By 2100, is estimated, world population will generate 4 billion tons of wastes, sustainability is more than a moral imperative, it is vital for our existence.  It also represents a differentiator increasingly important for companies of all sizes.


A survey from Shelton Group discovered that 86 % of consumers believe companies must take a stand regarding social issues. Nielsen's research also revealed that 65 % of consumers will spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.


Then, how companies can become more sustainable? One way is to adopt 3D printing.


IDC anticipates that, for 2021, 40 % of the 2,000 main manufacturers will combine 3D printing with Smart machines tools to optimize the use of materials, by reducing wastes, at least 25 %.  Sustainability benefits with 3D printing expand beyond just reducing wastes.  3D printing opens a path toward a circular economy, aware of materials and energy-efficient, which takes production near the consumption point.  For example, changing a production line to 3D printing, HP reached a reduction 30 times its carbon footprint, besides of 95 percent in cost reduction.


These are four ways in which 3D printing makes sustainability possible in supply chains:


1.    Continuous Ideation


3D printing allows manufacturers developing products for their Just in Time delivery and customize them under demand.  Due to products are made as needed, nothing is wasted.  There is no need for massive warehouses.  Nor many products have to be shipped by land, sea or air.


2.    Progressive geographic strategy


There is a movement increasingly growing regarding resources and local production.  Integrate 3D printing allows companies satisfying this demand.


3.    Accelerated time to market


If used in prototyping or finished goods, 3D printing cuts weeks in manufacturing time and reduces carbon footprint related to production and distribution simply considers the effect of drastically reducing the volume of the long-distance shipment.  3D printing offers the capability of manufacturing products quicker and locally.


4.    Greener products


Also of making the distribution chain more ecologic, 3D printing allows designers and engineers developing more sustainable products with lighter pieces, recycling, and innovative applications.


3D printing also allows a new and optimized use of fuel and energy.  For example, Renault trucks use 3D printed engine pieces which are 25 % lighter, improving thus fuel efficiency.