In Woking, there are a number of businesses that have started their journey towards becoming more sustainable. Read about the changes they have made to find out how you could apply similar improvements to your business, for everyone's benefit.
Overview Ltd is based in Sheerwater. The company designs, develops and manufactures advanced intelligent drive solutions and specialist sensor pointing systems. Rather than just meet the requirements of ISO 14001 to demonstrate continual improvement on environmental policies and procedures, they decided to go one step further and commit the company to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Involving a huge amount of work, the process began in 2020, with identifying and assessing where the business created its carbon footprint, and then calculating its carbon equivalency numbers.
Some of the measures it has implemented since then include: choosing to import goods by sea rather than air wherever possible, and bringing in flexible working to encourage less travel into the office - and starting a cycle-to-work scheme for employees when they do. In addition, it has replaced old, inefficient gas burners in the factory with modern, more efficient heating systems, implemented LED lighting across its facilities, improved packaging materials and worked with its largest volume supplier to switch to pallets that can be reused and exchanged rather than thrown away.
Overview Ltd says: “We are determined to make a difference. Our plans currently focus on the cradle-to-gate processes – from initial supply to despatching to customers – and once we are happy with progress here, we will begin to extend our reach across the whole lifecycle of our products."
Dreaming Fish Productions
Dreaming Fish is a creative video agency producing video and animated content for a range of clients around the world. One of its company values is ‘we care’, so it decided to do something to reduce its emissions.
For starters, to offset any emissions produced as a result of its work, Dreaming Fish makes a monthly donation - as well as a one-off payment every time it signs a new client - to Tree Aid, which plants trees in Africa and also looks to create sustainable communities.
Dreaming Fish also made the climate commitment on the SME Climate Hub website, and calculated its emissions through the Normative carbon calculator portal, so it could track its progress to net zero. It discovered that 95% of its emissions were scope 3 – emissions produced by its supply chain. Although businesses can feel they have little control over how freelancers and other suppliers choose to act, Dreaming Fish has committed to influence this by amending its contracts and choosing companies and individuals that have greener credentials.
Dreaming Fish says: “We are still early in our journey but feel that achieving net zero as a business (scope 1 and 2) is possible by 2025, and we will aim to reduce our scope 3 emissions to zero by 2030. It is difficult, but it's certainly not as complicated as it may first seem, and by acting together we can all stop this crisis before it's too late.”
Ashtead Engineering is an engineering company based in West Byfleet, offering metal machining services, toolmaking, and injection moulding to a wide range of industries, including aerospace, defence, oil and gas, marine, and automotive.
Determined to reduce their carbon footprint, and having had a carbon footprint analysis done, Ashtead Engineering applied to LoCASE to replace 87 inefficient fluorescent lights with LED lighting. They received a £3,180.66 LoCASE grant towards the project.
This project saved 6.54tCO2e and, pre-energy prices increases, it was estimated they would save £2,749 per year on electricity.
Ashtead Engineering Director, Matt Parry, says: “Updating the lighting to LED has had a huge positive impact on the business. The quality of light has made work easier and lifted morale, and spurred us on to take an even bigger investment in a solar array. As owners of an SME with a relatively large energy usage, we now recognise the importance of ‘greening’ our operations in a commercially viable manner.”
The company has also recently invested in installing 261 solar panels to cover the roof of their factory in West Byfleet with the support of Community Solar Accelerator Grants.
The company began looking into renewable energy before the recent price hikes and also wanted to replace a leaking roof. They took the opportuinty to see if the business could benefit from installing solar panels at the same. Their calculations showed solar would be a cost-effective solution as well as being better for the environment.
This has translated into significant savings on thier energy bills, which is particularly important given the volatile energy markets.
The new solar panels have helped to identify areas where they can improve efficiency, such as replacing outdated equipment with more energy-efficient models or adjusting our production schedule to take advantage of peak solar output.
Read more about Ashtead's solar panels here.
Fishin Addict is a sole trader designing and creating their own fishing lure products for predatory fish such as trout, pike, perch, salmon, and seabass, as well as carp rigs and bait. The Fishin Addict product collection is designed to be high end and unique, delivering anglers multiple catches. The products are fabricated internationally, imported and then sold to customers worldwide via ecommerce sites and through their own website FISHINADDICT.COM. They collaborate with fishing professionals, support young angler events, and sell their products at fishing shows and exhibitions all over the UK.
The LoCASE project
Fishin Addict applied to LoCASE for part-funding of the purchase of a second-hand electric car to replace their diesel estate car which emitted high levels of pollution and COE2 (204g/km). The vehicle is essential to supporting the business, from daily runs to the post office to drop off e-commerce packages and visiting retailers to deliver replenishment stocks, through attendance to fishing exhibitions, shows and competitions, to product testing trips to lakes across the country. Fishin Addict received a £5,000 LoCASE grant towards the purchase of the second-hand MG 5 electric car.
The project will save 0.52t CO2e annually. The business will benefit from reduced vehicle running and servicing costs. This will assist with the continuing viability of the business, especially at a time when diesel fuel prices are rising very sharply and SMEs are facing the significant financial challenge of inflationary pressures in the wider economy. The electric vehicle also offers improved reliability reduced noise levels, and requires less servicing and maintenance compared to the older vehicle, thereby providing additional cost savings. The purchase of the EV is a high investment and would not have been possible without LoCASE. In addition to the improved CO2 emissions and helping to create a greener environment, following its purchase, the EV has provided a substantial saving of fuel cost.
“The team went the extra mile and were very supportive all the way through the process. I would recommend LoCASE to other companies.”
Liannah Howell – Fishin Addict owner