“There’s a huge marketing benefit to be had, and eventually there will be a marketing cost of not going green,” he says.
In a society with changing perceptions on climate change,
having a good “green” reputation can help a business.
This positive reputation-building of a company is one of
several reasons the Environmental Protection Agency cites
sustainable practices as beneficial to a manufacturer.
According to the EPA’s website, sustainable manufacturing can also lower business costs and reduce waste, improve
sales and brand recognition, provide greater access to financing and capital and assist in employee hiring and retention.
Sheena DeBellis, the director of quality and sustainability
at Follow Your Heart – a company working to become carbon
neutral – suggests that employees have a lot of pride in the
overall mission of being sustainable at the company.
Follow Your Heart is an organic food company based in
Canoga Park, California, that focuses on dairy-free, soy-free
and vegan products. They produce a variety of branded vegan
products, such as Vegenaise – an entirely plant-based mayonnaise – in a solar-powered manufacturing facility. Being
environmentally-friendly is a prominent and important goal
for the company.
“Employee education is not costly, but can lead to many
positive changes,” she says. “Helping employees understand
the importance of their impact on their environment will im-
prove cooperation with sustainability initiatives and promote
There may be initial costs to implement changes, but many
sustainable manufacturers and green experts claim there is a
greater benefit than that initial cost.
Tatsuya Nakagawa, VP marketing at Castagra Products,
Inc. – a sustainable industrial coatings company – says the
green movement has progressed to a point where there are
several options for manufacturers to go green and reduce
the cost while remaining competitive. In other words, going
green and continuing to make a profit are not mutually exclusive. It just depends on finding the “right fit” based on each
“There needs to be a change in thinking to know that
sustainability can line up very well with economic benefits,”
A key point to remember is that, oftentimes, using green
equipment means using less energy, and using less energy
lowers overall operating costs.
Despite all these benefits, it’s no surprise that the cost to
invest in eco-friendly changes still causes major concerns for
“I’d say the short-term drive for immediate profit versus
long-term financial stability is a problem of our modern age,”
Whether that cost is in new material or equipment, changing the handling of waste or employee training and education, it can certainly add up — especially for larger manufacturers.
“Many companies see making eco-friendly choices as expensive, but in many areas being more green can actually save
money. Figuring out where those areas are, however, takes time,
and many companies – ours included – have limited personnel
resources to research and implement those eco-friendly changes,” DeBellis says.
Furthermore, although there are several choices a manufacturer can decide on when it comes to sustainability, finding the
right choice for that specific company can prove to be challenging. There is no one solution that can satisfy all companies,
and some can make changes that may work great for them, but
might not be so great for others.
To sum it all up, it ultimately comes down to the personal
decision of each manufacturer and business as to whether or not
they will become more eco-friendly and how they plan to accomplish that goal. It can save money in the long run, improve
the company’s reputation and contribute to a cleaner planet,
but it will also likely cost money up front, require some effort
and resources and could create some big changes in specific industries. It’s a matter of finding the right balance and weighing
these pros and cons to come to the final decision.
With the growing trend in eco-friendly business and environmental legislation, chances are likely that at least some changes
will need to be implemented sooner than later. In any case, it is
a good idea to think ahead and plan accordingly for potential
alternative methods of operation to be more green and sustainable — even if it’s just in the small ways.
“The important thing to note is that there are solutions,”
Horowitz says. “In every industry there are better ways of doing
it that are cheaper and greener at the same time and often more
Keeping The Energy Sector Alive
There is great concern within specific industries, especially
coal and oil companies, about the effect going green could
have on operations and jobs.
The EPA is cracking down on carbon emissions and air
pollution to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions; however, this can make it difficult for these industries to function.
Horowitz explains that it is a matter of perception and
flexibility when it comes to this issue in particular.
“You’re not really in the coal or the oil business; you’re
in the energy business,” he says. He explains that there is
currently a great system of transportation set up for current
electricity, but the question now becomes: how can they use
this in a greener way?
“There will be a shakeout. Not everybody will make it. A
lot of people will be too tied to the old models. But ultimately, fossil fuels and nuclear are not a sensible way to generate
power at this point in our economy and in our ecology,”