Green Manufacturing—What's the Bottom Line?October 1, 2008
Consumers, business leaders and organizations of all kinds have developed a new enthusiasm for environmental consciousness. While green strategies have surfaced off and on since the 1970s, it’s fair to assume that this time the green-manufacturing movement is here to stay, according to Nabil Nasr, director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In a recent article published in Manufacturing Business Technology, Nasr says, “There is a belief among some manufacturers that green manufacturing costs money. This is absolutely wrong!” Instead, Nasr insists that manufacturers can implement green projects without incurring any costs, and that “these initiatives offer competitive market advantages.”
Being green means different things to different people —it’s purchasing green equipment, designing and building green solutions, and paying attention to energy consumption and to disposal and recycling of raw materials. According to our web poll at metalforming-magazine.com, nearly half of you (45.9 percent) are encouraging in-plant recycling, performing energy audits and installing energy-efficient products and techniques, and have worked to reduce emissions. At the same time, only 17.2 percent say that they believe that “incorporating green initiatives would only drive up costs.”
Equally, or maybe more impressive, is an August 2008 greening-efforts survey released by EFT Research, San Francisco, CA, of more than 300 North American manufacturers. The resulting Green Manufacturing: Adoption & Implementation Report reveals that nearly three of four manufacturing executives believe that the cost of greening manufacturing is getting lower and the potential profits higher.
I encourage all of you to include green initiatives in your near-term plans. Establish a corporate green team (one-third of those surveyed by EFT already have green teams in place) and develop plans to enact environmental imperatives that promise to improve your plant’s efficiency and product quality.