Manufacturing sector must adopt sustainability, study says


Professor Lanndon Ocampo, the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and Eppie Clark, former associate professor of Industrial Engineering in de La Salle University of Manila, revealed in the Asian Academy of Management Journal (2016) the common practice in the manufacturing system impeding sustainability. Operations are all directed towards generating impressive financial standing with reputable label, which consequently allow  the employees to work for the monetary gain.

Industrialization has grown vastly, increasing the potential of destroying nature. This possibility is a result of business strategies which don’t cater to the environmental needs and the people. Economic performance in Sustainable Manufacturing Systems and large-scale manufacturing industries tend to be the main priority of these businesses which deal primarily with profit and cost optimization.

The article further illustrates an integrative framework in developing a sustainable manufacturing strategy which relates a sustainable manufacturing system to current best practices, allowing some comparisons on how such business practices provide competitive advantage to the firm.

Having considered numerous sustainability scenarios and factors, the study shows how multi-criteria decision-making models according  are most appropriate for such revolutionary objective. Achieving both competitive advantage and environmental sustainability, Ocampo and Clark emphasized on  responding to the needs of the industry’s stakeholders. It is important to address each of their priorities and incorporate them to the business’ strategies.

Through the stakeholder’s interaction, they integrate significant areas, such as government policies on environmental sustainability, which the manufacturing system has to satisfy. It as well follows that the firm size, due to some resource constraints, may be an important factor in the decision-making process within the manufacturing system.

Sustainable development meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own necessities. This definition of Sustainability can be traced back from the famous report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (UNWCED).

Taking the rapid growth of China as an example, its industries have created unprecedented issues toward energy and sustainability. It has  been a center of manufacturing industries globally and subsequently  becomes the largest energy consumer—with heavy reliance on coal-fired power, however, with relatively scarce energy resources.

Pollution in this country, specifically in their largest cities, is worst as it became the highest CO2 emitter, together with India, in 2017  according to Forbes Magazine. The country’s economic performance is remarkable, yet  it’s not sustainable as it has enormous adverse environmental impacts. In fact, China leads the world with a  total of 1.58 million deaths attributable to air pollution in 2016. While income appears to have a favorable effect on pollution measures, it has detrimental effects on most eco-efficiency measures of environmental sustainability.

Economic growth has vast contribution in degrading environmental sustainability. Sustainable manufacturing systems envision holistic goals encompassing economic, environmental and social viewpoints. Unbiased factors of the latter needs a closer look in understanding how each aspect affect the sustainability of a Manufacturing System and how it contributes to the welfare globally.

A myriad of researches applying hybrid approaches to Sustainable Manufacturing System seek to recognize priorities in a complex decision-making method. It investigates the influence of each criteria towards these goals providing managerial implications that support the SMS’ perspectives.

Understanding the needs of every individual surrounding the system and their interface should be a top priority of the firm as they provide the framework of Sustainability. Consistent with UNWCED, the impact of every human’s decision have corresponding consequences to other people’s lives. Poor planning for the community and the society affects the quality of life and the people who live in them. Christine Omela Ocampo