Ana Maria Leal started her career as a product designer at the Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY. She was curious about the environmental impacts of her designs and what she could do to minimize a product footprint. Her curiosity and determination to learn earned a scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Sustainability at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability in Rochester, NY. During her studies, she devoted most of her time to investigate and assess the impacts of electronics. She evaluated different design for Sustainability methodologies to determine the potential of the tools in helping designers improve a product's environmental profile while meeting traditional business goals. She validated the evaluation of the tools through redesigning an electronic device using the two promising Design for Sustainability techniques and one rating system for electronics. EPEAT, Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment, and a Sustainability matrix were applied to identify what mechanism could result in the best environmental performance.
As a consultant at SGS, Ana performed Life Cycle Assessments for product design and development, Environmental Product Declarations, energy portfolios, and carbon reduction strategies. Other assignments included Cradle to Cradle Products Assessments for formulated products, materials, products for buildings, and personal care products. She developed Material Health Declarations under the Health Products Declaration Collaborative -HPDC- to get products optimized and specified in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED and the Google Portico tool. Ana has been advising circular initiatives to support entrepreneurs' business ideas, her direction, knowledge, and strategies have been fundamental to continue developing truly circular solutions.