Sustainable Manufacturing: An Overview

In a modern world intent on lowering carbon emissions, the existence of sustainable manufacturing is hugely important. The problem is, many people fail to understand what exactly sustainable manufacturing is and what it involves. If more companies are to adopt sustainable practices going forward, it is important that they are universally understood. 

In the following article we are going to outline what sustainability in manufacturing looks like. Additionally, we are going to outline why it is so important. Moving forward, many would argue that green manufacturing is not only preferable but necessary to sustain society’s growth and expansion. We dive deeper below. 

What Is Sustainable Manufacturing?

Manufacturing in a sustainable way goes beyond minimising the impact on the environment: it is about creating a business that is inherently valuable.  This means to not only add value to the natural world, but not subtracting from it, but adding value to the lives of employees. Of course, at the heart of sustainable manufacturing is the natural world. The overall aim for sustainable companies in the manufacturing landscape is to create products whilst simultaneously minimising any negative impacts on the environment. 

Whilst the concept sounds simple, it is hugely complex to employ a sustainability model within an organisation. It often requires companies to go against the grain and think outside the box. In some cases, companies may be required to consider, and examine, the ways they conduct business and, potentially, reshape their organisation. 

As we enter and navigate a climate crisis, it is important that businesses begin to think about these things and, where possible, make changes. Green manufacturing is not only in the interest of the natural world but it stands to benefit employees and society as a whole. 

Why Sustainable Manufacturing Companies Are Important

In many ways, the future of society as a whole is dependent on sustainable manufacturing companies. Manufacturing plays such an important role in our collective lives: from the production of complex systems to consumer electronics and basic sanitary products. We place a huge demand on manufacturing companies, so it is important that this demand does not result in the destruction of the natural world. Without green manufacturing, we run the risk of creating excessive carbon emissions and damaging ecosystems. 

How Sustainable Manufacturing Is Achieved

There are a number of ways sustainable manufacturing can be achieved. Sustainability is not exclusive to the manufacturing sector however. Companies from a variety of industries can optimise operations and strive towards a more conscious, considered approach. If you operate in the manufacturing industry however, the following can be considered if you are looking to transform your business into a green manufacturing space. 

  • Consider the Use of Fossil Fuels

The first, and most obvious, way for sustainable manufacturing companies to make business operations more eco conscious is to consider the use of fossil fuels. Thankfully, the push towards renewable sources of energy is growing greater and greater. Wind, turbine and hydroelectric power sources are amongst widely available examples of renewable energy sources. Moreover, machinery or aspects of the business that do benefit from fossil fuels should be examined. If you have to use fossil fuels as a part of business operations, it is encouraged to do so sparingly. 

  • Extraction Systems

In a manufacturing environment, dust extraction systems, as well as fume, are highly important. Sustainability in the modern age is not just about being environmentally aware. It goes further, and asks that businesses develop a greater awareness of their workers and themselves as good employers. This includes creating an environment that is safe and conducive to being able to do the job correctly. Dust and fumes are a problem in manufacturing, and extraction systems help to solve the threat posed by them.  

  • Create an Efficient Workplace

If you are eager to create a workplace that promotes sustainability, look at how you can optimise company operations. Saving time and completing tasks efficiently not only saves money but it reduces your reliance on energy and, where applicable, fossil fuels. And this does not have to be dull. Why not create a mildly competitive culture and offer rewards to teams, or individuals, who are able to do their job whilst consuming the least amount of energy. 

  • Waste Reduction

This one is obvious, but one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to improve sustainability is to use only the resources that are absolutely necessary. Whether it is paper, supplies or even energy, it is always encouraged to think about waste reduction in a considered way. 

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