Borrowing from the United Nations’ definition of sustainable development
Sustainable manufacturing “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Department of Commerce Definition
“Sustainable manufacturing is defined as the creation of manufactured products that use processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural resources, and are economically sound and safe for employees, communities, and consumers.”
NACFAM understands there are two distinctions in the way sustainable manufacturing is referred to and we will address both of them. Sustainable manufacturing includes the manufacturing of “sustainable” products and the sustainable manufacturing of all products. The former includes manufacturing of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, and other “green” & social equity-related products. Our aim is to help our members and U.S. manufacturing address both of these topic areas and emphasize the sustainable manufacturing of all products taking into account the full sustainability life cycle issues related to the products manufactured.
We will use the definitions above and build off the concepts of the triple bottom line (developed by John Elkington) and sustainable enterprise. The triple bottom line emphasizes financial profitability, environmental integrity, and social equity. This concept attempts to incorporate financial, environmental, and social capital into a comprehensive framework that can help companies analyze their current processes, innovate, and identify new sources of revenue and cost reduction.