Manufacturing consumes resources and releases waste and pollutants as it does. The by-products are inevitable. But responsible manufacturers are coming to terms with the need to clean up their processes and environment. The world needs greener manufacturers.
Local, regional, and federal authorities seek to regulate damage to the ecosystem with regulations on materials, production, and emissions. And, keeping manufacturing operations eco-friendly presents owners and stakeholders with big and small challenges. Compliance increases costs that start with obtaining environmental approvals under often contentious conditions.
4 tips for keeping manufacturing eco-friendly:
Kate Harrison, a contributor to Forbes, points out, “you can cut thousands of dollars off your bills and make yourself more attractive to eco-conscious consumers.” So, keeping your manufacturing operations eco-friendly can improve your revenue while keeping things green.
- Make a good start: It’s important to get off on the right foot making green processes and goals a central commitment of all stakeholders. Leading Sydney based environmental consultant Steven Molino says, “In our experience, it’s important to get stakeholders with different views communicating. They need to know the relevant science, along with well-developed mitigation and risk management plans. They must understand the cost of non-compliance and the added value in pursuing progressive and/or contentious projects.”
- Do due diligence: Any ambitious change in your manufacturing operations should start with a thorough energy audit. It should include buildings, systems, and grounds. Some agencies require annual energy surveys, but you should supplement or expand your approach with a special interest in those practices and processes that could save money.
- Start simply: Every manager, function, and process can start with simple adjustments. Small steps can prove an effective and symbolic move. For example, using CFL and LED light bulbs instead of the now old-fashioned incandescent bulbs require less power and last much longer. The longer life and higher efficiency offset the higher upfront cost. It’s also an opportunity to replace outdated and inefficient tools and machines.
- Reduce waste: Waste reduction supports sustainability. But “waste” includes many things, and it starts with your supply chain. You must assess the potential value of incoming materials. Low price, for instance, does not always assure good quality. You must review all processes to determine their efficiency and to reduce their emissions and by-products. Finally, you must measure the waste and optimize its distribution.
The benefits you take away —
The world is smarter about manufacturing’s contribution to environmental pollution, energy depletion, and resource consumption. Your business can take the lead making changes mandated by the world’s population and its governance.
Keeping your manufacturing operations eco-friendly will improve your image and reputation for doing the right thing. And, you will build a market among those willing to pay a bit more for sustainably-made products.
Running a green business also makes you eligible for markets that require eco-friendly specifications, lucrative contracts that exclude dealing with manufacturers who fall short of those specs.
Meeting and exceeding established standards also produces a happier workforce, proud to be working there and supporting your commitment. Being able to claim your green promises will also attract talent aligned with your socially-responsible purpose. Finally, writing for The Guardian, Keivan Zokaei said, “When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity, we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness. In fact, there are often huge ‘quick win’ opportunities, thanks to years of neglect.”