7 ways to reduce your operation’s carbon footprint
We live in a world marked by continuous change. One constant we have seen over the last few years, however, is a focus on sustainability. Many consumers are making changes to their daily routines and purchasing decisions. But of course, the biggest shift will only happen when companies across all industries make the same transition. And as customers and employees demand more sustainable ways of doing business, more and more organizations are looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
But where do you start, as an organization?
Half the battle is defining the changes that will make the most impact for your business. And that means carrying out a company-wide assessment before you can take the first tangible steps. Which is why we’ve compiled 7 tips for you below, so you can get a better picture of how transforming your processes, choosing new providers and/or implementing new policies could make the difference for your operations’ ecological footprint.
1. Optimize your utilities
Where to start?
We all know the example: replacing an old fridge is often the most sustainable choice in the long run, despite the footprint of producing a new one. When calculating your ecological footprint, you have to weigh up the resources needed to produce a new machine against the excess energy consumption of the old one. This is even more valid for production sites where fixed machines are the biggest consumers of energy.
So if you want to optimize your machine efficiency, start with an assessment of your biggest energy consumers, since that’s where the biggest gains are to be found.
Lowering your operation's energy costs
Overall, we see that energy costs make up 30% of a facility’s operating budget. Apart from assessing the machines that consume the most energy, there are some other small steps that can make a big difference. It might be a good idea to look into reducing the temperature in your refrigeration room, for example. In fact, for production facilities in the food and beverage industry, industrial refrigeration systems can often account for up to 60% of your total energy spend.
What about your own operations? How big a chunk of your opex goes towards paying the energy bill?
2. Remember the four Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
Think before you buy is probably the best way to limit your impact as an individual. The same applies, however, to an industrial context.
If you are unlikely to use a machine frequently due to fluctuating demand, does it really make sense to buy it? Maybe renting is a better solution. Not just for your carbon footprint but also your bottom line.
If you absolutely need to perform a certain operation in-house, analyze each step and identify bottlenecks where you can reduce waste.
3. Go electric, whenever possible
Electric equipment typically has a much lower carbon footprint than the equivalent machine powered by fossil fuels such as diesel. Which means that switching to electric machines is an ideal way to limit your carbon emissions when grid power is available. And as an added bonus, you’ll also be reducing both air and noise pollution on site.
Going electric also has other benefits. In general, electric equipment is cheaper to maintain. Making it good for your finances and good for society.
It has been estimated that almost 50% of the fuel used in industrial operations could be replaced by electricity. So assessing the possibilities for going electric can be a good step towards more efficient and more sustainable operations.