India has all the resources to be a leading power in manufacturing globally yet it isn’t even in the top 5 in world. India’s economic standing is at a GDP of 2.3 trillion dollars; the 9th largest in the world and yet manufacturing accounts only 2% of the Indian economy.
The manufacturing market was and is dominated largely by China owing to having created and sustained its own manufacturing companies. This made China into a power that is required globally. Be it through their abundance of demographic resource, or their cheap labor- they the country proved itself to be a leaderin manufacturing. Many countries have aspirations of acquiring this segment of the business, but very few have the capability that India does. A country brimming with an abundance of skilled engineers, an eager workforce, and wages that can compare to the cheapest around the world, it is time that we tap into this untapped potential. The government of India has finally taken steps to encourage and promote manufacturing and make in India initiatives.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in its discussion paper on the growth strategy for manufacturing, has set a target to increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP to 25 percent, from the current level of about 16 percent. While this growth is necessary, the country’s environmental concerns need to be mitigated. Current manufacturing practices are not friend of our planet and increasing these will add further worsen the impact on mother earth.
It is essential that the manufacturing sector must use energy and resources efficiently, and minimize the generation of waste. It is estimated that even if every factory, power plant, car, and airplane is shut down, the average global temperature would still increase by 0.6˚C in this century.
India has to be a leader in not in manufacturing but ‘Green Manufacturing’. Green manufacturing involves the transformation of industrial operations in three ways: (1) using Green energy, (2) developing and selling Green products, and (3) employing Green processes in business operations. A recent global survey by BCG reveals that as many as 92 percent of the companies surveyed are engaged in Green initiatives. Manufacturing companies that adopt Green practices benefit through long term cost savings. With younger generations caring more about the environment, it has necessitated companies to
adapt and change the way they look at businesses. This takes into account CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) which has become a leading driver for change in business.
Owing to the easy access to internet, it is easy for businesses to be scrutinized for practices that harm the environment. A lot of companies had to rethink their practices and change their approach. India can now set an example and take the driver’s seat when it comes to mass production green initiatives.
However, these benefits require a long term commitment and making trade-offs against short term objectives, as the economics of Green manufacturing is still evolving and not well understood as yet. The Indian youth is not only informed and aware but understand how essential it is to adapt sustainable practices. Innovators in the field have already begun taking their actions and a lot of brands have come up which help an individual to switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Consumers are even willing to pay premium prices when they know it is for the betterment of their health and our planet.
Companies in almost all segments have taken the initiative to incorporate practices to reduce waste generation, adapt zero waste processes for end to end green manufacturing. Right from sourcing completely organic and chemical-free raw materials, using zero plastic and toxins in products to making even the packaging sustainable, they are working towards a better green revolution this time, which does not leave damaging footprint on our planet.
Being a country full of visionary youth and a history of embracing natural and organic practices since centuries, there is a sea of opportunities that needs to be explored.
While all Industries are taking the required steps towards sustainability, the personal hygiene industry deserves a special mention. It is one of the largest contributor to plastic pollution with almost all commercially available personal care products being laden with plastics and toxins. The personal hygiene industry is a multi-billion dollar one, expected to reach US$15 Billion by 2023, and it’s about time that this industry adapts green practices.
In India alone a lot of brands have come up which provide organic and natural personal care products – from natural sanitary pads and baby diapers to vegan cosmetics, from bamboo toothbrush to chemical free perfumes, everyone is innovating and trying to save our planet one idea at a time.
Being one of the entrepreneurs, catering to the natural personal care industry, I believe there is a great scope for progress. A way forward would be for the government to implement more make in India policies and invest in upcoming small scale green manufacturing companies. Organic products are usually priced higher, which makes the switch to a sustainable lifestyle almost impossible for the masses. With the intervention from the government, these products can be made more affordable and accessible for instance, Heyday has kept its pricing neck to neck with synthetic disposal products enabling consumers to go organic without pinching their pockets.
Being a country full of visionary youth and a history of embracing natural and organic practices since centuries, there is a sea of opportunities that needs to be explored. With the right support from the government, the future certainly looks bright for manufacturing in India.