Businesses within all industries across the globe are looking at ways to foster positive social and economic development whilst minimising their environmental impact.   

Around eighty percent of a product’s environmental impact can be determined during the development phase. But it’s not just about focusing on the ‘reduce, recycle, re-use or re-purpose’ norms, it’s about designing products that have a higher value in terms of solving environmental challenges and benefiting society in general. This makes the decisions made during the design and development process of any product absolutely critical.   

Any company that expends energy or consumes resources can benefit from responsible sustainable engineering. Sometimes referred to as “green” engineering, sustainable engineering is a principle that has become increasingly relevant to engineers of nearly every discipline (oil, energy, automotive, electrical etc.).

This ‘going green’ mindset and sustainable engineering is not just good for the environment, it’s good business. An impressive ninety percent of studies on this subject reveal that companies that adopt high standards of sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices show reduced capital costs and improved performance. Is it any wonder then that there’s a prominent swing of global investors turning towards ethical, ‘green’ and sustainably-operating companies.

Reasons why sustainable engineering should be a focus in business include:

  • Improve the bottom line by adopting a recycling and re-using strategy;
  • Reduce costs through minimising plant and materials use;
  • Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide;
  • Enhance employee engagement, business culture and customer satisfaction;
  • Strengthen the company’s image and brand;
  • Open up new opportunities in markets that demand strict ESG protocols;
  • Attract astute investors;
  • Enjoy tax benefits;
  • Ensure a solid future for business is upheld

There are many examples of businesses receiving exponential benefits for their efforts in sustainable engineering.  

The Little Marionette (TLM) in Sydney are keen advocates for a better future.  On re-evaluating their supply chain, TLM have switched from plastics to biodegradable materials. TLM works closely with exporters to ensure social responsibility is maintained, for example they help female farmers gain financial independence and ensure coffee pickers have access to free medical checks. In addition, they promote a ‘Keep (your) Cup’ campaign and donate extra change to the environmental charity, plantatree.org.  

The Westpac Group are also setting a realistic example of how small changes over time can achieve a big impact. Westpac vowed in 2015 to support the transition to a low carbon economy. After setting out its climate change agenda over a decade ago, Westpac continues to play a lead role in sustainable management, pledging to lend billions of dollars to businesses who create climate change solutions. Westpac have also joined the Net-Zero banking Alliance, confirming its commitment to deliver a net-zero portfolio by 2050.

There’s no doubt that sustainable engineering can improve economic efficiencies across all areas of operations and investments. Knowing where to start and how to truly embrace this phenomena can be tricky. If you need some direction, reach out to Murray and the team at eQA on 07 3715 6066 or murray@eqa.com.au. We’re here to help.

Sources:

Sustainable product development in a circular economy:  Implications for products, actors, decision-making support and lifecycle information management, A Diaz, JP School, T Reyes, RJ Baumgartner, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Vol 26, April 2021, pp 1031-1045.

Why sustainable engineering is good business, April 2022, www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au

Sustainable engineering: Why it’s important and how it can help, C Melgarejo, Nov 2022, www.ptc.com

These businesses are setting a sustainable legacy, N Klinakis, TedX Sydney,  www.tedxsydney.com