The modern economy runs on the manufacturing and purchase of stuff, stuff, and more stuff. This process shows no signs of slowing down, since economic expansion (and the entire global system) depends on growth. While production increases with no signs of slowing down, humanity must confront the very real environmental limits to growth. In order to maintain the health of our current global society, we must clean up our act. Sustainable manufacturing is one way to do that. In order to stave off climate catastrophe, we must be responsible about how we produce material goods.
Not only is sustainable manufacturing beneficial to society at-large, but it is also in the best interest of individual companies. Far from a costly, inefficient burden, sustainability is actually a major driver of commercial success. Here are the top five reasons why.
Improve Public Relations
In the information age, it’s more important than ever before for a company to maintain a good reputation. How a company carries out its business is public knowledge, just a few clicks away for any concerned consumer. These days, more consumers are concerned than ever before. Young people in particular are worried about the environment and willing to change their spending habits to match their ideals. In order to stay on the right side of this moral fight, companies are more than happy to engage in sustainable practices.
Companies that commit to sustainable manufacturing and publicize their commitment can expect to see a significant increase in sales. More and more people are going out of their way to support businesses that share their enthusiasm about building a sustainable future. The equation is simple: Being a known polluter repels customers, while a good reputation on environmental issues attracts them.
Cut Down On Energy Costs
The beautiful thing about sustainable practices is that they’re economically beneficial to everyone involved. Sure, equipment changes and other initial costs can set a company back in the short term, but over time the upgrades will pay for themselves. Sustainably manufacturing brings lower utility bills along with the decrease in environmental impact, making it the ultimate example of a win-win endeavor.
More Government Incentives
At the local, state, and federal level, government policies favor businesses that prioritize environmentally-friendly practices. By committing to sustainable manufacturing, a company opens far more doors than it closes. Grants, tax breaks, and government contracts are much easier to come by for a company that makes green manufacturing a central component of its operations. As regulations continue to tighten and governments respond to greater public pressure to combat climate change, the importance of green manufacturing will only increase.
Happier, Healthier Workforce
Workers, especially millennials, want to feel that they’re contributing to a socially-beneficial organization. If a company makes it clear they care about nothing more than the bottom line, morale around the workplace is bound to drop. These days, people won’t accept a neat division between their work and philanthropic obligations. In order to feel satisfied, they want their careers to have a positive impact. By giving employees a sense of satisfaction in their work, companies engaged in sustainable manufacturing make their whole operation run smoothly. Sustainable practices can also cut down on toxins and other dangers, making workplaces both happier and healthier.
In order to thrive and beat out the competition, companies need to acknowledge the importance of environmental initiatives in the current cultural climate. Sustainable development, once the concern of a few fringe environmenalists, has become entirely mainstream. Companies are responding to this new reality by making sustainable manufacturing a major component of their operations.