What is green manufacturing & how to implement it?

The manufacturing & production sectors are one of the key economic growth drivers. They account for more than 15% of the world’s GDP. However, according to the World Economic Forum, the manufacturing and production sectors produce 1/5th world’s carbon emissions. 

Lean & green manufacturing was born out of the need to reduce waste. 

Green manufacturing is also known as sustainable manufacturing or eco-friendly manufacturing. It refers to using environment-friendly materials and practices in the manufacturing processes. It aims to minimise the environmental impact of manufacturing by reducing waste, pollution and energy consumption. 

It integrates sustainable practices throughout the product lifecycle, from design to disposal. It involves using renewable resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using recycled materials, and improving energy efficiency. 

One way to practice green manufacturing is by utilising eco-friendly packaging materials and minimising waste during production. Additionally, incorporating renewable energy & recyclable products are other ways to promote viable production.

Toyota Motor Corporation developed the concept of Lean manufacturing. It aims at reducing or eliminating waste from the production process. The reduced wastage of resources leads to better productivity & lowers costs.

In the coming years, companies should adopt practices that positively impact the environment. Aim at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and focusing on lean principles.

Similarly, there are some prime benefits of green manufacturing:

  • Resource efficiency – Green manufacturing aims to optimise using raw materials, water, and energy. It is highly recommended that companies explore alternative energy sources. They should conduct in-depth market research and utilise cutting-edge technology to develop sustainable and profitable products.

This approach ensures that the use of natural resources is not exploited or compromised. By embracing innovative solutions and responsible practices, businesses can contribute to an eco-friendlier future while still achieving their objectives.

  • Waste management strategies- Lean manufacturing aims at reducing wastage. The emphasis is on preventing or minimising the release of pollutants into the environment. Hence companies should first identify the waste generator activities.

Companies can reduce wastage by production planning and maintaining the raw material accordingly. Thus, proper inventory management can help keep inventory levels and reduce wastage.

Another way to reduce waste is through recycling or reusing the material. Companies should promote the reuse of materials and encourage the recycling of products at the end of their life cycle.

  • Renewable energy – To combat climate change, companies need to decrease the use of fossil fuels. Instead, they should adopt renewable energy sources like wind, solar or thermal. This can significantly reduce carbon emissions. 
  • Circular economy – According to Gartner, about 70% of businesses plan to invest in the ‘circular economy’. The circular economy is a concept wherein the industry aims to generate waste that can be reused, recycled or repurposed. It is a system that does not produce any waste that is considered pollution-causing waste.
  • Establishing a green supply chain – Manufacturers should collaborate with environmentally responsible suppliers. Promote transparency and ethical practices throughout the supply chain.
  • Product design – Companies are racing to design products with minimal environmental impact. This involves developing machinery that consumes less energy, has better productivity, and has low maintenance costs. It also includes manufacturing products from recycled material or ethically sourced raw or alternative materials. 

For example – An apparel company produces jeans from recycled glass and plastic bottles.

  • Employee engagement – Manufacturers should encourage employees to adopt sustainable energy conservation and waste reduction practices. They should educate the employees on waste treatment & disposal. In addition, they should create an environmentally friendly work atmosphere.

Implementing these practices will lead to reduced carbon emissions and the release of greenhouse gases. Therefore, green & lean manufacturing is the way forward, considering the current environmental situation.

Understanding these concepts & successfully implementing them requires the necessary knowledge and skill sets.

This is where MITSDE will help you overcome the knowledge gap. 

MIT School of Distance Education is a distance learning wing of MIT, Pune, recognised by AICTE.

MITSDE offers a 21-month Post Graduate Diploma in Operations Management. The PGDM course is bundled with a Lean Six Sigma Certification (Green + Black belt). The bundled program makes you a holistic manager with twice the advantages of the PG Diploma and Lean Six Sigma certification.