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Why Sustainable Manufacturing Is Good for Business

Why Sustainable Manufacturing Is Good for Business

January 2024

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In recent years, sustainability has been in the spotlight. The concept has gone through a lot of changes, as is shown by the many names professionals have given it. 

Companies have “gone green,” adopted eco-friendly policies, and created corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

More recently, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) has come into focus. This has sought to implement more holistic and realistic sustainability initiatives across industries. This includes the industrial sector and, specifically, manufacturing, which is a major source of energy consumption. 

As we head into 2024, let’s take a closer look at what sustainable manufacturing looks like and some of the ways it can benefit both the earth and your company’s bottom line.

The Power of Sustainable Manufacturing

Before we dive into the details, let’s make one thing clear. We’re talking about sustainability in manufacturing. This isn’t a flashy goal or green initiative focused on improving a single element of a company.

To be genuinely sustainable, an organization must be holistic about its responsibility to the environment and the resources that it has at its disposal. In manufacturing, this means controlling expenses both on the warehouse floor and in corporate offices. 

Sustainability in manufacturing is a critical need at the moment. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) points to a shift toward more manufacturing as one of the major reasons CO2 emissions will likely increase through 2050. Sustainability is essential in this part of the market, which was responsible for a staggering 40% of global energy use as recently as 2019.

All of that said, embracing sustainability is more than a marketing ploy. When done correctly, it offers many attractive benefits for a business’s bottom line. For example, along with reducing a company’s carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment, achieving sustainable operations means a manufacturer can:

  • Cut costs and waste related to energy, such as electricity and water.
  • Tap into certain tax incentives, from something as small as purchasing clean vehicles to something as big as pivoting to manufacturing solar and wind energy components.
  • Improve worker buy-in and attract more customers through improved brand loyalty and reputation.

These benefits and others like them serve as powerful incentives to adopt a sustainable manufacturing model. However, as is often the case, the barrier to entry remains a primary concern. 

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How to Achieve Sustainable Manufacturing: Starting at the Top

Sustainable manufacturing doesn’t occur overnight. Nor is it a “flip a switch” solution. On the contrary, it requires serious investment.

Often, shifting to a more sustainable manufacturing model involves changing entire processes on the warehouse floor. You may require new technology and machinery to carry this out, and your staff must be retrained to handle the changes.

As already mentioned, there are tax incentives that can offset some of these costs. But there is still an up-front investment required. 

This is where having the right leadership in place is essential. CTOs can oversee the implementation of new technology. CSCOs can help maintain smooth operations as you look for sustainable partners to work with up and down the supply chain. Chief ESG Officers can maintain a 10,000-foot perspective as the entire transition takes place.

A strong CEO is also required to help coordinate sweeping changes of this nature across so many departments and individuals. Sustainability can also require a shift from a cost-cutting mindset to a competitive mindset. Leaders must be innovative and willing to embrace sustainable messaging as a way to justify some of the natural price increases that come with running an eco-friendly operation. From start to finish, making an effective shift to sustainability in manufacturing requires an informed and unified C-suite. 

Making an effective shift to sustainability in manufacturing requires an informed and unified C-suite.

Working with an executive recruitment partner can help with this process. We can understand your vision and maintain it as we help you find the right talent for your leadership team. If you’re in manufacturing and you’re either considering or struggling with the transition to sustainability, reach out to our Stanton Chase offices so that we can lend a helping hand as you build the most effective team to future-proof your business’s reputation, your impact on the environment, and ultimately your bottom line.

About the Author

Rick Steel has over 40 years of experience in corporate human resources and executive search. He has extensive search experience in the recruitment of senior level to C-Suite executives across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, food, consumer products, and high technology. His clients have ranged from start-up ventures to Fortune 100 companies, with a special emphasis on the functional areas of marketing, sales, human resources, manufacturing, and general management. In addition, Rick is certified in Hogan’s three core personality-based assessments.  

Executive Search
Industrial
Environment Sustainability and Governance

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