Sustainability – or the creation of products by economically rational processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while preserving energy and natural resources – has transformed the manufacturing landscape.
Today, manufacturers are expected to adopt certain green manufacturing standards that were once an attractive benefit, such as reducing water and energy consumption, reducing waste and reducing hazardous emissions.
Advantages of sustainable manufacturing
The increase in sales
Although many generations value corporate social responsibility, it has become clear that young adults have made environmental protection a priority.
Seventy-six percent of the millennia (Millennium Generation) focus on protecting the environment, a feeling they integrate into their purchasing habits. Three out of four people are willing to pay more for branded products or services that have a positive social and environmental impact.
Not only does sustainable manufacturing make your business more marketable, but ignoring this movement could affect your sales.
Save money on energy costs
Replacing all incandescent lamps with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps that last three to 25 times longer and consume 25 to 80% less energy will significantly reduce energy costs.
Converting to renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power can also help stabilize your energy costs. These costs have been steadily decreasing in recent years. The cost of a solar panel, for example, has dropped by nearly 60% since 2011 and the cost of producing electricity from wind energy has dropped by more than 20% between 2010 and 2012.
Regular inspections of manufacturing equipment for malfunctions or low energy consumption, recycling initiatives and the transition to paperless technology are also excellent ways to significantly reduce energy costs while promoting sustainable manufacturing practices.
Access to government incentives
In addition to reducing costs, adopting sustainable practices can increase your opportunities for subsidies, tax credits and other incentives at both the federal and state levels.
Small and medium-sized producers can benefit from a free evaluation by the Industrial Evaluation Centres of the Ministry of Energy. IACs generally reveal potential annual savings of more than $130,000 for each manufacturer evaluated, of which nearly $50,000 is realized in the first year following the evaluation.
Becoming a sustainable producer also increases the competitiveness of public procurement, as many of these contracts are only available to sustainable producers.
Stimulate morale at work
When employees at all levels are encouraged to identify and implement green manufacturing practices, it creates an increasingly collaborative and team-oriented environment. When management recognizes these contributions and rewards people who go even further, it encourages them to work harder and reminds them that they are making a positive difference in the industry and the environment.
Sustainability also leads to more innovation. When employees are encouraged to adopt sustainable methods, they are inspired by the implementation of research and development projects that create new and effective ways forward.
Improving health and safety
By becoming a sustainable manufacturing company, you can reduce your water and energy consumption, waste and hazardous emissions. In addition to the benefits that have a direct impact on your company, this reduction in CO2 footprint can have a positive impact on the safety of your employees who work under these conditions and in your community.