The industrial shift towards eco-conscious and sustainable practices is a much-demanded one. As the world changes due to global warming and pollution, everyone, from governments to entire industries, is scrambling to do their part in protecting the planet from more harm.
As a company, adopting sustainable manufacturing practices isn’t just a trend, and it’s slowly becoming a necessity in the ever-changing market.
Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing
Sustainable manufacturing isn’t just good for the environment. Transitioning to sustainable manufacturing practices also has many great benefits for the company.
Companies with sustainable manufacturing practices often have lower operations costs. Because many sustainable practices include reducing electricity consumption and adopting renewable energy, like using wind turbines, the result is substantial savings in energy costs. There are also lower resource and production costs depending on your industry.
Sustainable manufacturing also opens doors to new markets. There are plenty of growing markets nowadays that are only available to businesses that show commitment to sustainability. More growth opportunities are available to companies that take on sustainability seriously. Often, sustainable companies have improved sales and better brand recognition.
Many governments also provide financial incentives and market support to companies that institute sustainable practices. Governments are also moving towards sustainability, and they need the help of private companies and businesses to achieve their “green” goals.
Employees of environmentally sustainable companies also have better morale, taking pride in their company’s priorities. Many people also want to be part of companies that align with their values, including environmental values. Oftentimes, employees in sustainable companies have increased productivity, higher employee engagement, and lower turnover rates.
Sustainable practices do more than just save the planet. It also promotes healthier business practices that have a ripple effect on the employees and community at large.
How to Achieve More Sustainable Manufacturing Practices
1. Time-Saving Systems and Sustainability Policies
Saving time contributes indirectly to energy saving.
Think of ways you can save time in your manufacturing process. Running a cycle faster if your machines allow you to do so without using more energy is a great way to save time and energy after every batch. You can also run checks on your machines’ production rates and see if you can achieve the same results using fewer machines.
Assess your operation’s performance with quantifiable indicators. Measure the input and output of your production. By doing so, you’re running fewer machines, which takes up less energy, while still meeting demand effectively.
When considering making sustainability policies, ask yourself: “How can I do the same job using less energy and resources?” That’s always the first step to making more sustainable practicing. Once you’ve figured it out, you can then move on to scaling your sustainable systems on a larger scale when your company grows.
2. Waste Management
Reducing the amount of waste your produce during your manufacturing cycle is one the best ways to keep your production environmentally conscious.
Optimizing your raw materials to make sure you get the most out of them not only reduces waste production but also helps save the company on production costs as well. Also, consider how you can best reuse the scraps and rejected items from your production batch.
Recycling is also a great way to handle the waste. You can recycle at any point of your manufacturing process: beginning, middle, or end. You can also choose to process your recycling in-house or send them to a separate facility where the recyclable materials can be utilized better.
3. Reevaluating and Optimizing the Use of Fossil Fuels and Coal
In 2020, 24% of greenhouse gas emissions were primarily from industries using fossil fuels as energy. In 2021, 36.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were produced, and coal accounted for 40% of the said CO2 emissions that year.
The damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions is extensive. You have crop loss, heat waves and droughts, community health concerns, rising sea levels, and property loss from flooding, just to name a few. In fact, it is said that future storms are more dangerous due to global warming,
Being more mindful of your manufacturing process’s energy consumption can drastically improve your company’s greenhouse gas emissions and, in turn, improve the environmental state of your surrounding area.
You can also implement sustainable internal carbon pricing measures. Carbon Pricing shifts the burden of the damage caused by greenhouse gases to their source. The fewer greenhouse gases you emit, the less you have to deal with carbon pricing. Not to mention, you’re contributing less to the world’s damaged atmosphere.
4. Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
Evaluate your production’s supply chain from the very beginning. Find areas where you can incorporate eco-friendly practices.
Consider your design process, the raw materials selection, your packaging, transportation, warehousing, and distribution operations. Also, consider how your products are consumed, returned, and disposed of.
You can go ahead and look for materials suppliers that meet specific sustainability criteria. You can also redesign your packaging to be less wasteful. Opt for more energy-efficient, close-to-carbon-neutral solutions when transporting your raw materials and distributing your final product.
There are many creative and innovative ways to design your supply and production chain to be more sustainable. Just find the ones that work best for your company.
5. Reducing Pollutants
Many manufacturers deal with chemicals at some stage of their production process. And whether by accident, negligence, or protocol, these chemicals can end up in an environment where it doesn’t belong.
You can consider greener or more eco-friendly alternatives to these chemicals. Alternatively, you can invest in other techniques that don’t require said chemicals. Be mindful not to let any pollutants enter the atmosphere or the environment.
Sustainable manufacturing practices may be a significant shift for some companies, but the return on investment is substantial for both the company and the environment. The industrial transition to going greener can have a massive result on our environment and requires every company to do its part.