For many small manufacturing companies, the growing focus on carbon neutrality and how it will affect business is a serious topic, but how do you start and will your efforts make a difference?
As climate change moves up the agenda to take centre stage, business transformation will be essential if we are to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. As an industry, manufacturing generates 36% of global carbon emissions (Manufacture2030) so it is vital that there is a conscious shift by all to embrace carbon reducing strategies if we are to halt global temperature rises.
So what can you do as a small manufacturing company to reduce your carbon emissions and how achievable is net zero for your organisation?
Check out the following 5 steps to carbon neutrality to see how you can start your carbon reducing journey.
Perform a comprehensive energy audit across your business to understand your current carbon emissions. There are numerous free calculators, guides and consultants that you can work with to identify, measure and help you improve efficiencies, reduce waste and set targets for carbon reduction (Spedan Consulting, DEFRA, CarbonFootPrint and Manufacture2030).
2. Develop a Strategy
Reducing carbon within your business will take time, significant effort and investment not to mention resource so it is important to consider how this will impact daily business but also your customers, employees and supply chain. Look to develop a strategy with emission targets that are achievable and ideally ones that align with Science Based Targets.
Ensure your strategy includes good communication to help drive employee advocacy and inform customers on possible change. Where customers and indeed employees see direct benefit, they are much more likely to support you through any transitional periods.
Investigate the UN Sustainable development goals (SDG’s) and see how you they fit with your strategy. SDG’s are a call to action to help reduce global poverty, protect the planet and generally improve lives. They are a great starting point and can provide an excellent framework to review and align your business against. You can read more about our thoughts on SDG’s and the benefit to manufacturers here.
Reducing energy consumption through efficiencies is an easy first step. Consider upgrading to LED lighting combined with movement sensors. Switch to 100% renewable energy sources from companies such as Ecotricity, BULB and Crown and Gas Power.
Reduce travel and logistics by embracing digital communications. Recent advancement with digital platforms such as ZOOM and TEAMs have helped make remote communications much easier, thus removing the need for travel.
Offer remote working where possible to minimise employee commutes and if needed, consider electric vehicles for your fleet along with the installation of EV charge points. Although significant investment and a change in mind set is needed to overcome range anxiety and charging habits, EV technology is here to stay and improvements in range, technology and vehicle cost are improving all the time.
Consolidate orders and source locally to reduce transportation of goods over long distances. Consider using multi drop courier services to avoid single destination trips.
Spend time with your suppliers and customers to discuss new materials, methods and processes that are better for the environment and have lower carbon emissions.
4. Carbon Offsetting
In order to achieve Carbon neutrality it is likely that there will be some carbon element that is hard to remove. At this point you can consider offsetting by investing in projects that ensure the carbon balance can be achieved. These include reforestation and the development of renewable energy sources.
5. Certification and Communication
Once you have your house in order, your strategy needs to promote continuous improvement and have accurate tracking methods. Certification such as PAS2060 can help formalise and manage your carbon strategy going forward. With false claims and information, greenwashing and general cynicism, alignment against a global standard will certainly help to gain credibility for your efforts and achievements.
Midas Pattern Company - leading the charge in responsible RIM moulding manufacture. Check out the #MidasgreenInitiative for more insight.