3 reliable ways to decarbonize CPG manufacturing operations

If you ask a consumer to recall their most recent sustainable purchase, they’re likely to name a consumer packaged goods (CPG) rather than an electric car or solar panel. For consumers who prioritize the environment, making a switch to more environmentally friendly milk or soap is easy and fast.

As people are becoming more climate-conscious, more interest has generated worldwide in knowing more and eventually purchasing sustainable products.  Globally, Google searches related to sustainable goods have increased by an astonishing 71% since 2016. This “eco-wakening” is not solely occurring in high-income countries but is also witnessed in developing and emerging economies, such as Indonesia’s 24% increase and Ecuador’s 120% rise.

The number of people who have signed online petitions in support of nature has since increased to over 159 million, and protests are growing in strength and frequency.

Gone are the days when cheap products were the only priority for consumers. Today’s consumers are increasingly becoming climate-conscious – forcing companies to include sustainability in their business operations. With low switching costs, CPG companies could quickly lose share to competitors who offer a more sustainable product portfolio.

While consumer companies can certainly implement emission reduction strategies such as sustainable sourcing and packaging, we’ll discuss the more challenging aspect here, which is – fixing what happens in the manufacturing plant.

Environmental impact of manufacturing operations

The manufacturing and production sectors account for one-fifth of the world’s carbon emissions and 54% of the world’s energy sources.

As manufacturing industries are amidst an industry 4.0-driven revolution, technology can enable manufacturers to establish a baseline of carbon emissions and provide the foundation to decarbonize production operations.

Here are 3 ways that can help consumer manufacturers achieve sustainable operations.

1. Manufacturing operations need to be made more reliable.

Machines often break and that’s probably the oldest rule in manufacturing. The traditional way of managing the asset failures has been to assign the failures to shop floor staff – who would fix the problem using their experience and expertise. However, this manual approach has not been viable enough due to the constant pressure of increasing productivity and uptime.

A staggering 82% of companies experienced at least one downtime over the last three years. Production line managers need to have faith in their inbound supply chain since speed-to-market expectations are higher than ever. The unplanned downtimes cost manufacturers $260,000 per hour on average. Overall, unplanned downtime costs companies as much as $50 billion a year.

This downtime not only consumes a significant amount of annual revenue but also may have a detrimental effect on key client relationships.

The primary reason for the rampant downtimes is, not surprisingly, Inefficient Maintenance. Reactive and “run-to-fail” maintenance procedures are used in many plants, which means – repairs are done only when something breaks.

Research has shown that data-driven predictive maintenance approaches are better at improving machine reliability and uptime.

The costs are not only economic but also environmental. It is proven that manufacturing companies can reduce their emissions through technology-driven smart manufacturing.

2. Optimizing energy consumption with AI-driven insights

Energy efficiency is imperative for manufacturers in going to the net-zero path as manufacturing operations are extremely energy-intensive. In most manufacturing operations, heating and cooling processes take up almost 50 to 90% of a plant’s energy consumption. Chemicals, petroleum and coal products, and paper are the three most energy-intensive manufacturing subsectors as per a report – accounting for approximately 70% of all manufacturing energy usage.

The availability of a large amount of real-time data from sensors, network communications, and cloud technologies can optimize and eventually reduce energy consumption with a data-driven approach.

The high power consumption in manufacturing plants is due to the challenges of asset maintenance, resource sharing, and inventory management. For example, misalignment of any mechanical equipment impacts a rise in vibrations or noise, causing more energy usage. Improper lubrication can trigger friction in the bearing causing the motor to ingest excessive electrical energy. Further, the misalignment in any of the equipment implies additional energy consumption.

To avoid such a scenario, an AI-driven predictive maintenance tool can help in providing timely insights to prevent asset issues, leading to high power consumption.

3. Waste Reduction- Zero Waste to Zero Landfill

Zero waste and zero landfills are the popular buzzwords in large and successful corporations in North America. Taking this approach to waste management demonstrates that your organization is responsible enough to either entirely restrict the quantity of garbage it creates or to find creative ways to sell or recycle the waste it does produce. To put it another way, zero waste means you’re running at maximum efficiency – which is a direct outcome of operational reliability.

Indeed, achieving the end objective of zero waste is tough, as it entails not producing or discarding a single piece of waste instead of reselling, repurposing, or recycling it. Waste reduction isn’t just about “going green”; it’s also a cost-cutting strategy that has proven to be a wise investment time and time again.

To put it simply, the more waste you generate, the more trash you must transport out and process. That implies you’ll have to pay more for garbage management.  The zero-landfill facility completely diminishes the shipping costs of waste to landfills. Furthermore, with fewer vehicles transporting the waste, there are fewer pollutants and a reduced carbon footprint.

Conclusion

It’s clear that manufacturing operations must take decisive action in order to stay ahead of the curve and meet customer demand for sustainable products. By following the strategies outlined in this blog, you can help your business reduce its carbon footprint and improve its overall operational performance.

With Eugenie, many world-class companies have been successful in reducing their emissions through the efficient use of resources and processes.

Register for our product demo to learn more about how Eugenie can help you achieve sustainable operations.

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