Welcome to PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment), the third international conference to address the product lifetimes in the context of sustainability. The conference will be held September 18-20, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, organised by Fraunhofer IZM in cooperation with Technische Universität Berlin.

While discussions on product lifetimes have been going on for a number of years, the topic has come to the forefront of current (political, scientific & societal) debates due to its interconnectedness with a number of prominent movements of the last years:

  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainable development and sustainable consumption
  • Sharing economy and collaborative consumption
  • Policy, regulation and legislation
  • Repair, DIY and maker communities
  • Premature obsolescence
  • Ecodesign and resource efficiency
  • Business models and servitisation

The 2019 PLATE conference encompasses these topics – whether they relate directly or indirectly to issues of product lifetimes and the environment  – and is open to all product types, consumption and productions sectors and applications.

To clarify the scope of the conference we would like to phrase a number of questions. If you are already involved, you may want to skip directly to the structured list of topics.

  • What exactly are product lifetimes and how can it be measured, calculated or estimated? How to determine initial product longevity (at the design stage, before products fail in the market)?
  • How are different product lifetimes affecting environment and society? What are the environmental or sustainability effects of shortened or prolonged product lifetimes?
  • How to design and produce durable and longer lasting products?
  • How can changes in use patterns and business models contribute to promoting longer product lifetimes? E.g. when is a focus on higher use intensity even more important that a longer lifetime?
  • How do alternative consumption practices, like repair, DIY, 3D-printing and collaborative consumption contribute to longevity?
  • Counterarguments and controversy welcome: when is an extension of product lifetimes neither good for the environment, for the society, for the customer or for the manufacturer? In which research fields or business sectors is a focus on product lifetimes meaningful?

Please mark the conference dates in your calendar, prepare ideas for the call for papers starting in September 2018 and spread the word, if you are engaged with these topics.

Dr. Nils F. Nissen & Dr. Melanie Jaeger-Erben
PLATE 2019 Conference Chairs

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