Cradle to Grave: Definition, Analysis & Approach

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  • 0:01 Cradle to Grave
  • 0:26 Cradle to Grave Analysis
  • 1:59 Cradle to Grave Approach
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Winston

Kimberly has a MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

In this lesson, you will learn about the cradle to grave approach. This lesson will explore how businesses use cradle to grave analysis to improve products and better serve their customers. Then you can finish by testing your newfound knowledge with a quiz!

Cradle to Grave

What is the first thing that you think about when you hear the term cradle to grave? The cradle is where you start life, and, of course, the grave is where you end it. In business, the term cradle to grave is used in reference to a firm's perspective on the environmental impact created by their products or activities from the beginning of its life cycle to its end or disposal.

Cradle to Grave Analysis

The cradle to grave perspective on a firm's environmental impact acknowledges that a certain amount of waste is the cost of doing business. Firms seek to lessen waste as much as possible. Toward this end, firms conduct cradle to grave analysis, also known as a life cycle assessment, to understand their environmental impact. A cradle to grave analysis does three things: collects, evaluates, and interprets data associated with the environmental impact of a firm.

There are five steps in conducting a cradle to grave analysis:

Step 1: Define the objective of the analysis

In other words, you have to ask the fundamental question: Why am I conducting the analysis? A toy manufacturer, for instance, may conduct an analysis on an action figure. They may want to conduct the analysis to see if it is possible to reduce the amount of waste that occurs from packaging.

Step 2: Define the scope of the analysis

This step should answer the questions: who, what, when, where, and how. Who is going to conduct the analysis? What will be included? When and where will it take place? And, how will the analysis be conducted? Analysis may focus on such areas as the extraction of raw materials, product manufacturing, how the product is transported, how the customer uses the product, and how the product is disposed of.

Step 3: Collect background data

Step 4: Collect data by conducting interviews, through observation, or with a combination of the two

Step 5: Interpret the collected data and create an action plan

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