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“We are at the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” Greta Thunberg was once again the voice of reason and rightful frustration during the opening of the United Nations conference on Monday. Climate crisis demands more action from the world leaders and everyone else, including the manufacturing industry. The production of raw materials such as steel, cement, plastic, glass, and aluminium causes significant amounts of emissions. However, we also use these materials for everything; from household products to our buildings and machines that build them. So how should manufacturing companies tackle the issue of climate change? Should they continue business as usual? What are some of the pioneer companies doing to make the industry greener?
According to an article by Fast Company, Bill Gates recently invested in two companies that are using alternative energy resources to produce those raw materials. One of them is Boston Metal, “which uses electricity to make steel instead of burning coal. That electricity could be generated using renewable energy instead of burning dirty fossil fuel.” The second company he backed is called TerraPower, which “uses an approach called a travelling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and creates very little waste,” as Gates explains. Although these companies handle the same problem through different perspectives, the idea is common: find alternative ways to produce raw materials.
Another cleaner energy source that can be used in the production of raw materials, especially steel is called Hydrogen fuel. The good news is that pioneer companies such as SSAB, ThyssenKrupp, and ArcelorMittal are already working with this technology. This goes to show that not only there are ways to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing industry but also there is demand and support for companies that hold themselves accountable and get ready for the future. Because as Greta says, “If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them.”