Sustainable Manufacturing Symposium – Net Zero and Carbon Reduction

Posted on 22 Jun 2021 by Lois Mackenzie

At the 2021 virtual Sustainable Manufacturing Symposium attendees heard from a wide range of industry experts sharing tips and tricks on how to make your business more sustainable. Key topics included carbon reduction, reducing waste and employee engagement.

One such discussion panel on net zero and carbon reduction’, was no exception as attendees were given vital information on how to reduce waste in their business.

The panel discussion was hosted by Louise Reeves, Head of HSE for Accolade Wine, Tom Hollands, Innovation and Technical Director for Raynor Food, Nigel Davies, Director of Technical and Sustainability at Muntons, and Richard Hagan, Managing Director at Crystal Doors.

Reducing Carbon Footprint through Transportation

Discussion quickly kicked off with audience participation on the issue of transport. Panellists were asked how businesses can reduce their carbon footprint through transportation of their products. The top ideas discussed were:

  • Hydrogen
  • Making the items more sustainable for transport
  • Electric HGV

Firstly, hydrogen and electric heavy goods vehicles were discussed as these both provide for more eco-friendly vehicles to transport goods. With the benefits of electric cars already known to the world, utilising electric heavy goods vehicles for transportation is a route worth exploring when looking to reduce carbon footprint.

In hydrogen vehicles, power is generated by converting the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy, thus powering vehicles much more sustainably, and a considerable route when looking to reduce carbon footprint in transportation.

Finally, Louise touched on the concept of designing your product to become more sustainable to transport.

Sustainability _ Shutterstock


Challenges in your sustainability journey

When discussing the challenges a business may experience in the journey to becoming more sustainable, keeping people engaged was quickly addressed. When implementing new changes and technology it is important that all teams are involved and believe in the end goal. To do this, Tom suggested you must keep staff engaged, explaining the benefits and why the process must change.

Furthermore, approaching issues in new and unfamiliar ways can cause resistance and uncertainty. Tom further explained, in some circumstances new processes may make work quicker, which will in turn eliminate working hours which can cause upset and further resistance. So, by taking time to engage with and help teams understand the changes and to have open discussion on improvement will allow for your business to better work towards sustainability.

Is carbon reduction enough?

Panellists were questioned on what can be done beyond carbon footprint reduction and what advice they could give to businesses starting out. Reducing carbon was noted as a good starting point, and a good initiative to open eyes to other aspects of sustainability. By first looking at carbon and developing a carbon calculator, Nigel stated that it then became clear to Muntons the bigger effects of plastic use, water waste and other impacts to sustainability within the business.

Louise carried this idea, noting when looking at your plan to becoming more sustainable it’s about “challenging all of the different aspects of where you can go next” and having an eye in all areas of improvement rather than just one.

For further coverage of the 2021 Sustainable Manufacturing Symposium please see Sustainable Manufacturing Symposium Roundtable – Waste Elimination, Reduction and Recovery

Images Courtesy Shutterstock