Category:Sustainable Manufacturing

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New section to focus on the link between open hardware, distributed manufacturing, and ecological/sustainability concerns

or, as they say so well in French:

* "Pour un mode de production, libre, durable et solidaire".

i.e. for a free, fair and sustainable mode of production.


Commons-Based Peer Production and the associated 'open source stack', are a key ingredient for our sustainable future. Here's a summary of the arguments:

  • design in market entities entails planned obsolescence as market goods have to remain scarce; open design communities inherently design for sustainability, interoperability, inclusion, etc ..
  • shared design is crucial for a circular economy, which can't really develop easily with privatized knowledge
  • the Cosmo-Localization of production allows for a relocalization of production based on expressed local need, and avoids huge transportation expenditures as well as the systematic over-production of supply-driven mass markets

Some introductory material:

Introductory Discussion

On the concept of the ReMaker Society, by Stephen Quilley, Jason Hawreliak, Kaitlin Kish:

The model of the reMaker society is potentially significant for two reasons.

Firstly, decentralised, participatory ‘low overhead’ production models make it conceivable that at least some of the material culture that defines modern societies might be sustained and reproduced outside of the integrated formal economy that currently straddles the globe. By substituting for this globally integrated market, a series of networked and more embedded (in Polanyi’s sense) bioregional economies, the reMaker model would not obviate the cycling of growth, collapse and reorganization phases. But it would eliminate the possibility of large scale systemic collapse, whilst i.) reducing the local and regional ecological impacts of growth and ii.) the social consequences of periodic retrenchment.

Secondly, the reMaker model would allow alternative structures of political economy to emerge in tandem with more communitarian models of care, welfare and the provision of local public goods. Re-embedding economic activity and livelihood could conceivably see the re-emergence of the gift economy and reciprocity as important ‘planes of integration’ (Polanyi, 1968) and a reduced emphasis on mechanisms of both market and state. Examples might include public involvement in hospital care, familial and community home-schooling or community involvement in the repair and maintenance of public infrastructure. Because strategies for social emancipation have historically been so entwined with the expansion of both market and state in highly complex societies, such re-embedding scenarios raise difficult questions. Nevertheless, the reMaker society intimates a hitherto unacknowledged ‘adjacent possible’ i.e. a combination of state, (formal) market and (informal) communitarian reciprocity that could conceivably deliver modern technology and levels of innovation at a much lower ecological cost, and in the context of a much less individualistic post-consumer society." (


Ruben Nelson: Contemporary Civilizational Change needs to be global, conscious, and relatively fast

“In the past, all transitions in the forms of civilization were slow, local/regional, exclusive, optional and unconscious. Today, we are faced by the need to undertake a GT in our dominant form of civilization that, in contrast, must be fast (by any historic standard), scalable to the whole planet, inclusive of all 7.4 billion of us, recognized as required and conscious. This last requirement also implies that today we must not only be conscious about change at every scale, but must develop a capacity for meta-consciousness about change at every scale.” (

Jose Ramos on Cosmo-Localization

"Cosmo-Localization describes the dynamic potentials of the globally distributed knowledge commons in conjunction with emerging capacity for localized production of value. The imperative to create economically and ecologically resilient communities is driving initiatives for ‘re-localization’. Yet, such efforts for re-localization need to be put in the context of new technologies, national policy, transnational knowledge regimes and the wider global knowledge commons." (

On the Value Revolution that is taking place

"Under the radar of mass media and mainstream academia, a value revolution is taking place that is promising to transform humanity’s very notions of wealth and economic development. Expressed in an explosion of both traditional academic indicators and innovative new quality-of-life and sustainability measures, this value revolution is not simply revealing previously invisible “full costs” of production, but also “redefining progress” more positively—from quantity to quality. Economically, our ways of growing and distributing food, providing & using energy, building buildings, making and exchanging clothing, etc. are being reexamined not only to reduce their negative impacts, but also to more fully express their social and ecological potentials. They are geared not simply to the sustainability of communities and ecosystems, but to their regeneration—to make economic development, as eco-architect Bill McDonough would say, “not just less bad, but good.”

- Brian Milani [1]

The inherent sustainability of distributed manufacturing

"Personal-scale manufacturing machines ... enable small manufacturers to make one product at a time in response to customer demand, and scale up production as the product sells. ... Regular people and small manufacturing companies that lack investment capital will be able to set up low investment, “start small and scale up as it goes” businesses. With local, onsite production, long-distance shipping of the completed item is no longer necessary. Products and parts can be made only when they’re needed, saving on storage space and the costs of maintaining un-used goods and products."

- Hod Lipson & Melba Kurman [2]

A green economy is a knowledge-intensive economy

"A green economy is the ultimate knowledge-based economy: by definition, it replaces materials and energy with human intelligence. Both EPR and the non-governmental certification systems are based on the life-cycle approach and, increasingly, rigorous life-cycle assessment (LCA). But qualitative development involves far more than simply new values and information; it also demands a market and regulatory revolution, entailing a gradual—but fundamental—shift in the form, content and drivers of economic development. For a growing number of green thinkers, the main elements of this restructuring come down to (1) an increasing focus on producing services rather than products, and (2) reorganization of production and consumption in closed-loops, either integrated with, or imitating, ecosystems—what’s been called “economic biomimicry.” This cannot be achieved simply by beefing up environmental protection against nasty brown markets and production processes, but by a transformation that increasingly establishes social and ecological values as the prime driving forces of a new kind of market."

- Brian Milani [3]


  • Graph One: Corporate versus Open-Source Technics. Source
Table1 sus manufacturing.png

  • Graph Two: The Modern Industrial System vs Open Source Production. Source
Comparison production.png

Key Resources

Key Articles


P2P Foundation Project on the Thermo-Dynamic Efficiences of Commons-Based Peer Production

General Resources

P2P Foundation Authors

Key Books

  • David MacKay [8]. Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air.

(calculats whether the UK could transfer to a 100% renewable energy economy. His answer: 'yes, but'.)

  • Vaclav Smil [9]. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. [10]: dematerialization works but is systematically offset by growth imperative.

Key Research Projects

Key Statistics


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Pages in category "Sustainable Manufacturing"

The following 143 pages are in this category, out of 143 total.