All industry contributes to CO2 emissions and its’ old news that this isn’t great for the environment. Changing the way, we work to reduce our carbon footprint is at the forefront of business conversation. But as manufacturers, what actions can you take within your business to make a real difference? Here are eight ways the manufacturing industry can lower its carbon footprint as part of a CSR strategy.
Monitoring energy use
Do you know which part(s) of your business use the most energy? You’ve probably heard that smart meters are available for all homes now, but they’re available for businesses too. Understanding where you use the most energy could help you manage your energy usage more accurately.
Reduce energy usage
Once you know where you are using or possibly wasting energy, you can tighten up and become more efficient. Reducing unnecessary energy inefficiencies is a vital step to minimising your carbon footprint. Small changes such as switching lights off, turning off computers when they’re not required and figuring out which machines need to be on standby and which can be switched off, can all contribute to the cause.
Reduce water usage
Manufacturers often consume a lot of water during production as it can be used for cooling, cleaning and of course within some finished products. Audit your water use to minimise waste, and look for opportunities to reuse water where possible.
Reward the green commute
A cycle-to-work scheme could be a great incentive for someone to jump on their bike instead of getting in the car - this could have a positive impact on both the environment and their well-being. Another idea can be introducing a carpooling scheme, which is often welcomed by employees too.
Transport isn’t just about the staff; it’s about moving stock and supplies too. Are you using the smartest plan logistically? If all your raw materials are travelling hundreds of miles, could you find a local supplier instead? Can you group deliveries to save trips? Fewer vehicles on the road is a huge part of reducing carbon emissions.
Switch to green energy
Find a renewable energy supplier and switch. Ask your energy supplier where the energy comes from, as most suppliers will have a 'green' option, usually from renewables such as wind and solar power. The more businesses request this, the higher the demand for renewable energy will become. Another option is to invest in renewable energy technology yourself.
Ensure you have a proper recycling system in place, and that people use it. Have it in all aspects of the business, so the huge packaging from the large-scale machinery and the paper from the office have somewhere to be recycled. The first step is always to try and minimise waste, but when that’s not possible, think to recycle or reuse.
The benefits of reducing the amount of packaging are financial as well as environmental. Use recycled and recyclable packaging when possible, and reduce the amount of waste created in the first place. Of course, some items need to be packaged safely and securely, but unnecessary plastic packaging should be scrapped altogether.