Scottish Leather Group wins green award and saves £900,000

Posted on 18 May 2012

Bovine leather maker Scottish Leather Group has won the Carbon Trust’s Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing Award 2012.

The company’s prize, following the use of energy saving measures across its three sites in the west of Scotland, was presented at Scottish Engineering’s Annual Awards Dinner at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.

Scottish Leather Group, which produces leathers for the furniture, marine, automotive and aviation sectors, implemented a range of process and building related energy efficiency measures resulting in an annual emissions reduction of over 3,000 tonnes of CO₂.

This is a 46% decrease in CO2 consumption and has led to annual savings of £900,000, despite production volumes having increased.

The company’s energy efficiency programme was highly commended by the Carbon Trust.  Investment in a Thermal Energy plant at the company’s main Bridge of Weir site, converting waste from the leather making process into fuel to generate renewable heat for direct reuse in production, was particularly commended for its ambition, innovation and exemplary environmental performance.

Paul Wedgwood, manager of Carbon Trust Scotland, said: “The commitment to investment in their thermal energy plant has been visionary. Meanwhile, they continue to deliver through a range of energy management projects and practices across the business.”

Scottish Leather Group, for which export sales represent over 80% of its turnover, is comprised of four leather manufacturing subsidiaries, all located in the west of Scotland. The group consists of Andrew Muirhead and Son, Bridge of Weir Leather Company, W J and W Lang, and NCT Leather, with a support and services company, SLG Technology.

The Carbon Trust commented that the spread of energy saving objectives throughout the company’s 550 employees was a key factor in the win.

Dr. Warren Bowden, director at SLG Technology, said: “The world leather industry’s first Thermal Energy Plant opened at our Bridge of Weir site in 2010. It shows how we stand out as an innovator and is enabling us to produce leather sustainably and market our unique brand of low carbon leather to customers such as Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover.”

Fife Joinery Manufacturing was recognised by the judges for the installation of a biomass boiler and an intelligent chip extraction system. The company has reduced their carbon footprint by 57% in recent years and made a significant cost saving.

Glass manufacturer Ardagh was commended for the successful implementation of variable speed drives into various aspects of the production process was also recognised for its innovation within the glass containers industry.  This approach also has the potential to be developed on a wider scale, bringing with it substantial savings if and when it is replicated across the group’s international sites.