There has been a lot of news recently highlighting the U.S. energy boom and its impact on a manufacturing renaissance. A recent report by the global research firm IHS estimated that by 2020 the unconventional (think hydraulic fracturing) oil and gas value chain will support 3.3 million jobs. The American Chemistry Council has estimated that the energy boom is playing a central role in the development of 136 new U.S. manufacturing plants representing $91 billion in investments. And in November, Automatic Data Processing reported that manufacturers added 18,000 jobs, the fastest pace the sector has experienced since February 2012.
Not to be forgotten in all of this good news, is the focus U.S. manufacturers are placing on growing sustainably. Across the country manufacturers are making investments in equipment and processes allowing goods to be produced more efficiently and with a commitment to reducing their environmental footprint.
Last week CF Industries released its first-ever sustainability report highlighting some of the company’s impressive accomplishments in sustainability. CF Industries is a manufacturer and distributor of fertilizers that provide nutrients essential to increasing the yield and quality of crops grown throughout the world. Fertilizers play a critical role in replenishing nutrients to soil necessary to grow enough food on available cropland to feed the world’s growing population. Fertilizer manufacturing also happens to be an industry that is benefiting from the energy boom – natural gas is a key ingredient to making all synthetically-produced nitrogen fertilizers.
In part attributable to the U.S. energy boom, CF Industries is investing $3.8 billion in new, state-of-the-art nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, using the most advanced, energy efficient equipment to convert natural gas into nitrogen fertilizer. These new facilities will be online in 2015 or 2016, and will help continue the company’s consistent trend of producing more fertilizer with fewer inputs and a smaller environmental footprint.
As manufacturing continues its resurgence in the U.S., we should be encouraged that this growth will be driven by manufacturers that are committed to sustainable growth and environmental stewardship.
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