In the modern consumer age, everyone is looking to become more sustainable. Sustainability is a common buzzword is thrown about on a regular basis within the manufacturing business, with companies more than ever claiming to be a sustainable manufacturing firm. However, many companies use this phrase without really considering the full implications; as such, this brief guide discusses sustainability within in the manufacturing sector, what it is, and why sustainability benefits those manufacturing companies who are seeking to achieve it.
What are sustainability and sustainable manufacturing?
Sustainability is the ability to maintain something at a certain level, even while using it. In the case of the global environment, sustainability means to keep the natural quality of the environment while using natural resources. Therefore, sustainable manufacturing is the creation of products while actively reducing inputs of raw materials and the amount of energy used throughout the process as a whole. As such, sustainable manufacturing seeks to reduce the negative environmental impacts along with creating an economically sound business model, where it supports long-term economic goals without the negative impacts on social setting, environment and culture.
Manufacturers use large quantities of resources to produce something new, from raw materials to energy. In addition, the pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted from the consumption can also have a negative impact on the environment. As such, it is incredibly important for any company to work towards being more sustainable, in order to reduce waste and their overall impact on the natural environment, both locally and internationally.
What are the benefits of sustainable manufacturing?
There are many sustainable manufacturing benefits including:
When looking at a holistic picture of the natural environment, science clearly shows us that the quality of the environment on a global scale is declining. Equally, global temperatures are rising due to increasing greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. The findings behind this are irrefutable and show that these are anthropomorphic, being caused by human behaviour and the modern consumer lifestyle. Therefore, the best way to tackle this global crisis is by everyone becoming more sustainable and reducing their carbon footprint.
Adidas is a key example of a manufacturing company looking to continuously increase its sustainability and has created a sustainability strategy which is broken down into four pillars; people, product, planet, and partnership. One of the key ways they achieve this is by actively seeking to reduce manufacturing waste.
More sustainable companies often have reduced overall costs, so a move towards sustainability is likely to help your business financially. By using your energy more efficiently, not only will you reduce the level of greenhouse gases emitted as a by-product, but you will also spend less on your energy bills which can offset the initial cost of installing energy-saving solutions such as LED lights.
Equally, there are certain governmental schemes and grants for businesses to increase their sustainability efforts, and these schemes are only likely to increase as governments focus more on the environment.
A better brand image
Customers are increasingly becoming aware of the necessity for sustainable companies, and make this sentiment known through their buying choices. Therefore, a company that is operating more sustainably are more likely to have a better reputation, and thus more people will buy from them.
As such, manufacturing companies should look to create and publish a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) document, which highlights how they plan to increase their sustainability, acknowledging that they have a part to play in helping the environment, and will accept this responsibility.
BMW is well known for releasing and subsequently promoting their CSR and use this not only to show customers how much they value the environment, thus increasing their image of being an ethical and sustainable company, they also use this as a marketing technique, a strategy that many other manufacturing businesses have attempted to employ.
Having the right technology in place can contribute to a manufacturers CSR strategy because an integrated ERP system can minimise operational costs and waste from production by helping to increase the overall efficiency and productivity.
WinMan manufacturing ERP software is a highly scalable business solution for manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution companies. By moving to an integrated business software, it can help to streamline processes, increase efficiency and improve business productivity, offering you a great return on investment.