Abstract: The recent European Union (EU) roll-out of the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives has sensitized the electronics industry to the need for an environmental compliance engineering skill set and a more general product environmental engineering skill set in electronics. For the most part, this skill set did not exist previously and had to be grown internally in the industry. Prior to RoHS and WEEE, most of the environmental engineering positions within the electronics industry were in Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), in facilities departments, and EH&S professionals typically did not have expertise in products.
As a rule, curricula in environmental engineering programs focus on mitigation, compliance, and remediation in the areas of air, water, and soil pollution. Other academic curricula, in business schools for instance, are beginning to focus on the broader issue of environmental sustainability, including business and social issues. This approach, sometimes known as the “triple bottom line,” or corporate social responsibility (CSR), was developed in response to public image and market pressures facing the electronics industry. Law school curricula include courses in environmental law, ethics, and policy.
At a time when environmental compliance and sustainability factors in electronic product design and manufacturing are growing increasingly important, it has become apparent that formal education in this critical field is lacking. This paper will propose parameters for a curriculum that will impart the body of knowledge necessary for a curriculum at the Master’s or professional certificate level. The emphasis of this proposed curriculum would be placed on compliance, design for the environment (DFE), and sustainable development.
Key words: RoHS/WEEE, Product Environmental Engineer, Product Environmental Engineering Education, Stewardship, Sustainable Development