Why Sustainability is Important in Manufacturing

car manufacturing assembly

The Importance of Sustainable Manufacturing

As the world becomes more eco-conscious, there are moves everyone can make to be more green. Sustainable manufacturing has benefits and global importance.

The sustainable manufacturing movement began ages ago. Long before the United Nations formulated its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

Goal number 12 is the one most applicable to manufacturing. It states, “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”.

Back in 1997, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) pioneered sustainability reporting. It aims to help organizations communicate their impact on sustainability issues such as:

  • climate change
  • human rights
  • governance
  • social wellbeing

In short, the GRI offers a set of standards and framework reporting guidelines. Companies use them in reports relating to their sustainability performance. Most companies publish their reports each year, along with their financial statements.

Many manufacturers have made concerted efforts to adopt sustainability best practices. They even ensure their entire supply chain aligns with their policies.

The value of minimizing damage to the Earth’s natural resources is obvious. Let’s look at sustainability issues in manufacturing. 

Sustainability Issues

Sustainability reporting often refers to its “triple bottom line” reporting. Triple, because it considers the 

  • Economic
  • Social
  • Environmental

impacts the everyday activities of your business have. A sustainability report is a set of disclosures on the above three material topics.

Economic Sustainability

Describe work done to understand economic impacts at national, regional, and local levels. Examples include opening a new plant, increased production, and creating new jobs.

Engaging a local raw materials supplier is another example of economic sustainability. Yet it also has a positive social impact by benefiting the local community.

As Industry Week says, the manufacturing value stream is very broad. It encompasses upstream and downstream supply chains. Manufacturers need to examine the extent of their actions in both directions.

Social Sustainability

The GRI has established 40 social performance indicators, divided into four groups:

  • work practices
  • human rights
  • company
  • product warranty

Some of these indicators are qualitative, and this is where your company gets to put its own mark on the report.

Environmental Sustainability

All three core impacts interrelate, as this explanation of sustainable development illustrates.

The Environment – Sustainable Manufacturing Is Key

It matters to your customers that you show transparency when it comes to

  • waste management
  • energy consumption
  • use of renewable natural resources
  • efforts to reduce carbon emissions
  • recycling operations
  • company finances

Your Sustainable Rewards

There are many sources of guidance on sustainability reporting. Your own industry is likely to have published at least some material on this issue.

You stand to gain considerable leverage from adopting the sustainable manufacturing approach. Non-financial and financial performance go hand in hand. Everyone connected with the company, including potential employees, will begin to appreciate that.

Clear, sustainable, long-term business policies and strategies are what you need. Benchmark your sustainability performance and assess it from time to time. That way, you can

  • streamline processes and be more efficient
  • save costs
  • track your progress
  • compare your performance with that of your competitors.

In an environmentally-aware world, sustainability kudos garner increased brand loyalty. Your good reputation within your sector also grows.

Focused Effort and Positive Influence

Focused effort toward sustainable manufacturing can reverse any past negative impacts. Your value goes beyond the balance sheet. Wield positive influence by demonstrating that to external stakeholders. 

We’ll leave it up to you to decide which areas of your operations need the most urgent attention. You will know what measures you already have in place that you need to improve further.

Qualified employees can help you achieve your sustainability goals in manufacturing. Get in touch with JSK Recruiting.