CMC is proud to announce that it has received an EcoVadis 2020 Silver Medal for Sustainability. The award is given to the top 25% of companies who participate and rarely offered on the first attempt. We are honored to receive this designation and will continue our commitment to sustainability.
Sustainability is a catchy buzzword right now, but what does it mean? Every company wants to be “sustainable” and be seen as a responsible company, not the stereotypical ruthless capitalist who mistreats workers and pollutes the environment. What the buzzword and marketing misses are that truly sustainable practices are not merely good branding but good business sense.
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition of sustainability encompasses an environmental context along with labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement in a manufacturing context.
In a practical sense, environmental sustainability encompasses continuous effort. For example in the form of not wasting raw materials, controlling pollution, and smartly managing utilities. One thing to note is that all wasted materials and excess energy and water use are costs that can be controlled and reduced. If 10% of raw material is wasted, the company spent 10% more than it had to. It is a sunk cost that will directly affect profit margins. In the long term, no company can act in such a way and remain successful. On top of the sunken cost of inefficiency, the disposing of the raw materials also has other direct and indirect costs: properly disposing of the materials is added direct cost whilst destroying the brand image, and environmental damage are indirect costs.
To be completely sustainable, a company must also abide by sustainable labor and human rights practices. Some examples are treating employees with respect and providing a safe, clean, and organised workspace. According to management theory, employees that are treated well work better than those who worked long hours under poor conditions—although counter-intuitive, giving employees the downtime they need will increase production and quality. This situation is a win-win for both employees and the company.
Unethical businesses do not tend to survive in the long run. As highlighted above, unethical practices may incur additional costs due to inefficiencies. The inefficiencies, paired with the increasing risk of a negative brand image, may be the nail in the coffin for many businesses that do not practice sustainability. More importantly, many sources ignore the fact that sustainable behaviours are rewarding for those who practice. Although brand image and efficiency are important, doing a good deed will always be more rewarding than being unethical.
Running a sustainable business does not end at your company; it stretches throughout the supply chain. Your operations may be sustainable, but if your suppliers fail to meet these standards, it will affect your business. It may be in an obvious way (bad PR when a supplier uses unethical labor practices) or the less obvious (poor environmental practice causing a key supplier to shut down in the middle of a production run, or financial misconduct making a company unable to meet its obligations). Regardless, failure to understand the sustainability of your procurement leads to sudden and devastating consequences.
These are not only values that we at CMC live by but also encourage and guide our clients to achieve. To learn more, read the article our CEO wrote about the steps towards being Lean and Green, which was greatly received by many manufacturing executives.