Sustainable Manufacturing: How is Geomiq Fighting the Climate Crisis?
Today, the Geomiq team are beyond excited to announce our newest sustainability initiative. Read on to learn why sustainable manufacturing has never been more crucial – and how we can all work together to fight against climate change.
Manufacturing is faster, easier and more efficient than it ever has been, and each year it operates on an even larger scale. We celebrate the innovation, dynamism and power of the manufacturing industry, but with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s vital we recognise its environmental footprint too. Since 1950, the metal manufacturing industry has grown by more than six times. Unfortunately, so have global carbon emissions. In 1950, the world emitted just over 5 billion tonnes of CO2. Today, we emit over 36 billion tonnes each year.
If we continue this way, our planet will not be habitable for future generations. As David Attenborough puts it, “the moment of crisis has come”, and something has to be done. Luckily, we still have time to change course. We can avoid more dire impacts of climate change by limiting warming to 1.5°C, according to one recent report by the United Nations, which stated that emissions of the greenhouse gases heating the planet – from power stations and factories, vehicles and agriculture – should be almost halved by 2030. With this in mind, sustainable manufacturing is the only way forwards – and the only ethical option for engineers and manufacturers everywhere.
At Geomiq, we’re on a mission to reduce our carbon footprint, promote real sustainability in the manufacturing industry and lead by example. That’s why, from April 22nd, we are committing to planting one tree for every order we receive on our platform. Our ultimate goal is to become a carbon neutral company by 2022, and to facilitate real change within the manufacturing industry as a whole.
To understand why sustainable manufacturing is so important, let’s start by taking a look at the industry’s current carbon footprint, and explore what we can do to reduce it.
The engineering and manufacturing industries’ current carbon footprint
When it comes to unsustainable processes, the manufacturing sector is currently one of the world’s largest perpetrators, emitting an annual total of 880 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (or equivalent greenhouse gases) each year. This makes it one of the largest single emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe.
In 2018, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2018, industry accounted for 22% of US greenhouse gas emissions in the USA. However, this figure only takes into account direct emissions – so the real figures are likely even more worrying. When you consider manufacturing companies’ use of electricity and transportation in their operations, the manufacturing industry’s share of emissions rises to nearly 30% – a larger percentage than any other industry.
As manufacturers, therefore, we have an enhanced duty to act quickly to reduce the damage we are currently doing to the environment, and reach carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
How can engineering and manufacturing become more sustainable?
There is plenty of guidance out there for those in the manufacturing industry who are looking to live more lightly on the planet. To name just one helpful resource, ‘ISO/TR 14062:2002, Environmental Management — Integrating Environmental Aspects into Product Design and Development’ is a great start for manufacturers and engineers looking to ‘go green’.
Here are some of the key things engineers and manufacturers are currently doing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions:
#1 Use environmentally friendly materials
With plastics proven to harm the environment, many manufacturers are looking to use more environmentally friendly materials, such as biopolymers/biodegradable polymers, in their manufacturing processes.
#2 Turn to additive manufacturing (3D printing)
In subtractive manufacturing processes, such as CNC machining, products are made by chipping away at blocks of material. By contrast, additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a process whereby three dimensional objects are created layer-by-layer using 3D object scanners or CAD (computer aided design). Since additive manufacturing forms an object on the build platform from material fed into the machine, there is far less unused waste. This makes 3D printing a more sustainable technique – as it’s far kinder to our planet.
#3 Focus on remanufacturing
Manufacturers can also reduce carbon emissions by remanufacturing; reusing durable materials (such as steel) in their manufacturing processes. Before parts can be used again, they need to be cleaned by sand blasting, pressure washing or abrasive blasting. Once this has been done, they’re almost as good as new – and the planet will thank you for using them!
#4 Be energy-efficient
As we touched on earlier, when you consider the manufacturing industry’s use of electricity and transportation in their operations, carbon emissions rise even further than the EPA’s estimated 22%. To save energy, manufacturers should consider buying energy-efficient machinery and equipment, lighting their facilities with LED light bulbs (which use 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs), or look to renewable forms of energy, such as solar or wind. In fact, sunlight is one of our planet’s most abundant energy sources. According to Business Insider, the amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface in an hour is the planet’s total energy requirements for an entire year.
How is Geomiq working towards sustainable manufacturing?
At Geomiq, we are proud to be keeping our carbon emissions to a minimum through employing all of the strategies outlined above. But we believe there’s more we could all be doing.
That’s why we are excited to be launching an exciting new sustainability initiative today. From April 22nd, we will plant one tree for every order placed on our platform, as part of our ultimate goal to offset our carbon emissions and become a carbon neutral company by the end of 2021.
We’re excited about this initiative because science has demonstrated that planting trees is one of the best ways to help keep the planet green. According to The Grantham Institute (Climate Change and Environment), one tree saves one ton of CO2 during its lifespan. In other words, one tree can do a whole lot of good – and so can one company!
Let’s work towards a more sustainable kind of manufacturing
We are all responsible for fighting the climate crisis, and it’s crucial that we all come together – across every industry – to play our part in doing so. Of course, the first step is understanding the way our actions might be damaging the environment, so that we can start becoming more climate positive in the work that we do.
We would encourage everyone in the engineering and manufacturing space to think carefully about the above tips, and about what they can do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and take care of Mother Earth. When we work together, we can ignite real change in the manufacturing industry – and make real sustainability a priority, alongside innovation.
It is everyone’s responsibility to help ensure a healthy planet for future generations. At Geomiq, we don’t just want to make high-quality mechanical parts, we want to make a better world too. Have a look at all the cool stats about our tree planting scheme: Geomiq x Ecology Partnership
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.