Not only does green manufacturing reduce pollution and improve our planet’s health but it’s also good for business. By converting to “greener” manufacturing processes, company leaders can reduce their energy consumption and insurance rates. Going green can also help improve customer loyalty because many consumers share these conservation values. Global agreements to collectively reduce carbon emissions have only underscored the manufacturing industry’s commitment to helping the Earth.
Small starts matter
Industrial sector participants are interconnected in myriad ways, especially across industries, making fundamental system changes nearly impossible. Accordingly, upon making the decision to do “cleaner” business, most company decision-makers take small steps as they begin “greenifying” their processes.
- Recycle and reduce waste.
Not only is it easier to find recyclable materials today but there are also many more recycling services available to help manage them. And business processes aren’t the only target for reducing waste. Many savvy business leaders engage employees in the process by placing recycling and compost bins in the lunchroom and around the plant. Some even sponsor contests to see which teams can save the most cans or generate the most compost over the course of the year.
- Greenify processes.
Many suppliers now offer organic or natural options for one-time-use parts and materials, often because they, too, are aware of consumer demand for green products. These options give manufacturers the opportunity to swap out dirty production elements for healthier, cleaner choices — often with little to no change in cost.
- Reduce emissions.
Since the 1970s, American industries have evolved to cleaner processes, first because of early consumer pressures and then through legal mandates like those state and federal agencies regulate. Despite initial grumblings about potential cost escalation, manufacturers instead often find that partnering with other like-minded company leaders can produce revenue gains.
For example, manufacturers can partner with purchasing company leaders who can take waste or toxic aspects and put those elements into cleaner, more productive uses: When offered governmental green credits for offsetting carbon dioxide emissions, some utilities sell excess emissions to companies that use cleaner natural gas in their pressurized systems. Both benefit economically, and each reduces adverse impacts on the environment.
Earth Day is April 22, and people around the world are renewing their commitments to living and working cleaner. Leaders of some of the world’s largest industries have adopted the principles of the Paris Agreement and are actively working to reduce their companies’ negative impacts on the global community. Going green isn’t just a good idea anymore — it’s the new way of manufacturing.