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The rapid industrial development, the depletion of natural resources, and the rise in environmental awareness have led corporate companies to shift their attention from short-term profits to long-term strategies to achieve sustainable management and smooth progress into a new era.
The World Commission on Environment and Development established sustainable development policies for future environmental and economic development, defining sustainability as a development model that meets the needs of contemporary people and protects the environment without comprising future competition. Sustainability indicators are a suitable means for assessing the development of production technologies and the integration of business decisions.
Achieving an acceptable environmental performance has become a universal commitment for all organizations to maintain competitiveness. Environmental accounting (or green accounting) is an environmental analytical tool that measures and communicates the costs and benefits of the overall economic effects.
It is a process that involves collecting material-volume and cost information to identify the costs incurred by corporate companies in the pollution emission, waste treatment, and environmental protection. Currently, environmental accounting has garnered international attention and the disclosure of corporate environmental information is actively encouraged while theoretical frameworks and practical guidelines are gradually developed.
Green manufacturing and sustainable practices are two ways to create long term cost reductions and improve efficiencies. They go beyond primitive cost-cutting measures employed by many organizations. Going green and using sustainable methods are long-term investments in the viability of a company. They require a paradigm shift in planning, but the rewards are worth the effort. Before talking about the benefits, let’s review the definitions of green manufacturing and sustainable practices.
Green manufacturing focuses on using less energy, fewer materials while creating less pollution. Green manufacturing uses renewable and sustainable materials. It creates less waste that does not harm the environment. Waste reduction occurs at all steps of the process including physical waste and emissions. Green processes demonstrate environmental awareness. The ultimate goal of green manufacturing is to create a smaller carbon footprint on the earth.
Sustainable materials are cultivated and harvested with methods not harmful to the environment. These resources reproduce naturally and rapidly. They are more energy-efficient than traditional materials. Sustainable materials are reusable and recyclable. The use of sustainable materials helps keep the planet healthy and remain a viable platform for life
Green manufacturing and sustainability reduces costs in several ways:
Elaborate packaging costs money and is often wasteful. Simplified packaging creates sustainable cost savings.
Harmful waste products such as emissions and toxic byproducts are eliminated. Safe disposal and containment fees are reduced or eliminated. Fines and penalties are also reduced through green manufacturing.
Going green and using non-toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process reduces the amount of water needed for production and waste disposal.
Recycling water offers additional cost savings by reducing the amount of fresh groundwater needed. Recycled water can be used to meet various needs from cleaning equipment to watering the lawn.
Energy-efficient lighting is another way to reduce spending, and these lights last longer and require less electricity to operate. Solar panels are another way to reduce energy costs.
Transitioning to green manufacturing and sustainable practices forces manufacturers to look at all areas of production. Once inefficiencies are identified, conversion planning begins and new processes are developed using the least inputs to create the greatest output. Wasted time and physical energy are eliminated allowing employees to perform their jobs more efficiently.