Industry plays the key role in the prosperity of the UK population and high standard of living. And in order to maintain the current standard of living, we need a continuous economic growth which, unfortunately, often takes a heavy toll on the environment. Industry is still the greatest polluter both directly and indirectly. Despite the introduction of cleaner and more environmentally-friendly production processes and technologies, a certain amount of air, soil and water pollutants still escape into nature, making industrial areas unhealthy for both people and wildlife species. At the same time, industry is the greatest consumer of energy most of which is still generated by fossil fuel burning. This means that it is also a major contributor to the climate change. For that reason several measures have been proposed to achieve sustainable production.
Sustainable production refers to production of goods and services which:
- have minimal impact on the environment in respect to pollution
- help preserve biodiversity
- do not jeopardise the health of the workers and nearby communities
- are economically viable
- eliminate or reduce potentially toxic waste and by-products to the minimum
- conserve energy and materials
Sustainable production is in the interest of everyone from the business owner to workers and the local communities. Neither workers and the nearby communities do not have to worry about health hazards or loss of biodiversity due to pollution, while business owners can dramatically reduce the cost of production and increase their profits by investing in energy and material saving technologies. At the same time, they do not have to worry about legal consequences due to impact of their business on the environment and public health.
Green production processes have become a standard in many industries, however, they remain out of reach to most medium and small businesses due to high investment required. In addition to being compelled to implement environmentally-friendly production processes through legal regulations, businesses owners should therefore also be stimulated for investing in green technology through subsidiaries or tax incentives for instance. At the same time, developers and producers of environmentally-friendly technologies should be stimulated as well in order to produce better and less expensive technologies.
Sustainable production, however, should not be limited to industry but should also apply to food production and agriculture both of which have a devastating impact on both the environment and human health. The conventional food production and agriculture base on the use of dangerous chemicals to repel, mitigate or destroy pests and artificial fertilizers. Chemical pesticides are highly toxic to human health and many wildlife species including those that are crucial for food production such as honeybees, bumblebees and other pollinators. Artificial fertilizers, on the other hand, are less toxic to human health and wildlife, however, they pollute the groundwater and pose a threat to aquatic life. As a result, farmers should be encouraged to adopt sustainable food production practices which will:
- satisfy human food needs
- be economically viable
- help preserve the local ecosystems
- will not threaten the public health