The Difference Between Sustainability and “Going Green”

“Going green” is not the same thing as sustainability, albeit they are related. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, green is more frequently associated with a singular product or process. Examples include improving a specific operation so that it does not harm the environment or creating a product made entirely out of recycled materials.

Sustainability is typically more associated with an organization’s holistic approach; it takes the entire production process and logistics into consideration. For example, you may purchase a green product made out of recycled goods. However, if that product was made overseas, and environmentally harmful methods were used to transport that product to the United States, this would not be adhering to sustainable principles.

In the manufacturing world, it is advantageous to focus on both green and sustainability. While targeted improvements can be beneficial to your company, looking at the “bigger picture” maximizes the perks of an environmental focus. Here are five critical ways to embrace sustainability and green to positively impact your organization:

Power Consumed by Type

  • Coal
  • Gas
  • Fuel
Type %
Coal 50
Gas 30
Fuel 20

Energy and water costs are a prime concern for manufacturers. Focusing on improvements can reduce these expenses. Often, these improvements are realized as annual savings as opposed to quicker, short-term cost reductions.

Switching to energy-efficient lighting and adjusting lighting levels in accordance with your production schedule will reduce your long-term electrical costs. Regular equipment inspections will also prove beneficial. For example, air compressor leaks can be a waste of energy and increase expenses. Changing how you package your products and supplies can provide cost reductions and free up space at your facility. Solar and wind energy, along with energy efficient equipment and machinery, will greatly reduce monthly utility bills. Implementing strategies such as recycling and going paperless will also save on supply costs. Sustainability can improve your bottom-line.

Green and sustainable practices can make your company more marketable. Consumers are more conscious of the environment, and making improvements will strengthen your reputation. Whether you’re an OEM or a supplier, highlighting your initiatives to the public will help you attract a whole new base of customers, resulting in increased sales. This is important to manufacturers seeking government contracts where green manufacturing standards are often a factor.

Technology and social media have enabled buyers to easily (and publicly) promote or criticize companies for their green practices, or lack thereof.

Sustainability improvements are a collaborative effort. When employees work together to identify and implement green and sustainable initiatives, it fosters a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement. Employees work harder when they are engaged and have a sense of pride in their company. By internally communicating the importance of changes and the impact they are having on the business and environment, manufacturers will positively influence their corporate culture.

Sustainability can also ignite innovation. For example, if you challenge your engineers and machinists to reduce material scraps or recycle more waste during the manufacturing process, it often leads to additional ideas for operational improvements.

Going Green and Save Energy

To run a successful business, it’s important to pay careful attention to trends within your industry and the global marketplace as a whole. For those who follow this advice, it’s easy to see that one of the most important ongoing trends is a widespread effort to “go green.”

Sustainable practices and eco-friendly operations are quickly becoming the standard in every industry. But why are so many companies eager to join this changing landscape of global commerce? Simply put: adopting eco-friendly practices increases your bottom line, keeps customers happy, and protects the future of our planet. This is especially true when it comes to industrial processes and factories. In fact, many experts agree that if a business
intends to be successful in the long-term, it can’t afford to not go green!
Does your business have the foresight to adopt eco-friendly practices before competitors do? Don’t sacrifice long-term success and stability for shorter-term profits. By adopting sustainable practices now, you allow your business to operate on the cutting edge of industry while strengthening your competitive advantage. For a majority of businesses, there’s more than enough room for improvement.

Whether you are simply installing energy-efficient lighting in a manufacturing plant or re-thinking the entire flow of your supply chain, going green boosts profit, overhauls company image, and protects the health of the environment. Consider this a rare win-win opportunity that you must take advantage of to bring your business to the next level.

So what are the specific benefits you can expect from the adoption of eco-friendly industrial practices? Here are two of the most common:

  • Increased bottom line due to lower costs and access to new markets
  • Enhanced company image, happier employees, and other intangible
    benefits

How to Green Any Industrial Environment

  • Adopt energy efficient practices to cut costs instantly.
  • Make use of renewable energy and green power.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible.

Make the Commitment to Go Green

Hopefully by now the “why” and the “how” of going green are clear. All that’s left is for you to make a solid commitment to modernising your business and getting it prepared for the future of 21st-century global commerce. Once you and your employees make sustainability a part of your mission statement, eco-friendly practices will trickle down into every corner of your operation. It won’t take long for the benefits to start piling up, but the real reward is the promise of a healthy planet for generations to come.