With climate change concerns growing, the term energy efficiency has become a popular word for environmentalists, politicians and marketeers. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact energy use has on the environment. Following the outcome of COP26 and in line with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target, by 2023 the majority of large UK firms and financial institutions will have to set out detailed public plans for how they will move to a low-carbon future. The packaging and warehousing industry is now in a position where, to stay competitive, companies must cut their carbon footprint.
In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of customers who want us to help them with their green credentials. This often leads to the question – ‘what classes as sustainable?’ We believe that when a business wants to transition into a more circular economy, they should look deeper than the face-value of the packaging product materials. It all comes down to research and consideration. Whilst switching to alternative materials may appear more sustainable, they can sometimes lead to additional issues. This can include higher energy and water use and increased CO2 emissions in production and transport.
Many leading retailers and packaging organisations are turning to their supply chain to manage carbon and be more energy efficient. Depending on the type of packaging operation, every supply chain is different and a number of opportunities exist to reduce energy consumption and therefore reduce emissions. The first step is to understand the carbon footprint of your companies supply chain in the context of overall strategy and operations. It’s crucial to benchmark carbon emissions before reduction activities are introduced so that verifiable emissions reductions are measured and accounted for.
The second step is understanding the extent to which emissions are related to your specific needs, against those inherent in supply chain management. The third is to define your approach. This may include actions such as: reducing your carbon footprint through demand reductions and energy efficiency design, construction and operation and replacing conventional energy sources and materials with low or zero carbon alternatives.
At Southgate, our mission is to continue to develop and promote the idea of a circular economy – inspiring businesses on an international scale to embrace a global solution to sustainability and eliminating waste. Whilst we continue to focus on product innovation and the development of new, eco-friendly packaging alternatives, we look to the wider picture to ensure all our processes meet the full criteria of being sustainable, recyclable, reusable, biodegradable, and waste reductive.
View our Sustainability Brochure