Green Design: Sourcing & Manufacturing

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  • 0:00 Green Design
  • 0:52 Sourcing
  • 2:49 Manufacturing
  • 4:12 Recycling and Reusing
  • 5:02 Green Design Companies
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you will understand what green design involves. You will see what it takes for a company to maintain its green design from its sourcing, to its manufacturing, and then to its recycling and reusing of materials.

Green Design

Today it is more important than ever to use our limited resources wisely. This is where green design comes in. We define green design as design that takes into consideration the sustainability of resources for future generations. Green design is also referred to as sustainable design. When companies operate with green design in mind, they make sure that they don't over-use the world's limited resources. And they take into consideration social, economic and environmental factors related to sustainability. Green design encompasses all aspects of a company's operation, from its sourcing, to its manufacturing and to its day to day operations.

In this lesson, we look at how a company can incorporate green design into its sourcing and manufacturing. Let's talk about these aspects in more detail now.


First, sourcing is when a company decides and chooses what kinds of resources it needs. We define green sourcing as finding environmentally friendly resources. These are resources that are replenished at a rate that is equal to or greater than the rate at which they are used. Also, these are resources that are not on the verge of extinction. By using these resources, a company won't harm the environment.

For example, instead of using fossil fuels a company can use corn oil instead. Instead of using wild-caught or harvested organisms, it can use organisms that are raised in farms. Let's look at what a fictional company called Wanda's Makeup does. This company examines how potential resources for developing makeup are currently used, and how much of them are available. Wanda's Makeup wants to make sure that by using any particular resource it won't harm the environment, nor another group of people or locality.

For example, if by using a certain resource Wanda's Makeup is taking away a crucial resource for the local people, then the company will choose another resource. Yes, it takes quite a bit of research for a green designed company to make sure its resources are sustainable socially, economically and environmentally.

So what does Wanda's Makeup do? After trekking through a rainforest in another continent to look for herbs and flowers, it sees that if the company begins to harvest these herbs and flowers from the rainforest it would actually harm the environment. It would also harm the local people who rely on these wild herbs and flowers. Doing a bit more research, Wanda's Makeup decides to get its herbs and flowers from a local farm. This particular farm is an all-organic farm that doesn't use harmful chemicals at any point in the farming process. And, buying local reduces the resources required for transportation.


Next comes manufacturing, the making of products. We define green manufacturing as using environmentally friendly methods to produce products. These methods try to conserve as much energy as possible. The manufacturing facility might install automatic sensor-based lighting, where if nobody is around the lights turn off by themselves. The facilities may also have solar panels installed to use less electricity. The facilities may also have in place recycling centers that possibly recycle the water and any other byproducts that the company uses.

Also, as it is making its products, the facility will try to make only the amount that is needed by its customers, reducing any extra waste in production.

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