Far from being just another buzzword, sustainability has become a key concept in the business world and beyond. Sustainability focuses on meeting current needs without impairing the future of the planet and the generations to come. Embracing sustainable practices is crucial for ensuring the health of the environment and the progress of our society. This is especially true for manufacturing.

Sustainability matters

Looking at recent studies, it becomes obvious that sustainability is a non-negotiable for brands and organizations. This is regardless of their area of activity. 78% of consumers say that sustainability matters. More than half of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Therefore it’s clear that eco-conscious practices represent a major success factor for companies.

Moreover, countries around the world are introducing new regulations to reduce the harmful effects resulting from manufacturing activities, further increasing the incentive to greenify operations and products.

The pressure to go green and prioritize environmental protection is mounting for all businesses. It is particularly noticeable in the manufacturing sector. This sector is known to contribute heavily to global carbon emissions.

However, what’s less obvious is how businesses in the manufacturing industry can go about achieving sustainable transformation. Also how they make their products more environmentally friendly. Navigating the intricacies of sustainable manufacturing while also ensuring a profitable activity can be extremely challenging. This is especially true for those just starting their journey into this industry. However, it is also the case for those with years of experience behind them.

That’s why it’s important to start with the very basics and learn about the methods and strategies that can help manufacturers further their sustainability goals and boost their bottom line.

What is sustainable manufacturing?

Manufacturing is considered the backbone of economic development but is at the same time a major source of waste and pollution, hence the need to make manufacturing more sustainable.  But what exactly does that mean?

Sustainable manufacturing refers to the creation of goods with a low carbon footprint by employing a variety of methods and practices that can help companies minimize their negative environmental, social and economic impacts while maintaining high levels of productivity and profitability.

For many manufacturing businesses, this means making drastic changes and swathing to a new way of doing business. The transformational journey begins with gaining a good grasp of theoretical concepts and standards like learning what is an LCA (life-cycle assessment) and then continues with translating these notions into business practice by implementing adequate strategies.

The path to sustainable manufacturing

While every manufacturing company has its own specific needs and requirements, which means they might have different sustainability goals and take different paths to reach them, there are a series of methods and strategies that can help manufacturers greenfly their products and operations and boost their eco-friendly credentials.

Sustainability assessment

Manufacturers need to know exactly where they’re standing in terms of sustainability so they can move forward and make the necessary changes. This implies conducting thorough sustainability audits that can help them identify the areas that require improvement and the potential solutions they can employ to tackle these issues.

Since this is a rather complex process that requires specialized knowledge and tools, many companies choose to partner up with experts who can walk them through all the stages, from data collection and creating a detailed LCA background report and EPD to outlining sustainability initiatives and planning product footprints and pipelines.

Reducing reliance on fossil fuels

At the moment, the vast majority of manufacturers use fossil fuels to power their operations which leads to the release of vast amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. While new technologies are not sufficiently advanced to allow the replacement of fossil fuels with other sources of energy, there are ways to optimize and reduce their use. Conducting regular energy audits to pinpoint areas where energy might be wasted, implementing energy-saving measures, investing in energy-efficient tools and equipment, and switching to renewable energy where possible are just some of the steps that can be taken in this respect.

Pollution prevention

Rising pollution rates have become a major concern for countries around the world. Manufacturers can put a stop to this rampant issue by reducing pollution at the source. Depending on the type of activity they engage in, this can translate into optimizing manufacturing processes, better handling of chemical substances, utilizing pollution reduction technology, opting for eco-friendly materials, monitoring air emissions and joining forces with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance.

Reducing waste

It’s a well-known fact that manufacturing processes produce a significant amount of waste, so this is an area that requires particular attention. By employing adequate waste management solutions and tools, creating products with a longer life cycle and working with suppliers to reduce waste throughout the supply chain, manufacturing companies can cut back on the waste they generate and diminish their carbon footprint.

Recycling more is another aspect that can make a huge difference in terms of sustainability. Manufacturers can make use of recycled materials, make sure that the products they put on the market are easily recyclable, and educate their workforce and their consumers about the importance of recycling to advance in the right direction.

Measuring progress

Last but not least, it’s essential for manufacturing companies to keep track and measure their progress constantly. This will help them evaluate the efficiency of the measures they’ve implemented, see what works and what doesn’t and adjust their strategies accordingly so they can ramp up their efforts and register better results in the future.


With consumers becoming more eco-conscious and changing their purchase habits to reflect a sense of social and environmental responsibility and regulatory bodies introducing a new wave of ESG regulations, manufacturing companies have no other choice but to meet consumers’ demands and comply with legal requirements. Sustainable manufacturing can only be achieved by taking a holistic approach and making a sustained effort, focusing on constant education and implementing the right tools and strategies in this respect.