ARCHIVE: Product roadmaps
Defra is piloting product roadmaps to help improve the environmental performance of ten priority products.
- What is a product roadmap?
- What products are Defra looking at?
- How have these products been selected?
- What is a product ‘life cycle’?
- What are 'impacts' and how will they be addressed?
A product roadmap is a process to help us better understand the environmental and, in some cases, wider sustainability impacts of a particular product and the ways in which these impacts can be mitigated. The roadmaps aim to:
- identify the impacts that occur across each product’s life cycle
- identify existing actions being taken to address those impacts
- develop and implement a voluntary action plan to address any gaps.
The roadmaps are being developed gradually and collaboratively with a range of government and business stakeholders.
The pilot product roadmaps focus on the following ten products from four high impact product areas:
Food and drink
Clothing and textiles
Evidence shows that certain product groupings generate most of the overall impacts on the environment at both a domestic and international level.
For example the EU-25 study, ‘The environmental impact of products’ (EIPRO), a principal EU source of evidence, shows that four product groupings account for 70-80% of all environmental impacts and 60% of consumer expenditure. These are:
- food and drink (20-30% of impacts)
- housing, including buildings, construction and appliances (20-35% of impacts)
- passenger transport (15-35% of impacts)
- clothing (5-10% of impacts)
Data is not currently available below this level to indicate which particular products have the highest impacts.The ten selected products were chosen to provide a variety of examples, and all of them were known to cause significant environmental impacts in at least one area or life cycle stage.
This refers to the stages a product progresses through, typically these include: raw material, production, distribution and retail, consumer use and end of life.
At the different life cycle stages, impacts can include:
- Environmental: including greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, resource depletion and biodiversity loss
- Social: including child labour, health and safety risks, poor working conditions and low wages
- Economic: including costs and benefits for business, and international development
How will impacts be addressed?
Through the road mapping process we are working to agree a voluntary action plan for each product, containing a range of practical actions to improve sustainability performance. These include actions by business, Government and others.
Page last modified: 8 June 2009