Embracing Sustainable Manufacturing

Table of Content

Introduction
Five Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing
     Increase Sales
     Save Money on Energy Costs
     Access to Government Incentives
     Boost Workplace Morale
     Improved health and safety
Sustainability in Manufacturing
     Adidas
     Seventh Generation
     Coca-Cola
     BMW
Sustainability at Apple Rubber

Introduction

Sustainability, or the creation of products using economically sound processes that reduce negative environmental impacts while simultaneously conserving natural resources and energy, has completely changed the manufacturing landscape.

Several green manufacturing standards including minimizing waste and reducing dangerous emissions, and minimizing water and energy were once considered nice benefits, but are now required of manufacturers.

This article discusses five reasons that will provide a better insight into why a company has to adopt sustainable manufacturing.

Five Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing

Increase Sales

Although corporate social responsibility is valued by many generations, young adults today have made environmental protection a high priority.

66% of millennials focus on protecting the environment, a sentiment that is incorporated in their buying habits. Three in every four millennials are ready to pay more for services and products from brands that are intent on creating a positive environmental and social impact.

Sustainable manufacturing will not only make a company’s product marketable, but overlooking the movement could harm sales

Save Money on Energy Costs

Energy costs can be significantly cut down if all incandescent light bulbs are replaced with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps that use 25-80% less energy and last three to 25 times longer.

Energy prices can also be stabilized by opting for renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy. The costs of these sources have reduced consistently in the last few years. For example, the cost of a solar panel has declined by approximately 60% since 2011. Similarly, the cost of generating wind-powered electricity has declined by more than 20% between 2010 and 2012.

Implementing recycling initiatives, going paperless, and inspecting manufacturing equipment regularly for malfunctions or poor energy use are other methods to reduce energy costs while adopting sustainable manufacturing practices.

Access to Government Incentives

Switching to sustainable practices not only saves costs, but also boosts a company’s opportunities of tax credits, grants, and other incentives at both the federal and state levels.

A free assessment by the Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Centers is available for eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers. IACs usually identify over $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities for all of the manufacturers assessed. Almost $50,000 of this can be implemented during the first year post assessment.

The competitive capability for government contracts can also increase when becoming a sustainable manufacturer, as most of these contracts are only provided to sustainable manufacturers.

Boost Workplace Morale

Encouraging employees across all levels to identify and execute green manufacturing practices can create an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork. Recognizing and rewarding these contributions will also encourage employees to work harder. It will also remind them that they are bringing a positive change in the environment and the industry.

Sustainability also increases innovation. When urged to follow sustainable practices, employees will be motivated to conduct research and development endeavors to create new and efficient means of doing things.

Improved health and safety

A company can reduce waste, minimize energy and water, and reduce hazardous emissions by becoming a sustainable manufacturing company. This decrease in carbon footprint has a direct positive impact on a company, the safety of the working conditions of its employees, and the community.

Sustainability in Manufacturing

The following companies have diligently adopted sustainable manufacturing.

Adidas

The sustainability journey of Adidas began in 1989. Since then, the company has been working on improving its practices.

The company’s “sport needs a space” initiative is one example of its sustainable practices. It is based on the idea that sports require a space to exist in order for it to positively change lives.

As a part of this initiative, Adidas released a report detailing the ambitions and goals it has to develop its practices by 2020. Some of these goals are a 35% water saving per personnel at its sites, eliminating plastic bags in stores, and 20% reduction in strategic suppliers.

Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation has been delivering products such as biodegradable, vegetable-based cleaning products, natural baby wipes, and chlorine-free paper towels, since 1988. In addition, over a quarter of the energy consumed in manufacturing is generated from renewable energy sources and over a quarter of its vehicles are low-emissions cars.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has many goals to protect the climate, produce sustainable packaging, and enhance water stewardship. For instance, it intends to work with its partners to recycle 75% of the cans and bottles it manufactures by 2020. The company has currently reported a 61% recovery rate.

The company also intends to replenish 100% of the water it uses in the finished beverages and their production, safely returning the water to nature and communities. The brand intends to achieve this by 2020 and is on track to meet its goal.

BMW

BMW was estimated to be the world’s most sustainable company in 2016. The company is the most sustainable and successful premium manufacturer of individual mobility. It focused on reducing its carbon footprint and placed an emphasis on electric vehicles. The company reduced the CO2 emissions of newly sold vehicles in Europe by 40%, between 1995 and 2015.

The company is also linked the remuneration of its senior executives to their sustainability performance, resulting in exceptional performance. This shows the company’s commitment to improvement.

Sustainability at Apple Rubber

Apple Rubber is making conscious efforts to adopt sustainable manufacturing. For instance, the company works with polymers derived from substantial sources including EPDM. EPDM rubber produces ethanol by using Brazilian sugar cane in the place of oil.

Apple Rubber uses a cooling tower to cool its equipment, reducing the use of public water. It also recycles to minimize landfill waste, and replaces old equipment with new and efficient ones to minimize greenhouse gas emission.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Apple Rubber.

For more information on this source, please visit Apple Rubber.

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit