Implementing a sustainability program for your company is a great way to plan a greener future for your business but it can also be overwhelming. With so many different options from new energy-saving products and updated green technology, it can be hard to know where to start.
Before you start planning, do your research and look at how other Canadian manufacturing companies are using green initiatives. Focus on these four main areas to help you improve sustainability: energy efficiency, water conservation and the reduction of waste and carbon emissions.
Here are the top 5 green trends in Canadian manufacturing:
Increased Use of Renewable Fuels
Increases in the use of green fuels such as wind power, solar power, fuel cells and biofuels mean businesses can generate their own power, offsetting energy costs and reducing emissions by switching to clean energy.
Companies such as Coors are finding ways to use previously unused by-products into biofuels. Coors turns all of its unused waste beer and turns it into ethanol that is then sold to energy companies and distributed as fuel.
In 2015, Almac installed over 650 solar panels on the roof of their Aurora manufacturing plant and to date has generated over 425,000 kWh of solar energy. This helps reduce Almac’s carbon footprint, offset energy costs and contribute to the energy needs in the area.
Constant advancements in technology and machinery are leading to place where equipment itself can be constantly evolving and optimizing. This internal communication helps businesses not only improve efficiency but also give insight into areas for improvement in the supply chain, planning and even R&D.
By connecting systems within a company, everything that is happening throughout the manufacturing process is communicated and analysed, giving up to date feedback on where you are succeeding and where you can improve.
Recycled and Green Products
With the wealth of information on the internet for almost every product you wish to buy, today’s consumer is more knowledgeable than ever. Customers have more choices, are well informed, and are likely to choose a greener product at a comparable price when given the option.
Products that are designed with sustainability in mind will have the advantage as the world turns to focus on buying smarter and considering environmental factors in their purchases.
Green Vehicles and Reducing Transportation Waste
A third of all greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles and more and more cars and trucks are added to the road every day. Investments in hybrid and electric vehicles are constantly adding new and improved models to the market meaning a future without gas-powered vehicles is in sight.
Company fleets of electric vehicles and fuel cell powered cars are becoming increasingly more popular and with businesses looking to cut costs as well as reduce their transportation emissions. Huge companies such as Walmart are leading this trend by investing in hybrid truck technology.
New policy movement in Europe regarding mandatory green labeling on products will one day make the move to North America. We already see ecolabels such as Energy Star on appliances and electronics but one day all consumer products will have to show their environmental footprint. Labels on products detailing their environmental impact means companies who have adopted green practices have the leg up on the competition.
Here are some simple things you can do to kick-start your Canadian manufacturing companies sustainability plan:
- Skip the paper! Or use recycled paper where possible and make sure to recycle all paper scraps.
- Use natural, biodegradable cleaners in both the shop and office areas
- Switch to LED lighting. Look into provincial or federal rebate programs for updating old lighting.
- Replace old appliances with their newer energy saving equivalent
- Use green web hosts. Some companies offset the environmental costs of running their servers by using renewable energy or planting trees.
- Recycle all used electronics!
- Think outside the box! Companies have started rewarding their hybrid driving employees with better parking spots or committing to raise the thermostat by 1 degree to save in electricity.
- Add time-out programs to machines that are commonly left idle.
- Fix leaking airlines. Air or pneumatic power is one of the highest costs for a manufacturing plant and leaks in an airline are like having a small hole in your gas tank. Small problem but huge costs.