Since its formation in early 1982, the Product-Life Institute is a not-for-profit independent organization domiciled in Geneva, Switzerland.
Our main objectives are to open new frontiers of economic development towards a Functional Service Economy that focuses on selling performance (services) instead of goods (product liability), internalizing all costs (cradle to cradle or circular economy), product-life extension, long-life goods, reconditioning activities and waste prevention.
The vision is a sustainable economy and society resting on five pillars:
- The first pillar – 'nature conservation' – recognizes the need to conserve nature and the natural environment as a base for life on earth. Men's life is based on the resources supplied by the global eco-support system for life on the planet (e.g. biodiversity, the atmosphere and the oceans), and the regional carrying capacity of nature with regard to populations and their lifestyle (e.g. the water cycle, land-use patterns, waste assimilation).
- The second pillar – 'limited toxicity' – recognizes the need to conserve the individual health and safety of people and animals, which is jeopardized by man's economic activities. This is a qualitative issue, measuring the presence of toxic agents (heavy metals such as mercury, nickel, DDT or thalidomide) in tiny quantities (nanograms) as well as nature's capacity of absorption .
- The third pillar – 'resource productivity' – is based on the need of industrialized countries to dematerialize their life-style, in order to allow the material development of industrially less developed countries. This is a domain of innovation and creativity, dominated by business strategies that lead to a higher resource productivity over long periods of time. A reduction of resource consumption by a factor ten is needed to prevent the threat of a radical change for the planet towards a re-acidification and/or climate change which could question man's life on Earth. In addition, this is a factor of disequilibrium between over-industrialized countries and less industrialized ones.
- The fourth pillar – ’social ecology’ – encompasses the fabric of societal structures, including peace and human rights, dignity and democracy, employment and social integration, security and safety, the constructive integration of female and male attitudes. Key words here are: the commons, 'prisoners dilemma', sharing and caring, barter economy.
- The fifth pillar – ’cultural ecology’ – encompasses education and knowledge, ethics and culture, attitudes towards risk taking, values of 'national heritage' and other assets, at the level of the individual, the corporation and the State.
We are pursuing these objectives
- through applied scientific research,
- as consultants to industrial companies, government authorities and universities,to promote and coach the realization of the envisioned sustainable solutions and innovations.