Sustainable Manufacturing Research Group
Our group carries out multidisciplinary research into ‘Net Positive Manufacturing’, a paradigm shift from a commercial perspective in which manufacturing businesses aim to adopt a restoring, self-healing, and regenerative approach and to put back more into society and the environment than what they take out.
In today’s consumer-driven society, manufacturers can exert unparalleled environmental, economic and societal influence, either for good or bad. The decades long drive to achieve economic growth at any cost has resulted in significant damage to the environment, within both developed and developing countries.
Due to the limited economic perspective inherent to this mindset, the majority of recent global sustainability initiatives have settled for a ‘less bad’ approach, based on minimal changes to meet the demands of regional and national legislation combined with incremental efficiency measures. The benefits of such initiatives are now recognised as too limited and resulting in progress too slow to tackle the needs of tomorrow.
In this context of ‘less bad is not good enough’, the Sustainable Manufacturing Research Group aims to extend the scope of current sustainability strategies, tools and technologies to enable companies to simultaneously meet legislative, environmental and ethical standards whilst safeguarding their future prosperity. This radical and novel vision for future industrial development presents a number of methodical, organisational, technological, as well as social and ethical research challenges, which are explored by the various members of the research group.
We are currently involved in a number of national and international initiatives focusing on a range of projects on life cycle analysis, sustainable design, water and energy efficient manufacturing, end of life processing of products, sustainable consumption and business models, and delivering key enablers for achieving the transformational changes required to realise our future, sustainable, industrial systems.