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Sustainable manufacturing

Sustainable manufacturing is better for the environment and makes financial sense.

Companies already investing in
this opportunity

Airbus ● Volkswagen ● Siemens Mobility ● Reebok ● ExxonMobil ● Graphenglass ● Oerlikon

investment opportunities in sustainable manufacturing to 2030.

Interest and investment in sustainable manufacturing is on the rise, which is why we believe it presents significant innovation opportunities over the years to come.

Five promising use cases in

Sustainable manufacturing

  1. Bioplastics from starch, cellulose, protein, bio-polyethylene and bio-based polyesters such as polylactic acid.
  2. Nature-inspired and biomimetic materials, such as coffee silverskin artificial leather and bacterial nano-cellulose-based or fungal mycelia-based synthetic leather.
  3. Lightweight hybrid carbon fibre-metal composites offering >25% mass reduction, stiffness increase, and design customisation.
  4. Reprocessable thermosets, thermoplastic epoxies, and thermoplastic-like thermosets.
  5. Bioengineered microorganisms for efficient catalysis of bio-based chemical production for medicine, increasing yields and enabling new drug discovery.

What is meant by sustainable manufacturing?

Sustainable manufacturing minimises negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. Indeed, sustainable manufacturing considerations are moving up the agenda thanks to increasing scrutiny to report on supply chains and direct environmental impacts.

We take sustainable manufacturing to include materials sustainability, sustainable construction, high-performance materials, functional coatings and sustainable chemical production. Innovations in sustainable manufacturing are influencing manufacturing methods, materials and processes at companies across the globe. From energy, automotive sectors and aerospace engineering, to chemicals, transportation and logistics, firms are innovating to reduce their impacts and make their products and services more attractive to both B2B and B2C customers.

Use Case

Why is sustainable manufacturing important?

Increasing pressure on companies to report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and heightened emphasis on supply chains are driving the impetus for more sustainable manufacturing.

The US think tank The Rocky Mountain Institute reports that the average company’s supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 5.5 times higher than the direct emissions from its own assets and operations.


Projected annual growth rate in global bioplastics market to 2027


The value of the sustainable construction market size by 2030


Use cases

What innovations are enabling sustainable manufacturing?

Innovations in sustainable manufacturing are impacting everything from processes and materials to measurement. Indeed, the global bioplastics market alone is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% to $25.27 billion in 2027. Innovations in sensors and 5G are improving the speed and accuracy of emissions measurement and monitoring, allowing firms the chance to track the effectiveness of their innovations benchmark on a more continual basis.

What are the trends in sustainable manufacturing?

More accurate impact measurement is helping companies assess the suitability of different new materials and processes. Precision measurement, for example, improves yield and reduces waste. It is also supporting discoveries in renewable chemicals production from bio-derived materials such as bio-derived feedstock including biomass (such as cellulose) and polyols (such as polyester).

Which companies are innovating in sustainable manufacturing?

Innovations are happening across sectors and B2B and B2C companies. From consumer-facing brands such as Reebok, which is innovating in sustainability practices, to Airbus, which is investing in lightweight and recyclable NiO-composites, biomass carbon fibres, and bio-resins.