Green Manufacturing: 7 Benefits for your Business and the Environment

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The manufacturing industry plays a significant role in the global economy by turning raw materials into essential goods consumers, companies, and other organizations need to function.

While the industry creates jobs and fuels commercial innovation, many of its processes and byproducts are harmful to the environment.

As the climate crisis becomes increasingly concerning, nations worldwide are looking to adopt more sustainable practices and cut carbon emissions, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Manufacturing is a dominant industry that many other industries rely on for various goods. However, is it possible for manufacturers to achieve sustainability and transition from traditional manufacturing to green manufacturing?

Below, learn more about green manufacturing and its benefits for both business and the environment.

What Is Green Manufacturing?

Green manufacturing is not much different from standard manufacturing. However, green manufacturers have the ultimate responsibility and goal to lessen their impacts on the environment.

Aside from tangible changes, green manufacturing companies also must change the mindsets of various stakeholders to mitigate the industry’s impact on the environment.

There are several ways manufacturers can adopt green or environmentally friendly practices. For example, companies can enforce policies such as workers using fewer natural resources, reducing waste and pollution, and reusing and recycling various materials to lower carbon emissions. They can follow an ESG strategy to improve their overall performance.

Manufacturers can leverage various new technologies – such as the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing, and artificial intelligence (AI) – to support their sustainability initiatives. Using energy-efficient equipment and solutions can reduce energy consumption, 40% of which is used by building operations, including manufacturing facilities and the equipment used to manufacture goods.

The Top 7 Business Benefits of Green Manufacturing

Ultimately, a manufacturer must focus on improving its bottom line, meaning some leaders might not initially be on board with adopting sustainable and ethical business practices.

Therefore, it’s important to discuss the business case for sustainability by acknowledging the key benefits of green manufacturing.

Here are some benefits of sustainable manufacturing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  1. Lower regulatory compliance costs
  2. Better access to financing, tax credits, and capital
  3. Increases sales and brand recognition
  4. Lowers resource and production costs
  5. Makes hiring and retention easier
  6. Enhances employee, consumer, and product safety
  7. Increases competitive edge and fuels business growth

As you can see, there are several benefits businesses can reap by investing in sustainable initiatives; this is not an exhaustive list.

Many companies are pursuing sustainability because it’s the right thing to do, but it can also offer financial benefits too significant to ignore.

4 Tips for Companies Transitioning to Green Manufacturing

So, where do manufacturing companies interested in adopting and implementing green manufacturing practices begin?

Below are some tips companies can use if they want to become leaders in green manufacturing.

1. Calculate Carbon Footprint

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Organizations have access to several tools to help them determine their carbon footprint. Manufacturers need to estimate their current levels of carbon emissions so they can actively reduce them.

For example, companies will use carbon calculators to provide estimates of their carbon footprint. The EPA even offers a free emissions calculator to small businesses and other low-carbon-emitting organizations.

2. Reduce Waste and Recycle

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Small, everyday changes such as turning off lights when not in use or recycling paper and plastic can help manufacturers reduce their environmental impact. Manufacturers should spend time reviewing the resources they use and whether they’re using them effectively, not wastefully. Other shops or manufacturers might be able to use leftover materials rather than throwing them away.

3. Use Renewable Energy Sources

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Another sustainable initiative to consider is adopting renewable energy sources. The most well-known source is solar energy, a booming market right now which shows no signs of slowing down. Manufacturers can install solar panels in their facilities. Other sources like wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power are growing in popularity and are viable options.

4. Receive Green Manufacturing Certifications

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Various sustainability certifications exist for manufacturers, illustrating a company’s commitment to sustainability and being more environmentally friendly. For example, Diamond Mattress – one of the top 20 mattress manufacturers in the U.S. – is seeking a sustainability certification from the Mattress Recycling Council.

The Sleep Products Sustainability Program (SP2) offers certification for manufacturers to reduce waste, achieve operational efficiency, and generate cost savings. Many other sustainability-related certificates are available for green manufacturing and are another way companies can show their commitment to sustainability.

Green Manufacturing: Benefits Business and Creates a Sustainable Environment

There are many reasons why manufacturers should consider adopting more sustainable business practices. To form a viable business case for sustainability, stakeholders must acknowledge the potential benefits, which are clearly outlined above. Reducing carbon emissions and operating more sustainably should be a top priority for manufacturers in the next several years.

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About Bella Greenwood 80 Articles
Eco Warrior by day, Eco Blogger by night trying to get the eco balance right.

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