The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership has developed a portal that provides a web-based tool to track profitable sustainability initiatives by manufacturers.
The portal allows diagnostics of a manufacturer’s operations to be conducted “in the cloud.” The information can be used to set priorities for the manufacturer concerning its sustainable manufacturing efforts.
The portal is designed to enhance the practical implementation of sustainable manufacturing, said Randy Bertram, director of sustainability services at the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The portal is based on the Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, which promotes policies for sustainable economic growth and employment.
It tracks 18 sustainable manufacturing indicators, such water, energy and greenhouse gas intensity; recyclability of products; renewable materials content; and recycled/reused content, among other measurements.
Information compiled through the portal allows manufacturers to set priorities, and track and manage their sustainable performance.
The portal also is designed to measure profitable sustainability progress through a manufacturer’s supply chain, since that’s where a major portion of its environmental footprint often is contained, Bertram said.
The portal will be the focus of a pilot project between the WMEP and a major Wisconsin manufacturer and 25 of its suppliers.
“We built the portal to become a valuable tool throughout the supply chain,” Bertram said. “Our experience with more than 200 manufacturers through the Profitable Sustainability Initiative demonstrates the linkage between lower cost and improved environmental performance”.
The pilot project is being conducted to help determine a strategy for commercializing the portal.
Although still in the development phase, the portal already has been utilized to conduct diagnostics for Wisconsins-based manufacturers.
The tool will be made available to all Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers throughout the country, Bertram said.