How a Safe Future can be achieved from Green Manufacturing?

In June 2017, President Trump announced withdrawal of the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement aligning with Syria and Nicaragua, leaving U.S. as the only industrialized nations on Earth to have rejected this landmark global effort toward free from decay our precious planet. According to Trump, U.S. business interests were not aligned with the terms of the agreement. However shockingly, among the most vocal pundits of this choice have been a portion of America's corporate very large with Tesla/SpaceX author Elon Musk and Disney Management Robert Iger leaving from Trump's warning board in dissent. Most of corporate America presently meet with established researchers, the approaching threats of man-made climatic change are to be sure genuine, and boundless benefits today can't precede the world we abandon to who and what is to come. Green manufacturing which is an emerging industrial trend with long-term achievable future for sustainability, will surely help in overcoming these environmental challenges at a systemic level.

Indeed, one of the most bizarre question for our time: How do we strive for industrial growth while also being mindful of the traditional environmental impact of productivity?

We must find the right balance. Everyone feels this urgency. By 2050, the world would have consumed four Earths’ worth of resources.  Recently, United Nations also warned that CO2 emissions should be cut nearly in half by 2030 to safeguard the planet from additional threats of climate change.

What is Green Manufacturing?

In brief, green manufacturing is basically about changing business and manufacturing practices, along with the mindset of stakeholders, to control the impact of industries on climatic change and other environmental concerns. There are real ways to drive sustainable practices both within manufacturing facilities and through the customer base.

The Industrial Revolution 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things present new opportunities to unlock process innovations to develop sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials, decarbonize energy, tap digital innovation for doing more with less, and extend the life cycle of goods within a “zero waste to landfill” framework.

What are the results ?

  • Reduced use of natural resources and energy
  • Worldwide lower carbon footprint
  • Optimizing efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability across the full manufacturing life cycle
  • A strong foundation for a global circular economy can be build

Develop new materials

There is a huge potential for substitution of carbon-intensive materials for less carbon-intensive ones. In the buildings sector at large, for example, timber or pozzolan-based concrete can be used instead of Portland cement to mitigate pollution. Improvement of materials processing systems is also possible. For instance, in addition to using greener electronic materials such as innovative bio materials, electronic companies now can incorporate green packaging.

Companies can and should adopt eco-labelling to let consumers and end-users know where they stand. And in the coming years across manufacturing segments, block chain advancements are expected to improve green traceability.

Decarbonize energy

The latest Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) report “Mission Possible” declares that reaching net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century is a very real vision. This goal can be achieved by moving from decarbonization of power towards the electrification of processes. Constraining demand growth for carbon-intensive transport can also reduce significantly the cost of decarbonization. Energy-demanding industries such as concrete production can even push toward more efficient, climate-friendly practices with digitized process innovation.

Deliver digital innovation

Manufacturers can prioritize resource efficiency projects alongside productivity goals with the help of IoT technology and the development of smart connected devices. Connected assets throughout a facility can yield insights into real-time and historical energy use, enabling industrial enterprises to streamline energy and resources from a bottom-line perspective. This view of it is critical when energy is among a company’s top expenses.

Drive a circular economy

Green manufacturing is much more than leveraging high-tech materials production and pushing for energy-efficient practices. It also requires a fundamental change in the journey of goods. We know that in traditional manufacturing, a straight path from cradle to landfill in which products are made, used, and thrown away is followed. Sometimes, they are never even brought to market. It’s time to reshape the status quo.

The green manufacturing journey, by contrast, is circular. Instead of the 3R approach of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, it moves toward a 5R approach: “Repair, Reuse, Refurbish, Re-manufacture, and Recycle” thereby driving an optimized usage of the resources and an extended life of products.  Achieving “zero waste to landfill” is possible.

Collaborating for the greater good

We all are in this together when it comes to making meaningful change. An extended enterprise approach is essential. A strategic combination of R and D investments, partnerships with universities, local and multi-national company collaborations, and innovation hubs to set ardent sustainability targets and more importantly taking collaborative steps to achieve them is very much essential.

Adapting for the future

To be clear: green manufacturing is simply good business. It offers innovative advances in productivity and efficiency without any waste or pollution. Economic growth can and should be detached from environmental degradation. The true impact of green manufacturing will only be felt when all the industries begin to separate one from the other, thus accelerating the planet toward a low-carbon reality. This green mission is possible.

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