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New relationship between School Science Teachers and Technicians and Manufacturers of Science Equipment

23rd July 2021

IPC Irwin & The Environment

How an ethical business philosophy runs through planning, design, development, manufacture, and environmental issues.

In the past 10 years concerns about the environment have grown to the extent that we are all now aware that we are on the precipice of environmental disaster.   The UK Government and Governments around the world have been forced to act and as of 1st July 2021, companies must supply spare parts to allow repairs to be made to minimise the throwaway culture.   Further, companies involved in design and manufacture will be responsible for producing equipment that can be repaired and recycled.  

However, for some companies, this is not a new thing, IPC Irwin is living proof that products that are well made, repairable and recyclable as well as enhancing learning can be successful.  Since the late 1950s, the birth of the Nuffield Science Project, IPC Irwin has designed and produced equipment which met the criteria of today and have been influential in developing science teaching and learning.

The essence of good design recognises current and future issues and instead of taking short term, short sighted, short cuts, builds future proofing into design and manufacture.  Longevity in products is now the buzzword around the world forced by environmental issues and the effect that this will have on the global economy.  IPC Irwin products are still in use after forty years. Built in obsolescence will become a thing of the past.   This will consign manufacturers who pander to the short-term financial gains with disregard to quality, safety, relevance to education and the environment to the wilderness as sustainable ethical business takes over.  This is a factor in the renaissance of UK manufacturing. Irwin have been ahead of this since the 1950s.

Is this simply the Manufacturers's Sole Responsibility?

From our early work with Nuffield, IPC Irwin has worked in partnership with education, with teachers, technicians, curriculum developers and influential bodies to ensure we provide what is required within our ethical and environmental philosophy as part of our input into this parentship.

This is only one half of the partnership; the other part is our customers and their contribution. Buying decisions are now well considered, identifying products that only offer a low price is now not the only concern, this is difficult within tight education budgets.  Over the years, low-cost products have flooded the science education market from the sub-continent and the Far East.  Low labour costs, lack of pollution control and low freight costs fuelled this.  As customers have become more aware and concerned this has changed buying decisions. The issues related to worker's protection, low pay, environmental attitudes to pollution, the use of nonrecyclable plastics, use of carbon-based fuel as well as the massive carbon footprint importing these goods have come to the fore.

IPC Irwin as a progressive company has employed new, more efficient production methods during this time where other established UK manufacturers have resorted to subcontract of overseas providers.  The new efficient manufacturing methods IPC Irwin have developed at the same time as labour costs in the Sub-Continent and the Far East have risen and now with increased freight costs have diminished the price gap.  This has eased the hard decision when purchasing, simply deciding on a lower cost product without having to address these serious issues is happily going away.