Sustainability and safety in the product lifecycle


approach of ‘make, use, dispose’. It’s a model which highlights sustainability and safety in the product lifecycle – particularly product end-of-life and the growing issue of built-in obsolescence, recycling and re-manufacturing.” Mr Allen added that it is fitting that this year’s conference title is A Sustainable Future.

“The event covers the evolution of

product safety,” he said, “as products need not only to be safe to use but also cyber-secure and sustainable.” Hosted over two mornings

For over a decade, Electrical Safety First has hosted a high-profile annual product safety conference ¬– to help future-proof business and protect the consumer. This year, for the first time in its 12-year history, it is being hosted online and is free to attend. Here, Martyn Allen, the charity’s

Technical Director, shares with ERT how the 2020 event – entitled A Sustainable Future – addresses both current issues and those on the horizon. “We live in a time of unprecedented,

rapid, technological change, along with social and economic uncertainty, amplified by COVID-19,” said Mr Allen. “No one knows what the ‘new normal’ may bring but it seems increasingly clear that we won’t return to our previous social or economic landscape. “Before COVID, we were already

aware of the climate crisis and increasing calls for a greener, cleaner future; but the pandemic has brought this issue into much sharper focus. Today, governments are increasingly interested in the circular economy, as an alternative to the traditional linear

(Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 November), the event will begin by considering how the sustainability agenda impacts on a range of critical industry and consumer safety issues. This year’s keynote speech will be given by Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy, Green Alliance, the environmental think tank and charity. Ms Peake will consider the relationships between sustainable products, the product lifecycle and the circular economy. She is followed by a panel discussion, with Graham Russell, CEO of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, Teresa Arbuckle, Beko’s MD for UK and Ireland, and Ugo Vallauri of The Restart Project, a social enterprise group concerned with sustainable electrical consumer goods.

Panellists will consider sustainability

in relation to product design, marketing and developing legislation, with a Q&A to follow. Then, if delegates are so inclined, they can follow up conversations in the sponsored chat rooms.

Continued Mr Allen: “Thursday’s agenda will focus on creative products

BBC consumer journalist, Linda McAuley, chaired last year’s Product Safety Conference.

and emerging tech. We will explore the potential ‘standards gap’ for new products and the security and safety issues arising from a smart home.” There will be an address from Paul

Scully MP, Minister of State for London and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Next, Editor of ERT, Jack

Cheeseman, will undertake a series of interviews with leading industry figures from Dyson, Intertek and the Consumer and Public Interest Network. Delegates will have the opportunity to question our experts. “Then we come to the final highlight of the conference,” said Mr Allen, “announcing the winner of our Safety Innovation Award. Created to recognise significant product safety initiatives, both within the industry and the wider community, it’s open to

relevant products or projects, from both organisations and individuals. “Over the years, topics introduced at our

annual product safety conference have been recognised as critical issues. Designed as a platform to bring trending and future themes to the fore, we aim to ensure all key stakeholders have the information they need to future-proof business and protect the consumer. Because knowledge powers sustainability.” Electrical Safety First would like to

thank the OPSS for its support and the conference sponsors: Intertek, Schneider Electric, UL and Whirlpool Corporation. The event takes place virtually on

the mornings of 4 and 5 November 2020. For more information, visit:

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