Climate change is an increasing threat to our society, and sustainable manufacturing is one of the things that can help mitigate the problem. Particularly, carbon neutrality has the effect of reducing the cost of energy, increasing efficiency, and help save our environment from the devastating effects of global warming. However, attaining environmental sustainability involves many, and manufacturers can make a big difference if they move towards renewable energies and reducing carbon emissions, while still driving innovation.
In the field of furniture manufacturing, stakeholders have taken the global warming challenge seriously. An example is the top Swedish furniture company IKEA. The company has initiated an ambitious climate positive plan with the aim of solely utilising renewable power in all its processes. It also targets to implement the generation and use of renewable energy across all its premises.
IKEA launched a strategy called People and Planet Positive. In the strategy, IKEA made the following key commitments:
- The elimination of single-use plastic materials in all its collection of products by the year 2020.
- Product design will incorporate new circular principles and solely use recyclable materials and clean energy.
- Increasingly encouraging the use of plant-based options in their stores.
- Embracing climate positivity and sustainability through its product ranges by an average of 70 per cent.
- Home deliveries with zero emissions by the year 2025.
- Home solar products range and solutions to cover more than 29 of its markets by the year 2025.
How Furniture Manufacturers can become more sustainable
The economic value alone cannot be single-handedly used as a measure of manufacturing performance, as value creation is now also important. Being conscious of how manufacturing impacts the environment is a fundamental issue that manufacturers should address. Sometimes being environmentally aware can also help to build a positive brand perception.
Some of the simple ways to promote sustainable manufacturing comprise of creating awareness of how natural resources are used in our homes, making conscious decisions to choose products that are designed to help conserve the environment, and actively managing how energy and resources are consumed.
Truly, simplifying the production process by making each step efficient, productive and environmentally sustainable by conserving energy, reducing the amount of water, and reducing the amount of waste. Manufacturers can also look into embracing renewable energy sources and materials.
Furniture manufacturers can implement minor changes and improvements within the business can all contribute towards conserving the environment in different ways: -
- Move towards a paperless manufacturing environment..
- Source from local suppliers to help lower transportation carbon emissions.
- Source sustainable materials i.e. buy wood from sustainably managed forests.
- Invest in energy-saving solutions like LED lights or replace legacy machines with more efficient ones.
- Recycle and reuse.
- Increase operational efficiency by reducing waste and the amount of energy used.
The steps toward sustainability
The journey towards sustainability is a long process whether it is from a business or personal standpoint. But companies are in often in a position where they can influence and encourage consumers to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Companies can embrace progressive designing of products right from the initial design process with the aim of repurposing, repairing, reusing, reselling and recycling. Such interventions can promote sustainable manufacturing as well.
ERP integration in manufacturing sustainability
The software will provide integration of data output from all facets of the organisation; manufacturing, logistics, sales and supply chain. It streamlines processes and optimises efficiency, therefore reducing waste from the amount of paper used to the number of repetitive tasks. Therefore, an investment into a Furniture Manufacturing ERP system can provide a range of benefits from long-term cost savings to achieving sustainability.