Industry practices to compute and compare sustainability of manufacturing processes are inconsistent because of a lack of uniform methods to represent manufacturing processes and equipment performance [1,2]. There is much work to be done for manufacturers to characterize their systems and collect the data needed to understand the trade-offs that they face. To address this concern, ASTM International formed their E60.13 Subcommittee on Sustainable Manufacturing to develop standards to assist in characterizing industry manufacturing processes for sustainability-related decisions.
Four of these standards have been published:
- E2986-15 Standard Guide for Evaluation of Environmental Aspects of Sustainability of Manufacturing Processes, provides guidance for manufacturers on how to conduct a sustainability study in order to improve their practices.
- E3012-16 Standard Guide for Characterizing Environmental Aspects of Manufacturing Processes, provides guidance for the actual characterization of manufacturing processes.
- E2987/E2987M-16 Standard Terminology for Sustainable Manufacturing, includes terminology applicable to sustainable manufacturing.
- E3096-18 Standard Guide for Definition, Selection, and Organization of Key Performance Indicators for Environmental Aspects of Manufacturing Processes.
E3096 standard addresses the need for an open and neutral procedure in selecting key performance indicators (KPIs) for sustainable manufacturing when individual manufacturers are selecting KPIs for measuring, monitoring and improving environmental aspects of manufacturing processes. This standard guide can be used for (1) identifying candidate KPIs from existing sources, (2) defining new candidate KPIs, (3) selecting appropriate KPIs based on KPI criteria, and (4) composing the selected KPIs with assigned weights into a set. The paper explains how the developed procedure complements existing indicator sets and sustainability-measurement approaches at the manufacturing process level. 
Other standards under development within the E60.13 Subcommittee emphasize how to evaluate many of the important factors for environmental assessment and include:
- Classification for Waste Generated at Manufacturing Facilities,
- Guide for Integration and Reporting of Environmental and Social Sustainability within the Manufacturing Supply Chains,
- Standard Specification for Net-Negative Landfill Waste Manufacturing Processes.
E3012-16 standard outlines a process characterization methodology and proposes a generic representation from which manufacturers can derive specific UMP representations for meaningful sustainability performance analysis. According to the guide, environmental characterization identifies
- UMPs, their associative key performance indicators (KPIs), and the boundaries that define the UMP. KPIs are quantifiable and strategic measurements that reflects an organization’s critical success factors in terms understanding and improving manufacturing performance.
- UMP specific attributes, specifically the inputs, manufacturing resources, product and process information, and outputs for chosen UMPs, and
- transformation functions and key UMP specific variables required for calculating transformation nist-equations.
The UMP is represented graphically as is shown here. Transformation functions are used to describe the transformation of inputs to outputs. These transformations are enabled through the use of information contained in other elements identified as Resources and Product and Process Information in the graphical model. Transformations include changes in
- material (e.g., mass change, phase change, structure change, deformation, and consolidation),
- energy (e.g., chemical, electrical, thermal, mechanical, and electromagnetic),
- information, such as production metrics (e.g., throughput and overall equipment effectiveness) or environmental metrics (e.g., energy, material, water, emissions, and waste).
Transformations create data to establish baseline measurements for these metrics (e.g. energy in kWh). The generic representation is used as a template for collecting key information about a specific UMP. The instantiated UMP model is structured using a formal representation such as an XML format that enables machine interpretation.
1. Mani, M., Larborn, J., Johannson, B., Lyons, K., & Morris, KC. (2016). Standard representations for sustainability characterization of industrial processes. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4033922
2. M. Mani, Madan, J., Lee, J. H., Lyons, K. W., & Gupta, S. K. (2014). Sustainability characterization for manufacturing processes. International Journal of Production Research, 52(20), 5895-5912. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2014.886788
3. Kibira, D., Brundage, M., Feng, S., and Morris, K., “Procedure for Selecting Key Performance Indicators for Sustainable Manufacturing,” Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, 140(1), 011005, November 3, 2017, Paper No: MANU-17-1464, doi: 10.1115/1.4037439. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4037439