and energy engineering facilities during the lunch break.
Director-General of Applia, Paolo Falcioni, kicked off Session 1 – The Net Zero Transition Pathway, with a keynote address. Applia is a Brussels-based trade association that provides a single, consensual voice, for the home appliance industry in Europe, promoting industry’s mission to advance European lifestyles. Mr Falcioni spoke of the need for more appliance repair networks which should be supported by legislation.
Chaired by Graham Russell of BEIS/OPSS, the Innovation panel discussion featured Professor Naser Sayma, Paulo Falcioni, Teresa Arbuckle, and Paula Chin (World Wildlife Fund, Senior Policy Adviser)
Session 2 – Owner Behaviours and New Business Models, saw the keynote address delivered by Fiona Dear, Co-Director of the Re-Start Project. She said that E-waste (electronic waste) is the fastest-growing waste stream and that in 2019, the UK was the second biggest producer of e-waste in 2019. The panel discussion which followed was chaired by Martyn Allen (Technical Director, Electrical Safety First) and featured Fiona Allen, Sophia David (Head of Sustainable Behaviours, BEIS), Jane Parsons (Citizens Advice) and Simone Fisher (Executive Director at the Product Care Group).
Session 3 – The Circular Economy Challenge featured a keynote address by Dr Mark Miodownik (Materials scientist, engineer and University College London researcher) who spoke about the work of the UCL Big Repair project and Plastic Waste Innovation Hub. The ensuing panel discussion chaired by Wendy Middleton (Deputy Director, BEIS), featured Dr Miodownik, John Erkoyuncu (Head of the Centre for Digital Engineering at Cranfield University, Eve Bermell (Supply Chain Manager, Fisher & Paykel) and James Butterworth (Senior Policy Officer, DEFRA).
This year’s 2050: Appliances of the Future event followed last year’s successful ‘2050: Fridge of the Future’ conference (also hosted at City) which was aimed at understanding 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 it would have on product safety. The discussions during 2021 event 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.