Yet another study reveals that sustainable manufacturing benefits the bottom line, it also attracts new talent. A survey titled, “Success Paths to Sustainable Manufacturing,” conducted by Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs, analyzed the factors in 12 companies that contribute to successful sustainable manufacturing efforts as well as implementation barriers.
Those companies surveyed in the study deemed success in sustainable manufacturing to be largely attributable to customer demand. There were also benefits to consumer trust and brand loyalty derived from positive media attention. Many of the companies reported cost savings from reducing their use of resources like water and energy and by generating less waste.
These cost and resources savings are significant. One of the companies surveyed indicated that sustainable manufacturing initiatives resulted in a cost saving of $7 billion while helping them to grow by 40 percent over the last decade and a half. Another company said that it had succeeded in reducing its manufacturing footprint by two thirds (from 15 million square feet down to 5 million).
Sustainability creates positive feedback loops. Reducing the amount of square footage has the additional benefit of decreasing energy and as a consequence the costs associated with heating and cooling.
A number of best practices were elucidated in this research. Companies reported that they achieved success by being flexible and establishing appropriate metrics including benchmarks. Other key success factors include effective communications and creating a culture of corporate sustainability. Throughout creativity and innovation were deemed essential in the planning and implementation of a successful sustainable manufacturing initiative.
Finally, reporting efforts including frameworks like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) were emphasized by the those who responded to the study.
To read the entire study click here.