Green Manufacturing. Good for Life and for Business

As I started to think about this blog, I sit in a dusty dining room at my home – an old circa 1690 (early part) farm house in the Ironbridge Gorge. We bought the house not even 12 months ago and are already knee-deep in several renovation projects. 


Very early on as discussions with the builder and architect began to paint my wife’s vision of our dream home, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the work I do every day leading one of Caterpillar’s core sustainability businesses – remanufacturing. Taking the existing form of the old farm house, we wanted to make improvements but also wanted to be careful not to lose the intrinsic charm and integrity that drew us to the house in the first place. Through my wife’s creative vision and the skills and experience of our builder and architect, we incorporated lots of new materials and techniques to improve the energy efficiency of the home, brought in sustainable materials where it made sense and even thought of creative ways to repurpose existing materials to not only maintain that charm, but also to help us stay within our budget.  Who knew the wood from old  interior doors could be repurposed into a rustic kitchen island or that the metal from tools found in an abandoned basement could make pretty cool garden décor…You’re right, me neither…I can’t take credit for ALL of this creative genius but I certainly can appreciate all the benefits from taking this “green manufacturing” approach. 


For Caterpillar, green manufacturing is how we do business. In fact, we take it so seriously that we’ve recently added Sustainability as one of our core values. Sustainable development for Caterpillar means leveraging technology and innovation to increase efficiency and productivity with less impact on the environment and helping our customers do the same – enabling their businesses to become more productive by providing products, services and solutions that use resources more efficiently.


So how do we sustain our environment in manufacturing? Well, that’s where our remanufacturing process comes in (we call it “Reman”). For more than 40 years Caterpillar has been taking products at the end of their road (called “core”) and returning them to a “same as when new or better” condition at a fraction of the cost backed by a warranty. This unique business model not only provides quality products at a lesser cost, but is also a great example of Closed Loop Manufacturing part of the Circular Economy.


To give you an even better idea of the environmental impact our remanufacturing process is having on the environment, see these statistics below using a remanufactured cylinder head versus a new one -

  • 61% less Greenhouse Gas emissions
  • 93% less water usage
  • 86% less energy consumed
  • 99% less virgin material use
  • 99% less landfill waste (space)

While Caterpillar has made significant strides in sustainable efforts, I wouldn’t go so far just yet to say that “green manufacturing” is mainstream among all companies – there’s still much work to be done. If we take a break, put down our smartphones, tablets and other technology and step outside more often, the story of “why” is clear. While we may feel miles apart, we share one earth so we have to be good to it. Looking at your business differently and seeking opportunities in not only the physical aspects but also in the business model can be very powerful as a first step on your journey to a more environmentally responsible future. 

The lessons I’ve learned so far on our home renovation journey? Make environmental responsibility a priority in your project, think outside of the box – those are when the best ideas come and surround yourself with a team of experts…and…..always listen to your wife.


Cheers,
Matt


For more information regarding Caterpillar’s sustainability efforts please visit -
http://www.caterpillar.com/en/company/sustainability.html

 

Written by Matt Bulley, Managing Director, Caterpillar Reman Europe
 

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