Businesses can have a significant impact on the environment, the lives of their staff, and the community they are based in. For manufacturers, this idea holds significance. While their business can provide essential products for consumers and other businesses, their environmental footprint can be overbearing. But how can manufacturers achieve the status of an ethical business and ensure their company is successful?
Ethical manufacturing comes in many forms, from reducing waste to training staff. Here, jSD dives into the subject of ethical manufacturing, exploring its meaning, importance, and how it’s helping businesses have a positive impact.
What is ethical manufacturing?
Ethical manufacturing is achieved when the manufacturing process prioritises good health for all parties involved, including the environment, workers, and consumers. Products that are designed and created with sustainable materials and have a positive impact on communities are products of ethical manufacturing.
It’s not only the natural environment that an ethical manufacturer cares about. Instead, the working and shopping environment should encourage sustainability and positive well-being too.
An ethical business should have the interests of its workers at heart, prioritising health and happiness beyond standard requirements. The safety and fair treatment of workers is important to ethical business, helping to boost productivity and benefit the business.
Meanwhile, ethical production lines may consider their uses of material and energy. Is renewable energy used? Or are materials recycled or contributing to less waste compared to other businesses?
These ideas are essential for manufacturers, where production often leaves a trail of waste in its wake. For the fashion industry, waste is a primary concern. Did you know that 92 million tons of textile waste is created per year by the global fashion industry? For ethical clothing manufacturers, waste must be decreased by designing garments to avoid it or by reusing materials. Of course, reducing waste through well-thought processes can be carried out across several sectors beyond fashion.
Are there benefits for businesses?
Ethical manufacturing is not just important for the environment, workers, and customers. Even businesses can benefit and profit by adopting positive processes. Ensuring sustainability protects the future of your business. Some businesses will regrow or recycle their own materials for other goods, saving costs. Toilet paper companies are a strong example of this. By planting trees when their products are bought, they ensure that there will be material for future production. This can also tie into their marketing message. Overall, this is a circular process, ensuring that their impact on the environment is limited.
By creating a positive working environment, ethical businesses are also likely to boost productivity. By continuing the development and training of staff, work and processes can improve. A happy worker is 13 per cent more productive than an unhappy worker, according to Oxford University. Meanwhile, training staff can improve employee retention. In one survey, 93 per cent of employees said they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career. It’s clear that the ethical impact can extend to workers, and improve the business itself.
Can an ethical manufacturer use its sustainable status to attract customers? Simply put: yes. 92 per cent of millennials said that they would shop from an ethical company, promoting a genuine and positive corporate mission. There are clear financial benefits to being an ethical manufacturer, as it proves to consumers that you can be trusted and that you care about your products at every step of the process. A framework of ethical manufacturing, including production and staff and consumer well-being, can lead to improved revenues.
Can your business be ethical?
In review of the ideas discussed, how can a business take steps to become an ethical manufacturer? It’s not as simple as making a sustainable product. Businesses must be inclusive, promote sustainable production and use, and benefit the community.
This must be done at every level of the business. From procurement to production, are your material sources recycled, or are they locally produced? Supporting other local businesses not only reduces transport emissions but can benefit more families in the community.
Prioritising staff health, well-being, and development can help workers feel happier. Ethical manufacturers invest in their staff, creating a positive working culture. Recognise the ambitions of workers, and encourage them to continually train their skills through educational courses. You can even use ethical workwear suppliers who offer full transparency of their supply chains through Sedex. Sedex is one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, working to improve working conditions in global supply chains. In turn, this can create an inclusive work culture, contributing to your brand identity and proving your commitments to sustainability. Together, staff development and positive working cultures can boost productivity and cement your status as an ethical business.
You should be proud to be an ethical manufacturer. Through your business, remind customers and the community that you’re acting with the best intentions in mind. Achieving the status of an ethical business means that your customers will promote and help your brand succeed for the good of the environment and community, allowing your ethical investments to be returned.
Ethical businesses use ethical workwear suppliers. So, whether in transport or utilities, you can develop a bus driver uniform or warehouse workwear with jSD. Get in touch for more information about ethics and sustainability and how workwear can benefit your business.