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:

Cosmo-Local Production

Cosmo-Local Production is a methodology for creating value and products and services that are inspired by the following basic rules: it marries the planetary globalization of knowledge, the 'smart' localization of production, and both local and planetary mutualization, i.e. marrying distributed making and global open innovation:

1) the subsidiarity of material production: i.e. localizing production where sensible, in order to bring production closer to the places of need, support the local economy, and substantially diminish the human footprint

2) global knowledge collaboration through open and global design communities, that bring innovation to bear on all participating distributed places of production

3) the choice for 'generative' models of entreprise in terms of property and governance mechanisms, to give all producers and stakeholder communities a voice

For an extensive framing but also many detailed case studies, see:

* The Cosmo-Local Reader. Ed. José Ramos, Sharon Ede, Michel Bauwens and Gien Wong. P2P Foundation, 2021.


  • See also this new model of cosmo-local production: Multifactory Models for the Community Economy
    • Article: The rise of community economy : from coworking spaces to the multifactory model. By Lorenza Victoria Salati, Giulio Focardi. - Sarajevo : Udruženje Akcija, 2018. [1]

"We want to understand and to show this new idea of workplaces: local, fast, easy, versatile, sustainable under a social and environmental point of view. ... The result of this research is the Multifactory Model, a model of intervention designed to be a guide for all those who want to create, from scratch, a shared workspace based on concepts of collaboration, mutual aid, social innovation, sustainability, and the free flow of knowledge"

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." (

Key Report on a infrastructure for sustainable production

* P2P Accounting for Planetary Survival: Towards a P2P Infrastructure for a Socially Just Circular Society. By Michel Bauwens and Alex Pazaitis. Foreword by Kate Raworth. P2P Foundation, 2019.

URL = Draft text ; draft illustrations

How shared perma-circular supply chains, post-blockchain distributed ledgers, protocol cooperatives, and three new forms of post-capitalist accounting, could very well save the planet.


"The present political economy is geared entirely toward "value-added" operations within a worldview of exponential growth. As you identify policies or activities that are geared toward *value-restored* or *value-replenished* operations within in a framework of logistic growth (e.g., carrying capacity), I think we may find the leverage points we are seeking."

- James Quilligan [2]

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 [3]

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 [4]

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 [5]


  • Graph One: Corporate versus Open-Source Technics. Source

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

Key Resources

Key Articles



  • * The Matrix of Convivial Technology – Assessing technologies for degrowth. By Andrea Vetter. Journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 197, Part 2, 1 October 2018, Pages 1778-1786 [10]

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

General Resources


P2P Foundation Authors

Key Books

  • David MacKay [13]. Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air.

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

  • Vaclav Smil [14]. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. [15]: dematerialization works but is systematically offset by growth imperative.

Key Documentaries

  • System Reset to Sustainable Manufacturing: "Imagine if we built an economic system built on abundance rather than scarcity. Taking advantage of the latest digital tools, computational power, material science, biomimicry and a somewhat older idea - the commons - this new system could have the power to transform how we live and work. System Reset is a feature-length documentary which explores this story of change in our economy." [16]

Key Movements

  • The MakerNet Alliance is "a global network of people and organizations building the knowledge and tools to enable a future of sustainable, globally networked local manufacturing". ​[17]

Key Research Projects


Key Statistics

Pages in category "Sustainable Manufacturing"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 378 total.

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