In this blog post Sales Director Chris Greenaway gives his comments on the impact businesses have on the environment and what Surrey Ceramics are doing to help combat this.
Environmental Responsibility and Carbon Footprint impact has never been more at the forefront of a company’s operation, but are we really doing enough or are we just ticking boxes?
Having been with the company for 45 years, and in sales for the past 25+, I have in the last 5 years seen a rapid rise in environmental compliance, as companies send paperwork into us regarding our materials used, sustainability and impact on the environment in which we live.
All this is indeed very good and right, but I do ask myself are many companies ticking boxes rather than really thinking about how they can actively reduce their environmental impact. For example, many are still buying from overseas – without even considering the pollution some of these countries pour into the environment in the first place. It is also now more expensive than ever to import goods from overseas. Why aren’t we striving to buy British? -Boosting the UK’s economy as well as reducing our carbon footprint?
In my time at Surrey Ceramics, I have seen a mix of clients – some who are passionate about this and some who are not, when you start looking further into their operations you can see which of those are taking the matter very seriously. A good example is The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst, they grow their own seasonal vegetables and what cannot be grown in their Kitchen Garden is sourced from within a 25-mile radius. Of course, this isn’t an option for everyone but as an industry we need to be conscious of the choices we are making to ensure we are doing our best to help the environment.
For our part Surrey Ceramics do our utmost to reduce our impact wherever we can, and wherever it is viable and possible for us to do so and within the financial bounds. All our supplies come from either the UK or Ireland.
Some of the changes we have implemented include Solar Panels on our factory roof- offsetting our electricity consumption. Over ten years ago the company fitted optimizers to our electricity supply and also on some of our machinery. Low voltage lighting was implemented into our offices and retail shop and a greater percentage of goods are being purchased from UK based manufacturers.
By making these changes we have even reduced other companies’ costs, Environmental Impact, Carbon Footprint and indeed waste related costs.
Three years ago, we changed all our packaging materials to 100% cardboard and paper. For internal packaging, we went one step further and began to use other companies waste cardboard. This led to us working with local companies who had to pay to have waste cardboard taken away – we take it, shred it, and use it to pack our boxes – thus saving them great cost and at the same time us, as well as we no longer purchase box infill.
The dream is that one day we might be able to utilize some of the heat from the kilns to use it effectively in some other way, the technology is not quite there yet as the heat is quite intense but I’m hopeful this may one day become a reality – until then we will continue to try and lessen our footprint and impact.