Exam topic cards


Finite Resources

A non-renewable resource (also called a finite resource) is a resource that does not renew itself at a sufficient rate for sustainable economic extraction in meaningful human time-frames. There is only a limited amount of these resources on the Earth.  Examples:

  • Crude Oil - Used to make plastic and fuel.
  • Clay - Used to make ceramics
  • Coal - Used in power stations

renewable resource is a resource which can be used repeatedly because it is replaced naturally.  Examples: Wood, Wool, Cotton, etc. 

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Product Miles

Product miles are the total distance produce is transported from its place of growth or production to the place of consumption. The concept of product miles is widely used in food production where there is a push by consumers for locally produced product.

Example: Food may be grown in one area of the UK but is transported across the country to different supermarkets the distance it has to go from the area it was grown to the market sold in is it's product miles.

Could also be used in manufacturing, a product may be made in a factory in China but is shipped globally to different stores, this would have a higher product miles but sometimes lower overall cost due to cheaper manufacturing. 

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Obsolete Products

Obsolete inventory is a term that refers to inventory that is at the end of its product lifecycle and has not seen any sales or usage for a set period of time usually determined by the industry. This type of inventory has to be written down and can cause large losses for a company.

Example: PDAs used to be extremely helpful for professionals but now are obsolete due to better technology like smartphones which do much more.

Planned obsolescence is when a product is deliberately designed to have a specific life span. This is usually a shortened life span. The product is designed to last long enough to develop a customer’s lasting need. 

Phones are often designed to become obsolete at one point, the technology in them may be good for the consumer at the moment but future advancements will require the consumer to buy a new phone. Often charging ports are changed and the consumer needs to buy a new product. 

The phone may not be broken but the technological advancements cause consumers to buy new products.

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Carbon Footprint

carbon footprint is defined as The total amount of greenhouse gasses produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). A carbon footprint is very difficult to measure accurately.

Products leave a carbon footprint as well.

A bicycle produces a carbon footprint as for example a bicycle made in China uses electricity to make the bike, which comes from burning fossil fuels. Then this bicycle is transported to be sold in other countries, which uses fuel and produces more carbon dioxide. 

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Fairtrade is the trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers.

Often companies use developing countries for materials/resources to be used in developed countries. These materials are bought off of producers eg: farmers but can sometimes lead to mistreatment and the farmers being paid less money for what they give.

Fairtrade helps producers get paid the correct amount of money for what they produce for companies, this helps people in developing countries escape poverty. 

Fairtrade doesn't just mean fair pay, it can also mean better working conditions for people in factories in LEDCs, as well as a fair pay. 

Products often have the fairtrade symbol on it, if a consumer buys this product then a set amount of money is being given to the farmers/workers who grow the crops of produce the products. Their pay/conditions are ensured. 

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Product Evolution

Product Evolution refers to how a product changes over time.

The ways in which a product changes could include: developments of new materials, manufacturing changes, changes in technologies, social change, fashion and healthy eating.

An example is mobile phones, these are changed over the years due to technological advancements making it easier to use them and get more out of a phone. Phones are now a lot thinner than before due to technology changing to allow for much smaller components.

Clothing styles change due to social change, different styles come into fashion due to the consumers buying the clothes in season.

Materials may make it easier to produce a certain product or make it lighter. Manufacturing may also make it easier to produce. 

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