Sustainable manufacturing can be described as a framework that combines product and process design issues with production, planning and control issues. It is done in such a way that environmental waste flows can be detected, quantified, evaluated and controlled with the goal of positively influencing the environmental impact to that of the Earth’s self-recovery capacity.
There are several reasons why businesses aim for sustainable development:
- Improve operational efficiency through cost and waste reduction.
- Responsd to customers or develop new customers, to boost competitiveness.
- Secure, enhance brand and reputation to build public confidence.
- Develop long-term viability and success for the business.
- Meet regulatory and compliance requirements and guidelines.
Sustainable manufacturing is a key component for a sustainable business while at the same time creating value for the investors and the communities where the business operates, and safeguarding the environment. In some manufacturing industries, there is greater interest and motivation to build sustainable manufacturing practices.
Manufacturing costs, environmental impact, health of workers, operational security, waste management, energy consumption are all play a part in a sustainable manufacturing environment.
There are lot of things we have to address as we step towards sustainable development including product design, technology, recycling, waste management, infrastructure, financing, green pricing, renewable energy, life cycle assessment, usage of power, use of low carbon technologies, regulations, market conditions, consumer needs and many more.
What we need is a proactive approach for the manufacturing industry to continue enhancing the reuse of existing products and creating sustainable production of goods. While these improvements can entail short-term costs, there are significant long-term economic and social advantages that can make this sector more environmental and customer friendly.
Main advantages of sustainable manufacturing
- Lower costs of resources and development
- Reduced regulatory compliance costs
- Improved brand recognition and sales.
- Enhanced access to finance and capital
- Easier recruitment and retention of employees
A successful journey towards sustainable production requires a company to align its production program with that of sustainable production practices. Sustainable production should integrate operations at all levels – product, process, technology, and systems. We know 3R as a widely practiced ones in the industry, namely, reduction, reuse and recycling. This should be extended to include more R’s, as in this image.
These proven methods are used in sustainable manufacturing to meet the needs of customers and the market, with environmental friendly- processeses which also brings economic and community benefits.
Sustainable manufacturing should be followed by every business. This not just helps to create value for the company or brand but brings goodwill and community support as well. It is the path that should be taken by all manufacturers to last longer.