People regularly use the term “carbon footprint” to describe their individual impact on the environment, but the time has come to consider it in a wider context. A lot of damage is being done by industry. As the need to reduce energy consumption and waste becomes more urgent, think about the improvements you can introduce to considerably reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
An approach worth starting with is performing an audit to evaluate which areas your factory is performing best or worst in environmentally. Once you’ve assessed the situation, try to involve employees in reducing the carbon footprint. Set clear goals so people know what to aim for, and reward those who perform well. Financial incentives will generally push people to work their best. Regularly check back on the progress to make sure no one is slacking.
Not everyone works on the shop floor; don’t forget about those working in the admin, sales and other offices. They can get involved by actively recycling waste, using less paper and not leaving any appliances on standby overnight. Modernising refreshment facilities can also make a big difference. If you’re still providing disposable plastic or paper cups with your water cooler and coffee machine, switch to reusable equivalents. Make sure to provide clearly marked recycling boxes to motivate people to throw each item like milk bottles and drink cans in the correct receptacle.
When it comes to workshop areas, many production processes require the use of water, which is a scarce resource in some parts of the world. Is there a way you could reduce the amount of water used? A filter system can be fitted that cleans water to allow reuse.
Heating and lighting are important to employee safety among other factors. Environmentally, reducing the temperature by just one degree makes a big difference over the course of the year but doesn’t change much for an individual who will quickly adapt their body temperature and can grab an extra layer of clothing if necessary. Install a timer system that turns off heating at the end of the working day and switches it back on a few hours before employees arrive the next morning. Lighting can be improved by changing light bulbs to eco-friendly models and making sure all lights are turned off when people head home at the end of the day.
Emissions are a severe pollutant. Fit quality industrial air filters to protect dangerous substances flooding the air and harming the weakened atmosphere and ozone layer.
If your equipment and machinery is aged, it may no longer comply with modern environmental standards. Introduce a rolling replacement scheme to avoid having to spend a huge sum at one time. When replacing existing equipment, buying new or renting, make sure it’s designed in accordance with modern guidelines. Look out for labels certifying products as the most energy efficient and “green”. In Europe look out for the EU-wide Ecolabel, in Australia seek the starred Energy Rating label and in China the green HUAN label among others.
Consider the machinery you don’t often require too. In case of a power cut, for example, you may need to supply back up electricity. Always make sure the industrial generators you use are highly efficient and as green as possible.