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Sustainable Operations

A comprehensive guide for manufacturers

Does “sustainability” have an “r” in it? In fact, it has six!

Sustainability is a cornerstone of today’s manufacturing operations, both as a way for organizations to fulfill their social and environmental contracts, and as a source of tangible benefits, from increased sales to reduced costs. But are organizations doing enough to be environmentally sustainable? We wanted to find out.

To these ends, for the latest Capgemini Research Institute report, Sustainable operations – a comprehensive guide for manufacturers, we spoke with sustainability leaders at major manufacturers and surveyed close to 1,000 executives in industries ranging from aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial and capital goods, to high-tech, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices manufacturing.

The 6 Rs

The solution, we found is to embrace the six Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse, recover, redesign, and remanufacture). Our research showed that through sustainability initiatives, over 80% of organizations enhanced brand reputation and better ESG ratings and over 50% improved efficiency and productivity, reduced packaging costs, and increased sales. However, only a few organizations are actually on track to become sustainable manufacturers and a mere 11% of sustainability initiatives are ever scaled across the organization. Finally, technologies – especially automation, AI/machine learning, and data analytics are critical to accelerating sustainability agenda.

Following a regimen of five best practices can help organizations accelerate performance. This means aligning business teams and sustainability executives along the organizational sustainability agenda, working with customers and suppliers to reduce indirect emissions, building transparency through effective reporting and ensure accountability, incorporating sustainable ways of working and operating culture, and investing in technology and data-driven innovation to ensure sustainability goes hand in hand with profitability.

Successful manufacturers understand that environmental responsibility not only meets the needs of the planet and wider society, it is also an integral part of the entire manufacturing value chain and delivers significant business opportunities and benefits.