Sustainability is an important goal in the business world today. We can say that production is more sustainable when it uses fewer resources and/or when it gives off fewer harmful byproducts. The point of sustainability is to produce goods and services in such a way that our environmental quality can be sustained for a longer period of time.
Sustainability can also be economically beneficial. Because sustainable production uses fewer resources, it can have lower costs. Even if it does not, companies that engage in more sustainable production can improve their image in the eyes of the public. This can improve these companies’ ability to sell to consumers who are interested in supporting sustainability through their buying choices.
Let us look at two articles that mention firms that have been taking steps to improve the sustainability of their production processes.
First, we have this article about a General Motors assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. The article is from Renewable Energy from Waste magazine. This assembly plant is reducing its energy costs by using power from a facility that burns wasted to make steam. The plant is further increasing its sustainability by sending its non-recyclable waste to the facility where it will be burned to help power the plant.
Second, there is this article about the Abengoa company’s ethanol plant in southwest Kansas. This article is from Ethanol Producer Magazine. This plant is improving its sustainability in at least two ways. First, it is using low-value agricultural waste, such as corn stalks to make its ethanol instead of using actual grain that could be used for food. Second, it has a power plant attached to it that uses some of the byproducts from the ethanol production to make enough power to run the ethanol production plant as well as the community that is home to the plant.
Both of these articles are recent and show examples of firms that are making their production processes more sustainable.