The Green Mission Possible – climate change and manufacturing
With COP26 concluded in November last year, the question at the foremost of everyone’s mind is – how do we protect the earth’s invaluable, but finite resources while, at the same time, strive for industrial growth?
There is no doubt that the time for adaptive change is now with scientific reports predicting that humanity would, in another two decades, deplete the planet’s natural resources.
How does manufacturing and production affect our collective future and what exactly is green manufacturing? Primarily, this would rest on the pillars of manufacturing practises and mind set of stakeholders to mitigate the industrial impact on climate change and other environmental concerns.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Internet of Things (IoT) present unique opportunities to develop sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and tapping into digital innovation for doing more with less and extending the life cycle of goods. These are all tangible ways to drive sustainable practices within manufacturing facilities across the supply chain and through the customer base.
At CZ Electronics, technology advancements optimise efficiency, resiliency and sustainability across the manufacturing life cycle and supply chain, building a strong foundation for a circular economy. While Bringing Tomorrow Home, best practices across design and manufacturing processes are tenaciously adhered to, while meeting local consumer market needs.
Develop new materials
There is significant potential to improve material processing systems. For instance, in addition to using greener electronic materials such as innovative bio materials, electronic companies can now incorporate green packaging. Wheat straw packaging had become a unique solution which can ultimately lead to a 40% energy saving.
Improving green traceability
Companies can play an important part in training customers by using eco-labelling to share their products’ environmental profiles and end-of-product-life instructions.
Decarbonising energy’s major payoff would be energy saving with environmental and business benefits. We see a bright future for decarbonising energy as rich countries had promised more than R130 billion USD towards green energy supply for South Africa. The latest Energy Transition Commission (ETC) report “Mission Possible” opines that reaching net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century is a very real vision.
With IoT technology and development of smart, connected devices, manufacturers can prioritise projects in line with productivity goals. This includes extending the life cycle of products while driving operational and energy efficiencies.
Driving a circular economy
However, green manufacturing is much more than leveraging high-tech material production and energy-efficient practices. It also requires a fundamental change in the journey of goods from production and manufacturing to landfill. It had become time to rethink the status quo.
The green manufacturing journey is circular, moving beyond the 3R approach of “reduce, reuse and recycle” towards a 5R approach: “repair, reuse, refurbish, re-manufacture and recycle,” driving optimised usage of resources and an extended product. Achieving “zero waste to landfill” is possible.
Collaborating for the greater good
When it comes to meaningful change, we all are in this together. Experts are calling for a strategic combination of R&D investments, partnerships with universities, local and multinational company collaborations and innovation hubs towards setting sustainability targets and taking collaborative steps to achieving this.
Adapting for the future
Green manufacturing is simply good business. It offers revolutionary advances in productivity and efficiency without the downsides of waste or pollution. Economic growth can and must be decoupled from environmental degradation. The future is requiring innovation as never before and only those, able to meet next-era and sustainable manufacturing excellence, would be part of a successful 4IR. This green mission is indeed possible.
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