Sustainable Manufacturing is the New Name of the Game Every Manufacturer Needs to Catch On
The age of profit-seeking, winner-take-all manufacturing is the axiom of the past, as modern business partners, vendors and consumers are more conscious about the importance of conducting fair business with good governance. Amid raging climate change, environmental deterioration and increasingly limited availability of natural resources, our planet has suffered several problems that "Sustainable Manufacturing" has become the center of focus and a mission many organizations are genuinely committed to rather than as a part of superficial CSR programs.
Sustainable Manufacturing is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The term refers to the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, and are safe for human resource, the community and consumers as well as creating value and business prosperity.
Sustainable manufacturing can help improve operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste. It can accommodate consumers’ needs or enable accessibility to the new markets and increase competitive advantages since sustainability has become an important part in consumers and corporate buyers’ decision regarding their carbon footprints. At the same time, sustainable manufacturing can create a positive perception of the organization/brand, instigating public trust and confidence, as well as maximizing potential and promoting a long-term business success.
Although the process of transitioning to sustainable manufacturing can be cumbersome and requires careful planning, the end results are invaluable because just taking the first step can already lead to visible improvement. An obvious example is when the production lines use materials with less toxic or no harmful chemicals at all, the quality of life for employees is immediately improved because their work environment has become safer. Meanwhile, the deployment of new manufacturing innovations in factories can also help teams to work more efficiently.
The first step needed in the transition towards sustainable manufacturing is to educate everyone in the organization about this inevitable trend. The best way is through practicing circular economy by planning and designing how to use limited natural resources with utmost efficiency for as long as possible. Doing so will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and facilitate a continuous cycle of resources in a closed system without releasing waste outside, which will eventually lead to reduction in both production costs and toxic gas emissions.
At any rate, the process of sustainable manufacturing transformation is challenging. In the midst of climate change and various crises encountered by people around the world, manufacturers need to balance their vision for a socially responsible future and being environmentally-conscious with the need to drive their businesses forward. Therefore, to help manufacturers realize the opportunity from transitioning to sustainable manufacturing while maintaining their profit-making ability, we will discuss in the next blog about various approaches that manufacturers can adopt and customize to fit individual business strategies.