Bringing sustainable practices into manufacturing | HCLTech

Bringing sustainable practices into manufacturing

The manufacturing industry takes aim at minimizing negative environmental impacts through sustainability efforts
5 minutes read
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
US Reporter, HCLTech
5 minutes read
Bringing sustainable practices into manufacturing

Sustainable manufacturing is defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency as “the creation of manufactured products through economically sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.” As climate change and the environmental health of the planet become increasingly important to consumers, manufacturers are aiming to make a stronger push in sustainability.

The drive for more sustainable solutions is not new, but the urgency with which governmental bodies, consumers and other stakeholders expect sustainability practices to be implemented is expected to grow, with the window to reach climate goals “rapidly closing.”

Embracing sustainable practices can help manufacturers lower costs by reducing waste, meeting governmental and industrial regulations and raising reliability through an improved and sustainable supply chain. Overall, sustainable manufacturing is meant to obtain a holistic view of the product cycle and optimize the lifecycle of manufacturing systems, products and services.

Sustainability driving manufacturing

In 2024, manufacturers will spend more time and resources on sustainability as the importance of a low-carbon, eco-conscious future becomes paramount. The HCLTech Trends 2024 report highlights the urgency for industries to balance current needs and future requirements, while emphasizing long-term social viability and cost savings.

As the recent UN synthesis report found that global efforts to combat climate change are falling short of achieving net-zero goals by 2050, sustainability regulations are expected to increase in the coming years.

While making progress on sustainability goals during their manufacturing processes, manufacturers will have to also show this progress to stakeholders. To have this information accessible to consumers and to stay competitive, manufacturers will need to closely inspect their internal processes around transparency and utilizing emerging technologies will help them in achieving this.

Approach to sustainability in manufacturing

To show their commitment to delivering sustainable practices, manufacturers can track and report any positive environmental metrics, such as reduced carbon emissions, efficient resource utilization and eco-friendly materials usage.

Increased collaboration will help manufacturers to deliver sustainability outcomes in products and operations. Through collaboration, organizations can combine their strengths for developing products and services that are eco-conscious. For example, leading global technology company, HCLTech, recently collaborated with Schneider Electric, a leader in digital transformation of energy management and industrial automation to develop solutions for modernization of data centers and to make them more carbon efficient.

Manufacturers can also take proactive steps to reduce waste. First, they can implement manufacturing guidelines that focus on minimizing waste at every production stage, which involves optimizing processes to reduce overproduction, excess inventory and unnecessary transportation. Furthermore, designing products with longer lifespans and easier recyclability can contribute to their sustainability efforts.

Through upgrading equipment, optimizing processes and adopting renewable energy sources, manufacturers can run a more energy-efficient operation and save on costs. Incentives offered by governments and regulatory bodies can encourage manufacturers to commit to these sustainability practices.

“I think that the pace of our sustainability progress will depend on the trust between various stakeholders,” said Global Head of Sustainability at HCLTech, Santhosh Jayaram, at the World Economic Forum 2024. “Digital transformation has the potential to help rebuild trust because of the improved efficiency, transparency and traceability it can provide.”

Furthermore, AI may revolutionize how goods are produced by helping manufacturers optimize the production processes with machine learning and predictive analytics.

AI can also help make changes to production schedules that align with periods of lower energy demand, recommend more energy-efficient equipment and optimize the supply chain through the analysis of data on transportation routes. These will open opportunities for reducing emissions and lowering a manufacturer’s carbon footprint.

Act, Pact, Impact - HCLTech publishes its 2023 Sustainability Report

Read the report

Leveraging sustainability services

To develop carbon-efficient solutions for data centers, HCLTech and Schneider Electric’s partnership will allow the companies to develop solutions for modernization of data centers by integrating HCLTech’s best practices in IT with Schneider Electric’s operational technology.

IT and OT processes that are siloed can present challenges to optimizing the end-to-end supply chain of data centers. HCLTech and Schneider Electric will explore innovations in sustainability and deliver converged IT and operational technology solutions to help customers meet regulatory compliances and accelerate decarbonization programs.

By investing in innovative solutions and nurturing a culture of responsibility, organizations in the manufacturing industry can not only reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs, but also take steps toward improving the health of the planet.

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