A Forbes survey reported that a shocking 20% of the 100 billion garments produced annually are buried, shredded, or incinerated. The pressure on the manufacturing industry to adopt and uphold sustainability practices, both from the environmental standpoint and business continuity, is mounting. Ensuring sustainability requires manufacturers to make sustainability a part of their business DNA. Here are four ways to make smart factories environmentally sustainable.
1. Prepare your business for changes
Limited natural resources and decarbonization emphasize the need for sustainability in manufacturing now more than ever. Traditional businesses that do not shift to sustainable manufacturing processes run the risk of being left behind. Companies should prepare themselves for changes in policy initiatives, and respond to growing environmental awareness to future-proof their business.
2. Set free the power of IoT
Collecting facts and data points is crucial to achieving sustainability, providing you with insight into the current factory landscape and revealing necessary changes. IoT and data analytics work together to achieve this. Use IoT in three steps to gain sustainability in manufacturing: a) use valuable data wisely, b) use energy efficiently, and c) use other resources judiciously. In their 2018 sustainability report, World Economic Forum estimated that industrial IoT could add economic value worth $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
3. Adopt sustainable clouds
Studies show that 3-13% of electricity will be consumed by data centers by 2030. While data helps businesses optimize operations, growing data only means more emissions. Adopting cloud-based production can help manufacturers achieve quicker time to market, significantly reduce energy emissions, improve flexibility, and enable superior energy efficiency. Smart manufacturers can enjoy decreased energy consumption by shifting to the cloud.
4. Protect your data
Compromised operational technology (OT) systems of manufacturing units like chemical plants or mines may prove hazardous for the environment. Having a comprehensive OT security framework will not only protect the factory from such physical threats, but also safeguard against cyber threats. Manufacturers can control, track real-time, and safeguard their physical assets, including their workers, with a robust OT security program in place.