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When we talk about sustainability, we are referring to a concept that encompasses everything that surrounds us as a society. From the point of view of a company or a business, this could be summarised as the commitment to link its activity to the long term and to a specific way of doing things; this necessarily involves its profitability, and consequently, the satisfaction of all its stakeholders (from shareholders to society, including clients, suppliers, institutions, etc…) to achieve the so-called sustainable profitability and, therefore, the very survival of the company over time.
Let us now focus on the industrial ecosystem and the challenges it faces from the perspective of sustainability. We can divide these challenges into three main axes: providing that manufacturing has as little environmental impact as possible, ensuring that the carbon footprint of the products it manufactures is minimal, and offering products whose very purpose is sustainable.
The first axis is intrinsically linked to industrial processes; from where the components are manufactured and stockpiled, to how the products are delivered. Many factors are involved in the manufacturing process itself, from the improvement of energy consumption to the digitalisation of processes that allow optimisation of the layout and the resources used.
The second axis is closely related to product development.The concept of eco-design is already fully assimilated in advanced industry, and R&D departments already incorporate in their designs the minimisation of the carbon footprint of products during their entire lifetime.
The third axis does not depend so much on the company as on the sector in which it makes its products available, although companies of course can make development decisions for other sectors.
If there is one thing all three axes have in common, it is that all they share the same basis: innovation.
Without innovation,it would be impossible to develop new products or product functionalities, nor to have more sustainable products or to manufacture them in a more sustainable way. This is why the concept of innovation must be part of the DNA of the industrial company, as well as of business sustainability itself, since any development takes time and requires a strategy, leaving aside improvisation and passing fads.
In short, innovation is the pillar of sustainability in the industrial sector. But for it to be effective, it requires effort, commitment and coordinated work with suppliers, clients and technology partners in collaborative environments, to encourage their involvement in all phases of development. We need to internalise that companies that do not invest in innovation and isolate themselves from such collaborative environments will not be sustainable, and, therefore, they are destined not to survive. Let’s make sustainability a reason to reinvent ourselves.
Ormazabal Marketing Managing Director
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