For the most part, the concepts of manufacturing, logistics, and environmentalism do not seem to go well together. Logistics and manufacturing have been rightfully blamed for much of the environmentally harmful waste that has damaged our planet over the last century. But that has begun to change dramatically over the past few years, and going green has become the hottest trend in these industries.

Green Manufacturing and Logistics

One of the first major companies to go all-in on the green idea was General Mills. In 2004, they decided to recycle much of the waste instead of continuing to pay to have it dumped in landfills. A prime example of their green mindset, they converted oat hulls– a byproduct of Cheerios production– into an alternative fuel source that could be used in their plants. By 2006, the company reported that they had recycled over 86 percent of their solid waste.

Another example is the Coors Brewing Company, which converts wasted beer products into beneficial ethanol. Coors have partnered with Valero Energy and now produce three million gallons of ethanol every year, giving new meaning to the idea of being fueled by beer.

Retail giant Wal-Mart has recently decided to jump on board as well. Their truck fleet is the second-largest in the United States, and they have invested millions with Peterbilt, ArvinMeritor, and others to create the world’s first line of heavy-duty hybrid 18-wheelers.

Benefits of Going Green

While one might naively hope that it is the case, these corporate giants have not become more environmentally conscious just out of the goodness of their hearts. Going green on a large scale not only has the obvious benefit of a healthier planet and sustainability, there are also many direct advantages to the companies themselves. Many of these advantages involve significant financial gains, tax credits and an improved reputation in society.

1. Reduced Costs

Every company looks for new ways to streamline business, and major manufacturers are finding many benefits in alternative energy sources. Even though it can involve short-term expenditures, the long-term savings and profits and these alternative fuels almost always outweigh the initial investment.

“More efficient lighting, better packaging methods and the use of recycled materials are just a few of the ways manufacturers could save money and the planet at the same time,” says one expert from Pallet Anywhere, a UK-based logistics company.

2. Tax Credits

Governments generally offer large incentives for manufacturers who go green, in efforts to reduce the amount of energy and waste created. In the US, many of these come in the way of tax credits, but they also have other incentive plans that can give environmentally friendly manufacturers a leg up on the competition.

3. Better Reputation

With the ever-increasing climate of environmental consciousness, manufacturing and logistics are often seen as enemies to a healthy planet. Logistics companies and manufacturers who take efforts to be more green in their methods of production and transportation can build a much better reputation among the public. This can lead to new customers and increased sales, as well as higher employee morale.

These are just some of the major benefits that going green can have for every company, and there are likely to be even more incentives and advantages, depending on your industry and company. The steps you take to be more earth-friendly will not only be beneficial to generations of the future, they can have some immediate benefits to your company today. Even if you are not in manufacturing or logistics, working with environmentally conscious partners can have some direct advantages for your company.