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Sustainable Manufacturing: Save Money, Attract Talent and Grow

MMA and The Nature Conservancy in Michigan joined forces in the spring of 2022 to present a four-part series of webinars featuring sustainability experts and industry representatives leading the way toward making their enterprises cleaner and greener.

The innovative partnership, which both groups hope to continue with future joint events, is helping to drive sustainability across Michigan’s manufacturing sector by highlighting strategies to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and adopt renewable energy technologies.

The first two webinars in the series provided attendees with a high-level overview of sustainability trends in the manufacturing sector as well as insights on state and federal initiatives and policy changes designed to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and carbon reduction strategies in this key sector.

The next two webinars featured sustainability experts at Michigan manufacturing companies explaining how they’ve worked to become more sustainable. They, along with consultants, offered practical steps for how to conduct a sustainability audit and start down the road toward adopting more sustainable practices and processes.

“Sustainability is fast becoming a priority for Michigan manufacturers of all sizes,” said Caroline Liethen, MMA Director of Environmental & Regulatory Policy. “Our partnership with The Nature Conservancy has provided manufacturers with practical insights into voluntary actions they can take to lower their industrial emissions while staying competitive and attracting and retaining talented workers.”

Madhu Anderson, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, said the jointly produced webinars have been an effective way to reach manufacturers of every size and in every corner of the state and encourage them to integrate sustainability strategies into their future investments.

“We’re proud we were able to partner with the MMA to engage manufacturers across the state in sharing their sustainability success stories and efforts to manage the impacts of a changing climate,” Anderson said. “There are tremendous opportunities across the sustainability landscape for manufacturers who are interested in saving money, attracting talent, growing their business and helping their community.”

Among the speakers were sustainability experts from General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Hemlock Semiconductor Operations, Capital Steel & Wire, Waste Management, the National Association of Manufacturers, the University of Michigan’s Global CO2 Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, the Great Plains Institute, Foresight Management and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Liethen and Anderson said they’re looking for more ways for MMA and TNC to work together to help Michigan manufacturers find ways to become more sustainable. They note that the state’s MI Healthy Climate Plan now being drafted, as well as likely federal sustainability requirements, will present new challenges to manufacturers. Both said they’re eager to assist manufacturers become cleaner and greener.

Watch On-demand

Part 1: Sustainable Manufacturing: Save Money, Attract Talent and Grow

Part 2: Sustainability: Upcoming Challenges and Opportunities in Government Policy

Part 3: How Michigan Manufacturers are Finding Ways to Become More Sustainable

Part 4: Practical Tips and Resources for Moving Toward Sustainability Ahead of Regulation