FMA Communications Inc., the parent organization of this Web site and The FABRICATOR magazine, launched Green Manufacturer last month. The magazine covers manufacturing practices that are not only environmentally friendly, but also friendly to a company's overall performance, whether we are talking about bottom-line performance or increasing productivity. The magazine's editor, Kate Bachman, and the rest of the team behind the first issue should be congratulated. It looks great and reads better.
We thought the timing was perfect for such a magazine, as everyone tries to understand just where they fit into this green landscape. Whether you like it or not, the interest in "green" or "sustainable" manufacturing practices is part of a larger, legitimate movement.
Obviously, some manufacturers don't like it.
Take this note that came from a recipient of the first Green Manufacturer issue:
With all due respect, I do not want your magazine sent to me. The entire notion of “green” rests upon the ever increasing fraud and duplicity found in the “science” of global warming. As such, it is wrong and worthless. Indeed, it only serves to further encourage those involved in this duplicity to further their efforts.
Save some paper and do something more worthwhile.
I didn't include the e-mail writer's name or company, but he represents a manufacturer with a very impressive product line. You could tell he's an intelligent guy with strong opinions.
More than likely, his opinion was fueled by leaked electronic correspondence between scientists who support theories related to human's impact on climate change. It's the evidence that launched a full-scale revolt against any science related to global warming. In fact, the opposition calls it "Climategate."
The global warming debate is an important one, but I'm not sure it's relevant at the moment in the U.S. The two political parties in this nation can barely speak to one another, much less pass legislation that possibly stalls any type of economic recovery.
Manufacturers who don't want to be a part of the green movement are missing the point, however. For them, it's not about minimizing the impact of industry on the planet; it should be about minimizing the waste in their own factories.
The FABRICATOR will carry a story in March about DeWys Manufacturing of Grand Rapids, Mich. The company is part of the Green Suppliers Network, which basically means that it has taken steps to root out waste as it relates to energy and water usage and consumption of toxic chemicals and other industrial consumables.
William Stough, CEO of Sustainable Research Group, assisted DeWys Manufacturing with the environmental audit. He describes these types of green manufacturing efforts as having more in common with lean manufacturing efforts than simple recycling activities.
For instance, he explained, if you reduce the amount of pretreatment chemical you need for the preparation process prior to powder coating, you are saving money and cutting back on chemicals being released into the environment. If you use less natural gas to heat the pretreatment tanks and dryoff and curing ovens, you are saving money while simultaneously reducing the company's carbon footprint. These green efforts save greenbacks.
That should be the real motivation for manufacturers. If they want to save the planet Earth as well, that's good too.