Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, once said, “The only constant in life is change”. As in the past, we have been seeing changes in all walks of life, some due to the global pandemic, changing needs of consumers, supply chain challenges, etc. While some of these changes may be temporary many of them are permanent. Like all other sectors, the manufacturing sector is also facing the same situation and facing these changes.
After years of rapid industrialisation and indiscriminate consumption of resources, the world is facing the challenge of climate change and its manifestation in depleting glacier covers, extreme winters/summers, higher frequency of cyclones, floods, droughts, etc. As per the IPCC report released in 2021, the world will probably reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) of warming within just the next two decades. Leaders from 197 countries met in Glasgow between October 13-31, 2021 for the CPO26 summit to agree on actions to protect the earth. They decided on a new deal known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, aimed at staving off dangerous climate change. This will force businesses, including manufacturing, t permanently change many of their conventional working methods.
Every organisation has put in place or is framing a sustainable strategy for the next few years. Sustainability is a concept related to the development of products, goods and services that involves meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfil their own needs. As a concept, sustainability recognises that the environment is an exhaustible resource. Therefore, it is important to use the environment and its resources rationally and protect it for the good of the earth, our environment, humanity and all living things. Our sustainability strategy is built on four pillars of innovating together for a better tomorrow, protecting our planet, empowering our colleagues and communities and sourcing our materials responsibly.
This will change some of the ways of manufacturing for us – change in manufacturing with change in raw materials, more use of renewable sources of energy in our operations, packaging material, the greater focus of diversity & inclusion, volunteering in communities, etc.
Some of the changes envisaged in the other industries are:
Automobiles that run on hybrid engines or electricity with associated changes in the material of construction and machining.
Recycling of water to reduce wastage.
Using paints that have lower VOC (volatile organic compound) for operator health.
Use of equipment/ gadgets & products which consume lower energy.
Partnership with local communities through volunteering.
Planting trees and forests by oil refineries, paper manufacturers, etc.
While many of these changes may lead to higher input or operational costs, these will prevent further abuse of the environment if not revive it to pre-industrial days and allow the future generation to utilise the resources. It is a small cost to pay when compared to the Tridib Majumder, Managing Director, Quaker Houghton Indiaexistence of mankind.