A growing global commitment to net-zero emissions is driving many manufacturing companies to identify and work toward their own organisational sustainability goals.

Also ushering forward this shift is the fact that corporate social responsibility becomes more important as companies grow. This change in perspective is fuelling discussions regarding the manufacturing industry’s contribution to emissions

Energy combustion and industrial processes accounted for nearly 89% of energy sector emissions in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). There’s a massive opportunity for organisations to make a positive impact by understanding how their processes contribute to the problem, where they can make a positive impact, and what tools exist to make the transition a success.

In this article, we’ll walk you through:

  • The impact of sustainability and net-zero goals on manufacturers
  • How organisations can close the gap
  • 7 ways manufacturers can impact sustainability goals
  • How cost savings can help offset sustainability investments
  • Mitigating the impact: online monitoring and automated analysis

Sustainability and net-zero goals

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Of particular interest to manufacturers are those related to energy and emissions reductions, including:

  • ensuring access to inexpensive, trustworthy, sustainable, and modernised energy
  • advocating viable economic improvement and industrialisation
  • championing change

The call to action for the global community includes slowing climate change, creating sustainable, safe conditions for all people, and ensuring that manufacturers’ and consumers’ behaviours support these goals.

These are massive but necessary undertakings, and the world has responded in significant numbers. Over 90% of the world GDP is now covered by net-zero commitments, according to The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021.

How organisations can close the gap

Manufacturing will always require energy to produce the goods we need in all areas of our lives. However, with investments in more sustainable processes, manufacturers can reduce their contribution to emissions.

Healthy machines produce more goods, consume less energy, and last longer, creating less waste. With these positive effects, the manufacturing industry can look forward to increased sustainability and a decreased carbon footprint.

Countries and governments worldwide have set net-zero goals, and commitment to these goals is growing. Manufacturers can become a driver of these goals as they find ways to implement more sustainable strategies across the industry.

7 ways manufacturers can impact sustainability goals

Manufacturers are heavy contributors to emissions and waste. The good news is that the steps we take toward sustainability goals should result in a significant reduction of emissions from this sector.

Let’s look at a few areas where manufacturing contributes heavily to global emissions. The efforts you make in each category can help reduce your facility’s carbon footprint.

1.    Power consumption

Approximately 66% of the power in industrial applications is consumed by electric motor-driven systems, with electric motors in general consuming 43%, according to the IEA. These numbers mean nearly one-third of the power generation plants on the planet exist to keep electric motors running. Improving the efficiency of these systems with condition monitoring and prescriptive maintenance can make a substantial impact.

2.    Carbon dioxide emissions

One way to reduce emissions is to convert traditional electricity generation methods to greener ones and switch to renewable energy sources. Another option is to increase the energy efficiency of the electric motor-driven systems across the various industries and equipment types.

3.    Industrial pumps

Industrial pumps are widely used, with a global market of over USD 60 billion, reports Grand View Research. For example, research on centrifugal pumps, a standard piece of industrial equipment, finds that extensive vibration levels at high frequencies caused by run-down bearings increase the energy consumption while simultaneously decreasing the pump efficiency. With efficient condition monitoring, you can promptly identify and resolve these issues.

4.    Using refurbished versus new components

Remanufacturing or refurbishing products is an emerging trend, mainly used with custom parts such as custom bearings. However, you’ll need to monitor carefully to ensure that you replace parts early enough to refurbish them.

5.    Maintenance and resource management

When it comes to maintenance execution, repairs that are detected early are often more minor and quicker to complete. Early detection and fixing imbalances mean fewer resources consumed by repairs in many cases. Monitoring equipment online provides accurate data and analysis to keep machines in top condition and reduce downtime. 

6.    Turn consumables like industrial oil into assets

Another significant driver of greenhouse gas emissions is an industrial oil, used in lubrication and hydraulics. Instead of simply changing oil, you can extend the useful life of the oil by filtering and cleaning it to repurpose it. In addition, monitoring oil online can prevent unnecessary travel, sample collection, lab trips, and processing delays.

7.    Cutting production waste

Production processes running under less than optimal conditions due to unhealthy machines can impact product quality. Likewise, shutting production down, partially or fully, for maintenance and then ramping back up afterwards can cause quality issues and waste of energy and raw materials.

Cost savings can offset sustainability investments

Manufacturers are beginning to act more quickly as these transitions become a necessary part of their planning. If you’re willing to be proactive on sustainability goals, you’re likely to benefit from the long-term rewards of these initiatives.

For example, you may be doing regular measurements through manual inspections to ensure the management of your maintenance needs. When your staff reliably executes these routines, it can appear that operations are running smoothly. However, there is a growing recognition that finding better ways to carry out production tasks is better for the organisation.

Remote condition monitoring systems allow for closer and more accurate monitoring of entire facilities. These systems can reduce organisational costs by reducing travel time, limiting costly downtime, and improving product quality and production efficiency.

Mitigating the impact: online monitoring and automated analysis

The future development of a new generation of energy-efficient electric motor-driven systems will significantly shift the manufacturing industry’s contribution to global emissions.

However, the current focus needs to be on safeguarding the current installed base of machines. For example, you can closely monitor the performance and condition of existing machines in real-time. With predictive and prescriptive data analysis outcomes, you can perform precision maintenance tasks before the energy consumption and accompanying CO² emissions escalate.

With the help of the right tools, accurate condition monitoring can optimise maintenance across your facility. In addition, remote options remove the need for manual checks on hard-to-reach locations, cutting travel time and strain on human resources.

Are you interested in what Condence can do for you? We’d like to tell more and elaborate on various use cases. Please book a demo or send a message and we’ll explain what Condence has to offer in more detail.


Erik Mosselaar / Sales & Business Development Manager