How Can Manufacturers Be More Sustainable?
Sustainability is an ever-increasing concern for modern consumers and manufacturers alike and should be a core objective for your operation. Sustainable manufacturing involves creating products while conserving energy and natural resources. It helps alleviate the negative environmental impacts associated with production. Environmentally conscious manufacturers have found many sustainable alternatives for standard industry practices.
Using sustainable practices results in numerous environmental, social and economic benefits. It creates a domino effect of positive impact. It starts with manufacturers choosing to make simple, conscious changes. The effort you put into improving your sustainability will generate tangible results for you and your community. In this guide, read about the main benefits of sustainability and possible solutions for procedural changes.
Why Is Sustainability Essential for Manufacturers?
Manufacturers of all sizes and sectors should note the importance of sustainable manufacturing practices. Employing sustainable practices helps preserve natural resources and protect the environment. It also improves operational efficiency and bolsters a brand’s public image. When you start implementing sustainable strategies, you’ll notice a chain reaction of benefits to your company, your community, and the environment as a whole.
Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing
Of course, embracing sustainability helps the environment. For instance, decreasing reliance on non-renewable energy sources puts less burden on limited geographic regions and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing waste products helps minimize hazardous landfills and floating piles of waste in the ocean. Using natural, organic solutions rather than harmful chemicals promotes a cleaner, safer environment for life to thrive.
With widespread shifts in manufacturing procedures, the environmental impacts will be monumental. As a whole, humanity may manage to reverse some of the worst effects of climate change and excessive waste. With that said, any widespread shift in manufacturing must occur one business at a time. You can stay ahead of the curve by implementing changes now.
Beyond the direct environmental impact, sustainable manufacturer practices offer many other benefits for your business and your community. Some will be immediate, while others will take time to develop. Some of those advantages will likely include:
- Reducing waste, thereby increasing operational efficiency.
- Reducing costs associated with waste.
- Using those saved costs for growth purposes.
- Building a long-lasting, more successful business model.
- Earning a more positive brand reputation and a stronger competitive edge.
- Promoting public trust while winning new customers.
- Taking advantage of federal or state government incentives.
- Enhancing employee, community and product safety.
- Attracting talented, qualified team members.
From an economic perspective, embracing sustainability is the wisest choice. When you do, you’ll be able to claim social consciousness, earning attention and respect from potential clients and team members. It can result in increased profits, as well as a more dedicated workforce.
You’ll also be able to improve your processes and reduce waste, further enhancing your margins. Optimizing the use of resources is important for any manufacturer. Raw materials and energy comprise over 50% of a product’s total cost. Reducing the materials needed or using less energy can cause a significant reduction in manufacturing costs.
Sustainable Manufacturing Examples
Considering sustainability’s multifaceted benefits, you might be wondering how you can implement environmentally friendly practices. You need not overhaul your entire operation overnight. Instead, you can make small, manageable changes one step at a time. Here are a few ideas for enhancing your company’s sustainability.
1. Choosing Environmentally Conscious Partners
As you begin evaluating your operation, review your partners. Do your suppliers and other vendors commit themselves to sustainability? If not, consider seeking like-minded businesses to support your goals. Holding others accountable helps incentivize environmentalism. It also results in more sustainable products, from raw material sourcing to shelf-stocking. Sustainability is most impactful if you optimize every step in the process.
Remember, if you commit yourself to sourcing sustainable partners, you can advertise this. Building awareness of your commitment will sharpen your competitive edge. You’ll improve your credibility, reaping more sustainability benefits.
2. Using Renewable Energy
It’s no secret that embracing renewable energy is one of the most successful and essential ways to support a healthier environment. Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions will help mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution. Using renewable energy also helps reduce dependence on imported fuels, which contributes to lessened political unrest. It’s also an excellent way to support a robust, diversified economy.
Several forms of renewable energy are available. Your decision will depend on several factors, including your geography, budgetary constraints and objectives. Renewable energy choices include:
- Solar, either photovoltaic or thermal.
- Biogas, including landfill gas.
- Tidal power.
Some technologies, such as solar power, are well-established. Others, such as tidal power, are in development. Research which renewable energy sources might work best for your operation. Even a partial reliance on renewable energy can make a significant difference in your overall environmental impact.
3. Using Bio-Based Products
Using bio-based products and oleochemicals is another way you can help the environment. Bio-based products derive, at least in part, from plants or other renewable, natural materials. By using these, you can support their further development. Doing so could result in improved formulas and more widespread use. You can replace traditional products with bio-based alternatives for each of the following applications.
- Coatings, adhesives, elastomers and sealants: Many manufacturing processes rely on coatings, adhesives, elastomers and sealants. Using bio-based alternatives for these products will reduce your carbon footprint and help create a more sustainable manufacturing process.
- Lubricant or grease: Another vital part of industrial manufacturing is lubricant or grease. The environmental impact of using bio-based oils is significant.
- Industrial cleaning: Keeping facilities clean and sanitary should be a high priority for any manufacturer. You might consider swapping your current cleaning chemicals, which can have harsh environmental impacts, with bio-based alternatives.
Implementing simple changes such as the three listed above will help your environment and community without requiring a massive shift in your day-to-day operations. Adopting sustainable practices one by one is a manageable way to improve your overall sustainability.
Learn More About How Oleochemical Products Improve Sustainability
Once you decide to make a difference, your manufacturing company can enact many simple adjustments to improve your sustainability. One of those shifts might be using bio-based or oleochemical products. Sourcing environmentally friendly products will help you reduce your environmental impact and become a more responsible business.
At Acme-Hardesty, we supply renewable, sustainable, bio-based products. We provide manufacturers with the essential bio-based alternatives they seek, making life better for businesses and consumers worldwide. To learn more about how oleochemical products can help you reduce your carbon footprint, contact us today.