Climate change is here right now and manufacturing is affecting and helping at the same time. Affecting because the sector consumes lots of energy and other resources and emits large amounts of greenhouse gases which exacerbate environmental problems.
On the other hand, it is helping because green manufacturers focus on reducing pollution, conserving energy, natural resources, and making safer products for consumers. The triple bottom line. Good for the planet, good for people, and financial security. Right now, climate change, due to human activity, is unfolding before our eyes. Manufacturers should take heed and see the opportunity to educate themselves and their workers to collaboratively understand the importance and value of our natural resources. After all, without a thriving environment, humans cannot thrive. Protecting our fragile world for the future can be created by transforming manufacturing to become "green".
Protecting Natural Resources
To help save the environment we should continue employing sustainable business practices in manufacturing. Circular wastewater treatment solutions, energy reuse, and natural resource efficiency are some of the ways manufacturers can make a meaningful contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. For example, circular economy principles can assist in the reduction and elimination of hazardous substances produced as by-products during the manufacturing process.
The textile industry is already transitioning to green manufacturing. Garment factories are often located in developing countries partly due to their skilful hands and craftsmanship, geographic proximity to raw materials such as cotton, and partly due to the competitiveness of workers' labor costs. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia are all water-stressed countries, so prioritizing water conservation in the production cycle would contribute to a water-secure future. Rethinking manufacturing is not only for the benefit of our environment but also reduces the overall cost to the manufacturer. Examples of changes underway in the textiles industry:
- textile wastewater treatment and reuse
- textile processing machines
- textile processing methods
- innovations in textile chemicals and auxiliaries
- tools for processing water use analysis and conservation
Studies show that people who work in green manufacturing improve their quality of life, and enhance health and comfort. Thanks to low concentrations of CO2 and pollutants and high ventilation rates these can lead to performance improvements. The result is that people in this industry increase cognitive scores and perform better in brain function.
A Vehicle for Sustainable Change
After the economic crisis in 2008 green manufacturing stimulated the economy and showed advances in social and environmental value, including job creation, poverty reduction, and sustainable use of natural resources.
The employment-intensive manufacturing sector is considered a good vehicle for the road to recovery, and harnessing the potential of renewable energy could be just what is needed to boost activity in the sector and create sustainable lasting change.
The Situation in Bali
However, polluting industries, including those in the manufacturing sector, are becoming more prevalent. As a consequence, there has been an increase in pollution-related chronic diseases such as asthma, heart disease, and stroke. Industrial pollution is also responsible for affecting the health of the general population due to pollution of the air, drinking water, soil, crops, livestock, fish, and other resources.
The Indonesia Country Water Assessment 2016 reported that the Ministry of Environment estimates 12,000 medium and large industries and 82,000 small enterprises with the potential to pollute surface water. About half of the industries can be found in the food and beverage sector. Other relevant sectors are textile (20%), rubber (13%), chemicals (9%), leather (6%), paper (3%), and mining (1%).
According to the document, the availability of surface water in Indonesia shows that Bali represents the lowest state in water availability with an average of 49.92.
In 2006, twenty-one rivers had pollution levels in Bali that ranged from minus 30 to minus 70, and 0 was considered a safe level, due to domestic and industrial waste, as reported by Environmental Impact Management Agency on Bali Water Protection Program 2016.
This is why at Corethics we believe in green manufacturing as a way to create sustainable communities in the developing world. We invite you to join us!
Volunteer Blog Writer for Corethics