Businesses have a lot of responsibility. Not only do they have a lot of responsibility to their customers, to the economy, and to their staff, but they also have a responsibility to the planet. Large businesses will by definition produce a large amount of output and will use a large amount of energy and materials in order to do so. Because businesses do this on such a large scale, this means they have a huge potential carbon footprint and can potentially waste a lot of energy and this can have a terrible effect on the planet.
This is particularly true of those businesses that manufacture and sell physical products which require raw materials in order to create and which use a lot of energy.
The Potential Repercussions of Inefficient Manufacturing
But why is this such a serious problem, and what bad can come from a business wasting materials and energy in manufacturing? Well this is because every time a manufacturing plant uses energy that energy comes from a power plant which burns carbon fuels and releases them into the atmosphere. This then means that the atmosphere contains more CO2 in it than it would otherwise which makes the air thicker and traps in heat from the sun. The same happens when the raw materials such as plastics are created.
This in turn then means that temperature of the planet increases over time, which is what has caused global warming to be such a problem. In turn this increased temperature is melting the ice caps and thereby flooding parts of the planet and causing huge changes to the weather. The temperature of the sea and so the acidity is increasing which is killing off the coral reefs and the billions of creatures that live there, and we are losing land as sea levels rise.
On top of this, wasteful manufacturing also results in the waste of finite materials and fuels which we currently have no viable replacement for. This could potential lead to a future where we don't have access to the things we preciously took for granted like petrol or even certain raw materials. And this is not to mention the large amount of materials that get dumped on landfill sites which have all kinds of ecological repercussions.
There are many solutions for businesses looking to manufacture more efficiently, and this includes things like reducing packaging and using energy more efficiently in their plants.
One of the big ways that businesses can be more eco conscious though while at the same time being kind to their bottom line is to use digital manufacturing. This is basically manufacturing that uses digital CAD files to instruct a plant which will usually be outsourced. Thus one plant can provide work for many different companies and can create copies of products on demand. This 'POD' (Print on Demand) aspect means there's no upfront investment for companies and means that there is no risk of stock going to waste. Meanwhile the digital nature of the plans means that they can be quickly and immediately thereby ensuring that the plans are always as efficient as possible and create minimal waste.