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Unformatted text preview: y and the potential implications and opportunities related to
sustainability (underway internally, but just getting started in late 2006 relative to
external customers). Sub-teams of eight or nine network members were designated to support each initiative. The
teams also worked collaboratively since many projects were interconnected and shared common
goals. For example, the electronics network collaborated on developing product questionnaires
for buyers to use with suppliers. The purpose of these was to help buyers begin asking more
questions about the environmental impacts of the products Walmart was purchasing (see Exhibit
7 for a sample).
Another issue requiring cross sub-team collaboration was related to hazardous substances, such
as lead, cadmium, and mercury, contained in many electronics. Computers and other electronics
accounted for as much as 40 percent of the lead in U.S. landfills,32 even though 80 percent of the
e-waste collected for recycling was being exported to developing countries where the toxic
components led to pollution levels that were hundreds of thousands of times higher than those
allowed in developed countries,33 as well as tragic, large-scale human health effects. While the
e-waste team was working to dispose safely of lead and other hazardous substances in
electronics, the materials innovation group was seeking ways to get them removed from
computers in the first place.
Materials Innovation Project: Buying RoHs Compliant Computers
One of the first quick wins in the electronics network was related to the issue of eliminating
hazardous chemicals from production. Alex Cook, an electronics buyer and member of the
sustainability network, was making a standard visit to a computer supplier in China in March
2005 when he noticed that the company was running two manufacturing lines for the same
product. Inquiring about the reason, he was told that one line made traditional computers for the
U.S. while the other made RoHS-compliant computers for customers in Europe. RoHS
(Restriction on Hazardous Substances) was a directive by the European Parliament to restrict...
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2014 for the course LGST 210 taught by Professor Sep during the Winter '10 term at UPenn.
- Winter '10