Example Of Essay On Ethics And Life Cycle Assessment (Lca)
The ability of companies to develop products that meet the demand of target consumers is a major step towards profit maximization. Companies take advantage of the ever changing consumer demand to launch new products that are in line with the consumer taste and preferences (Kroll & Mark 3). To achieve success, proper design strategies are carried out to ensure that the products appeal to buyers. The mobile phone industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world. Mobile Phone companies are coming with various innovative designs of phones in a bid to meet the dynamic consumer tastes. As an engineering team, our concern is to develop a phone design that would appeal to customers. In designing disposable phones that last between twelve and twenty four months, certain ethical issues usually arise (Wang 2). Thus, the aim of this paper is to examine the ethics regarding the LCA processes involved in developing and use of new phones.
Life Cycle Assessment
LCA is a technique that that is used to assess ethical and environmental aspects relating to product manufacturing or service delivery. It compiles an inventory into environmental release of materials and evaluates the likely impacts of these releases to the environment in regards to the four stages in the manufacturing processes. These stages include design, fabrication, operation and disposal. The completion of these stages constitutes a life cycle.
Design involves drawing a frame that describes the shape, orientation and dimensions of the phone. Designers have moral obligation to design environmentally friendly products. Thus, assessment in the design process should be based on the capacity of the designers to embrace ethical standards and environmentally friendly technologies (Kurnianan 25). This assessment should regard whether the design department of this company can carry out design techniques that consumers can identify with. Their ability to solve existing problems in the design rather than transfer the problems to the users constitutes an ethical question that the assessment should determine. Designers must, therefore, act in an ethical manner and develop deeper understanding of the various ethical conflicts that may arise in the design process (Wang 5). Whatever designers shape or design has the ability to shape human beings afterwards. Designers ought to know the duration for which the product would last and develop a design that can match to its expiry date. While carrying out design, designers have a moral obligation to participate in ecological preservation.
This process involves manufacturing or processing the new phones. The raw materials are converted into finished products before they are packaged for distribution. Fabrication strictly follows the design requirements. All the features contained in the phone are provided for in the design of the phone. If in the process of fabrication, it is discovered that the design stage omitted some critical feature, the fabrication process cannot be carried out (Van Biljon 523). This is because the production process relies on the design to ensure a replication of phone with the same design. Phones are usually identified according to the various designs. The products are then packaged and distributed to consumers. Various ethical and environmental issues arise during this LCA process (Han 16). The manufacturing of raw materials releases emissions into the atmosphere that have far reaching implications to human health. The resulting products of the fabrication process include the new phones and gaseous emissions that present a delicate balancing act.
The ethical issues arising in the operation of new phones include distraction while driving, privacy concerns and detrimental effect on health. Studies have shown that prolonged cell phone use can increase the risk of bran tumor. LCA would involve determining the impacts of this product to the life of the users and their environment. This assessment should consider the possible implications of this product. Operation is the most crucial stage in the life cycle assessment process. Coming after the fabrication process, operation involves utilizing the product. It means that the production process is completed and that the product is in use by various consumers.
Disposal of the phone is the final stage of the LCA process. The assessment would determine the disposal mechanisms after the expiry of the phone. Do these mechanisms promote the well being of the users? Are there ethically sensitive processes for disposal? These two questions can provide the basis upon which a life cycle assessment can be carried out (Han 17). While disposal should be done in a manner that promotes high ethical and social responsibilities, the adverse effects on the environment has been due to irresponsible disposal mechanisms that raise ethical concerns.
Canadian market versus market in a relatively undeveloped country
When designing for a Canadian market, the phones should have various specifications such as internet and ability to access numerous applications. The Canadian market is choosy and will most likely to go high-cost phones. On the other hand, undeveloped countries usually have preferences for goods that expire after short time because of their relatively reduced prices. Taking greater account of the user perceptions and capabilities in undeveloped countries is important due to the high levels of illiteracy in these areas. This is because many people in undeveloped countries use phones for banking services. Thus, a user interface that that is easy to operate should be emphasized in the design process (Han 25). On the other hand, phone users in the Canadian market may be least bothered by the technical design due to relative exposure to technology.
Han, Sung H., et al. "Identifying mobile phone design features critical to user satisfaction." Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries 14.1 (2004): 15-29.
Kurniawan, Sri. "Mobile phone design for older persons." interactions 14.4 (2007): 24-25.
Kroll, Braden W., and Mark W. Kroll. "Disposal emergency cellular phone." U.S. Patent No. 6,115,597. 5 Sep. 2000.
Van Biljon, Judy, Paula Kotzé, and Gary Marsden. "Motivational needs-driven mobile phone design." Human-Computer Interaction–INTERACT 2007. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2007. 523-526.
Wang, Zongjiang. "The study of smart phone development based on UML." Computer Science and Service System (CSSS), 2011 International Conference on. IEEE, 2011.