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Environmental Industries Grew in 2013

The global environmental industry grew 3.6 percent in 2013, generating revenues of $1.047 trillion, while the US environmental industry grew just 0.7 percent in 2013 compared to 4.5 percent in 2012, according to research from Environmental Business International. The US environmental industry’s total of $344.84 billion in annual revenues represented … Read more »

Are Firms Prepared for ISO 14001 Upgrade?

Many companies, plants and factories are in danger of not being ready when the main environmental management standard ISO 14001 will be upgraded next year, according to research by EEF, the manufacturers’ organization for UK manufacturing companies, as reported by Plant Engineer. The upgrade significantly changes the way firms will … Read more »

hazardous waste

Understanding Hazardous Waste Treatment

The EPA’s definition of waste treatment can be confusing and potentially costly, so it is important that hazardous waste generators be clear as to what activities might be considered as treatment of hazardous waste, according to Pollution Engineering. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, treating a waste means changing … Read more »

Manufacturers Bring Production In-House to Protect Against Natural Disasters

In an effort to protect themselves against natural disasters, climate change and economic downturns, two-fifths of manufacturing companies surveyed by EEF are bringing production back in-house, and a quarter have increased their use of local suppliers. Two-thirds of the companies that brought production back in-house also increased their use of … Read more »

Leveraging Manufacturing, Part II

My last article began to dig into the leveraging discussion and started to elaborate on this topic using an example. The example was  from a recent paper from our research group at Berkeley and focused on an important aspect of vehicles and transportation – the gear train. The efficiency of … Read more »

Leveraging Manufacturing, Part I

I recently finished a long series of articles on the power of the digital age in the form of software to connect the designer to the process, with an eye to achieving all the normal requirements of a product but, in addition, incorporating measures to drive sustainable product design and … Read more »

Shop Towels Show Metal Contamination Threat

Metal exposure from laundered shop towels may exceed the permissible levels allowed in drinking water, according to data released by environmental and risk science consulting firm Gradient, commissioned by Kimberly-Clark Professional. According to the Evaluation of Potential Exposure to Metals in Laundered Shop Towels, manufacturing workers using a typical number … Read more »

How All Professional Roles Contribute to Sustainability

In my last article, I wrote about how environmental sustainability can relate to any educational background or functional group in a company. One of my colleagues asked how he could contribute to the sustainability movement without an environmental degree, and I’ve heard from others who share this hesitation. In this … Read more »

The Business Case for Product Sustainability

Global directives, national initiatives, state, and local regulations are all affecting what companies should or should not use in their products.  Additional pressure is coming from consumers, employees, business partners, and non-government entities (NGOs), that affects the way we do business.  A rising sentiment for “greener”, safer products is a … Read more »

Philips Sustainability Report: Carbon Footprint Falls, Efficiency Rises but Progress Slows

Philips Electronics reduced its operational carbon footprint and increased its energy efficiency – both by 4 percent – between 2010 and 2011, but its water intake for manufacturing purposes rose 3 percent over the same time period, according to the company’s 2011 integrated annual report. These figures represent a slow … Read more »

AT&T Will Give Eco-Rating to All Branded Mobile Devices

AT&T in collaboration with sustainable business strategists BSR is developing an eco-ratings system that will result in easy-to-read labels for all AT&T-branded mobile devices. Implementation is expected in the next few months. The eco-rating system will cover attributes such as: environmentally preferable materials, energy efficiency, responsible end-of-life treatment and environmentally-responsible … Read more »