Sustainability Ambitions Clash With Renewable Energy Goals for Small Manufacturers

June 11, 2024 – A recent review by MRPeasy, the MRP software provider for small manufacturers, reveals that small manufacturers in the UK and US are increasingly adopting sustainability strategies, but renewable energy remains a low priority.

Sustainability plans underway

The review found that many small manufacturers are developing or have already implemented sustainability plans for 2024, often as part of compliance with environmental regulations. These manufacturers view sustainability both as a challenge and an opportunity, reflecting the complex nature of adopting eco-friendly practices in small-scale settings.

However, despite this growing commitment to sustainability, the focus on renewable energy sources is noticeably lacking. Most respondents indicated they are not considering renewable energy solutions for their operations at this time.

Rising energy costs and limited efficiency efforts

Energy costs have varied impacts on these businesses, with some experiencing significant increases. Yet, actions to reduce energy use are not widespread, indicating a gap between recognizing the issue and implementing solutions.

Metrics such as energy consumption, waste reduction, recycling rates, and supply chain sustainability are being tracked or planned for tracking by these manufacturers. This structured approach shows an understanding of the importance of measurable sustainability efforts.

Other challenges take priority

“Sustainability strategies appear to be a controversial topic for small manufacturers,” said Mike Lurye, Director of Business Development at MRPeasy. “While there is recognition of sustainability as important, other pressing challenges are taking precedence right now, especially with the economic uncertainty of an election year.”

Indeed, a 2024 survey by the US National Association of Manufacturers found that the top current business challenges for manufacturers include attracting and retaining a quality workforce, an unfavorable business climate, rising health care and insurance costs, and weaker domestic economic conditions and sales.

Making renewable energy feasible

The benefits of renewable energy, from cost savings to reduced emissions, are well documented. Yet high upfront costs and lack of resources or knowledge are common barriers for small businesses to adopt renewables.

“To make renewable energy more attractive for small manufacturers, we need several strategies,” said Mike Lurye, Director of Business Development at MRPeasy. “Government incentives like subsidies and tax credits can help with high upfront costs. Education campaigns should highlight the long-term financial and environmental benefits. Developing affordable and scalable renewable technologies is key. Additionally, working together with policymakers, industry groups, and energy providers is essential to address challenges and promote adoption, especially since other pressing issues often take priority.”

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of renewable energy continues to fall, making it a more viable option for businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and operational expenses.

By addressing these barriers and promoting collaborative efforts, the path to a more sustainable future can become clearer for small manufacturers.

About the review

The review consisted of surveys and interviews with 10 small manufacturers from the UK and the US, covering industries such as consumer products, food and beverage, manufacturing, construction, and engineering services.

About MRPeasy

MRPeasy is a pioneer in cloud-based Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) software that helps small manufacturers grow by offering easy-to-use tools that cover the essentials they need to manage their production and distribution. Founded in 2014 by a team of seasoned software engineers and ERP experts, MRPeasy started offering small manufacturers a user-friendly, affordable solution that meets their unique needs. The platform provides a clear view of production costs and timelines, helping growing manufacturing businesses to handle new challenges and keep on expanding successfully. With MRPeasy, small manufacturers can level the playing field with larger competitors, getting access to production management tools without unnecessary complexities.

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