As the urgency to take action against climate change intensifies, scientists warn we are at the tipping point. For manufacturers, the good news is that evidence increasingly suggests that sustainable production and distribution methods are not only the right course of action in terms of social responsibility, but also for the bottom line. Environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes have been proven to reduce costs, increase sales and help improve employee retention. Here are some points to consider:
Environmentally-friendly manufacturing can help reduce costs
Sustainable manufacturing processes can help reduce waste, boost efficiency, and help cut your energy bill. Increasingly, companies are designing products to minimise scrap and to make use of recycled content. Plants frequently strive for ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ by enhancing their in-plant recycling programs and by utilising reusable packaging. Reusables have been found to significantly reduce waste and provide a cheaper option on a per-use basis than expendable packaging. Likewise, the use of green packaging materials such as wheat straw by electronics manufacturers, for example, has resulted in a 40% reduction in energy and a 90% saving in water requirements.
One particular area of opportunity is facility lighting. A switch to low power LED lighting, for example, offers a quick payback on investment. Many companies are looking at sustainable alternatives such as solar panels. Sustainability savings also extend beyond the manufacturing plant. Product design improvements can also lead to better space utilisation, transportation savings and lower CO2 emissions.
An environmentally-friendly production focus can boost your top line and brand reputation
An adherence to sustainable manufacturing can help increase sales by increasing your attractiveness to customers in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) supply chains. In the case of B2B relationships, companies are looking to source materials and goods from businesses with similar sustainability aspirations.
For consumer goods, research continues to track the public’s growing interest in purchasing sustainably produced products. For example, a recent ING International Survey of consumer attitudes found that 64% of Europeans surveyed felt that companies would face a negative consumer response if they didn’t take steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Sustainable employers score higher with employees
It is no surprise that employers who prioritise sustainable practices more closely align with the values of their employees. The result, according to research, is a higher level of worker engagement and retention. Consider the sobering results of a global HP study of employee attitudes toward sustainability:
- 61% of survey participants believe business sustainability is mandatory.
- 58% said environmentally-conscious practices are essential to engaging the future workforce.
- 46% would only work for companies with sustainable business practices.
- 40% would look to change jobs if the company didn’t implement sustainable business practices
- 39% would warn others by leaving a bad review of their company for poor sustainability practices
Pressures to combat global warming as well as to increase business profitability are collectively pushing us in the same direction. The bottom line is that by investing in environmentally-friendly manufacturing and shipping processes, businesses can save money, increase sales and help engage workers. It is also the right thing to do when every small step helps in our fight against climate change.