Through the reduction of raw material waste and transport-related emissions, #3Dprinting is a leading example for sustainable manufacturing.


Related SDGs


Sustainability challenge and related SDGs:

Globalised manufacturing supply chains have been established with the aim of reducing labour costs, while ignoring the environmental costs of carbon emissions. Moreover, the commodities required for the production process are becoming scarcer reflecting global population growth and continuous industrial expansion. SDG 12 “Responsible Production and Consumption” seeks to confront this growing challenge by fostering the transition to a circular economy and reducing waste and pollution at each step of the production process.

Possible solutions and their contribution to achieving the SDGs

#3Dprinting is a process to produce three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved by using additive processes.

In an additive process an object is being produced by laying down successive layers of material until it is finished. This is opposed to the reductive process of traditional manufacturing which is cutting or carving material.

While #3Dprinting is sometimes seen as having a higher footprint in the production, its use of resources throughout the lifecycle is much lower. First, #3Dprinting create less waste, using only as much material as necessary compared to traditional manufacturing. Second, it reduces the environmental impact of transportation due to the possibility of distributed manufacturing. It also allows for extending or continuing a product’s lifecycle as products are usually more durable.

Packaging, shipping and handling are also vastly reduced. It can therefore help achieve SDG 12 by addressing the sub-targets 12.2, 12.4 and 12.5 for efficient use of natural resources and the sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle.

Primarily related SDG Targets: 12.2, 12.4, 12.5


Investment Rationale and Growth Potential

Rising costs of industrial commodities and energy as well as transportation are a clear business case for #3Dprinting. Moreover, the necessity to realign supply chains in a more confrontational geopolitical environment also speaks for bringing back manufacturing to where the produced parts are required. Furthermore, decentralized production helps to reduce delivery uncertainty and allows for just-in-time production. As decarbonization of industry is gathering momentum, #3Dprinting is likely to move mainstream.

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