Embracing a Green Future conference promotes sustainable manufacturing

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Manufacturers and supply chain partners ready to learn about saving green by going ‘green’ can hear first-hand from companies such as Grand Rapids-based Rapid-Line how that firm cut energy costs 50 percent, and from Whirlpool leaders how that company reduced scrap metal 35 percent.

It’s all part of the agenda for the first-ever Embracing a Green Future conference sponsored by the Right Place, Inc. and MMTC-West on June 24 and June 25.

BIFMA recently approved a ground-breaking furniture manufacturers’ sustainability standard, which is expected to go global once the ANSI approves it. Because it’s a cradle to cradle standard, manufacturers and their supply chain will all need to know the standards, how to implement them, how to track the origin of materials, processes, and more.

“For a [manufacturer] to certify one of their product lines to the standard requires information and compliance to the standard from the supply chain,” says Anne Saliers, spokesperson for Right Place, Inc.

“Companies will need their own environmental management system, so the conference will use self assessments developed by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. It’s a great place to take a baseline look at a company’s environmental processes—delivery, packaging, manufacturing, marketing, sales.”

Attendees select four of eight sessions centered on topics such as, environmental management systems, purchasing and supply chain, or marketing and sales. The second day offers a choice of one of three workshops, including BIFMA Sustainability Assessment Standard Review, Lean and Clean, and Innovation Management for Sustainable Design. Keynotes will be delivered by Fred Keller of Cascade Engineering and Brian Walker of Herman Miller.

“By looking at ways to reduce costs there’s often a positive environmental result as well,” Saliers adds. “Approach lean with a green perspective and it’s a one-two punch.”

Source: Anne Saliers, Right Place, Inc.

Deborah Johnson Wood is the development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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