Sustainability is a word on everyone's lips at the moment. Climate change, plastic waste, carbon footprint – are conversations taking place in our personal and professional lives. Whilst the environmental benefits of "going green" are self-explanatory, sometimes we lose sight of the business benefits in manufacturing.
Sustainable manufacture is the creation of products using processes that reduce negative impacts on the environment. Regardless of size or industry, there are short and long-term financial benefits to all companies who fully commit to integrating sustainable processes into their operation. In fact, to manufacture sustainably is an extension of the LEAN concept. However, the benefits go far beyond the cost savings achieved from waste reduction. Green companies benefit from increased brand reputation, long-term business viability, reduced operation costs and improved competitiveness. There is no checklist for sustainable manufacturing, it needs to be embedded into the operational and cultural processes of an organisation. That said, there are some obvious small steps that any business can implement to work towards being more sustainable.
The list continues…
As a global supplier of industrial gas, Air Products is working on multiple sustainability projects. Grow, Conserve and Care is an ethos that is embedded across the entire organisation. Significant effort is taken to consider operational changes that will significantly benefit the company, its customers and the environment. As Albert Einstein once said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them."
In 2019 Air Products announced a partnership with Ørsted, a global leader in offshore wind power. Ørsted supplies renewable electricity to all the Air Products production sites in the UK. Simon Earnshaw, Air Products' Director of Industrial Gases Production & Supply Chain, Europe and Africa, said: "This is a positive step forward for our business. Being able to access and buy renewable electricity supplies direct from a certified provider is significant progress towards improving our merchant operations sustainability. We're pleased to be working with Ørsted, a company which shares our values and is passionate about enabling a sustainable future."
However, the work does not stop there, Air Products, also understands that the root causes of energy consumption need to be tackled. Therefore, the organisation is working with UK manufacturing businesses to reduce welding gas consumption by supplying products, such as the Integra® e2 cylinder with integrated gas saving features and services, such as Gastrak®, that optimise welding gas flow rate and minimise gas waste. The net result is that customers achieve high quality welds using only the gas they need. In total, less gas is produced, packaged, shipped and used, creating financial, productivity, quality and environmental improvements all along the supply chain.
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