Embracing sustainability and green business practices is not just a trend. It has become a business model for many manufacturers and has proven to provide a variety of benefits not only for the environment, but for the companies as well. Manufacturers are quickly realizing the many short-term and long-term effects of implementing sustainable practices.
“Going green” is not the same as sustainable manufacturing, although they are related. While many use the terms interchangeably, green is frequently associated with a singular product or process. For example, a company may introduce a green product that is made from completely recycled materials, but its manufacturing process may still be producing pollution. Sustainability is typically used to describe a company’s holistic approach to manufacturing, focusing on improving their business processes and minimizing their carbon footprint.
In the manufacturing industry, both sustainability and green are beneficial. However, focusing more on sustainable business practices may prove to be more helpful over time. Here are five reasons why manufacturers should focus on sustainability in their business:
1. Attract a new group of customers and boost profits
In today’s world, many consumers are focused on brands that are conscious of the environment. In fact, three out of four millennials are willing to pay more for products or services from brands that are committed to conserving the environment. Whether it be that their products are eco-friendly or their business practices are safer for the environment, today’s consumers want to feel good about the products they’re buying and the companies they’re supporting.
By implementing sustainable practices, manufacturers can attract a whole new demographic of consumers, which will raise awareness of their company and increase sales. Through current technology trends and social media, companies can raise even more awareness around their company and promote their sustainable practices.
2. Save money on energy costs
Energy and water costs are prime focal points for many manufacturers who wish to make smaller changes that have a lasting impact. Various improvements can be made to reduce these costs and promote sustainable operations.
Switching to energy efficient, compact lighting will significantly reduce energy costs. These lightbulbs last up to 25 times longer and use 25%-80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs. Converting to renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar, can also have a significant impact on energy costs. As technology such as solar panels and wind turbines are becoming more readily available, the costs for this equipment is on a steady decline, making it easier for companies to make the switch.
Companies should also participate in regular maintenance checks to ensure equipment is functioning properly and no energy is being wasted. For example, air compressor leaks can be a waste of energy and lead to an increase in energy costs without the company being aware. It’s always important to keep machinery up to date and well maintained to prevent any hidden costs or waste.
3. Access government incentives
In addition to saving costs from energy and waste control, sustainable manufacturing can also lead to potential grants, tax credits and other incentives from the local and federal government. Manufacturers who proactively implement sustainable improvements may be eligible to receive a free assessment by the Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Centers. IACs typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities for every manufacturer assessed, nearly $50,000 of which is implemented during the first year following the assessment.
4. Make a positive impact on the environment
Sustainability is not just a trend to carry your company ahead in the industry. It has a real impact on the environment and the future of the planet. By adopting sustainable operations into your business plan, you can help to conserve non-renewable and natural resources.
Sustainable manufacturing can help reduce hazardous emissions and waste into the atmosphere. While you may not see results right away, decreasing pollution will have great long-term effects on the earth. If every company put forth an effort to make their business more sustainable, the entire state of the environment could change for the better.
5. Spark sustainable efforts in the workplace
Sustainability efforts in a company can spark an environment of collaboration and teamwork in the workplace. Employees work even harder when they are involved and can proudly stand behind their company and it’s choices. Through internal communication about sustainability and the impact these changes will have, a company’s culture will be positively influenced.
Have you made any changes to push towards sustainability?
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