Aberdeen-based Grampian Fasteners has become the first business to achieve platinum level of the Resource Efficiency Pledge. The Pledge helps Scottish businesses demonstrate their commitment to using water, energy and raw materials more efficiently. Around 200 companies have signed up in the three years since it started.
In March 2017, Ann Doyle, Operation Manager for Grampian Fasteners, attended one of our Green Awareness workshops. Grampian Fasteners has been in business for 25 years and has 23 employees. It makes a range of fasteners, fixings and tools for the engineering, automative and construction industries.
Driven by a desire to improve the company’s environmental performance, Ann signed it up to the pledge. Starting at bronze level, the first step was to calculate the business’s baseline resource use – that is, its use of energy, water and raw materials.
“This was really important,” says Ann. “It gives us the benchmark information we need for measuring change as we progress. Without it, we wouldn’t know what we’re saving or how well we’re doing.”
The first big action was to install LED lights in the office and parts of the warehouse. Thanks to the benchmarking data, the company was able to identify a five per cent reduction in electricity use as a result.
Then the company really got going. While we suggest a year to tackle each level of the pledge, Grampian Fastener’s zipped through all four within nine months. Those technical minds are a formidable force when it comes to finding novel ways of reducing environmental impact.
The silver level pledge saw the business establish a green team, which it named the eco-squad. The eco-squad helped educate staff on environmental impact matters, and worked to develop an environmental policy. This all helped to get staff on board.
“While not everyone has been directly involved, everyone is aware of what’s going on. They know about the benchmarking activity and they’ve seen the changes happening. Everyone has been happy to assist, which has been great,” says Ann.
Going for gold, the company instigated more change. In a bid to take some cars off the road and encourage a healthy workforce, Grampian Fasteners encouraged employees to sign up to the cycle-to-work scheme. A bike rack was installed in the company’s warehouse for added incentive. Five employees have so far accepted the challenge to pedal when possible.
Recycling was a major part of the gold pledge. Grampian Fasteners pledged to increase recycling rates by at least five per cent. Installing recycling bins around the building and providing personal recycling bins at everybody’s desk helped to reduce landfill waste by a whopping 60 per cent and mixed waste by 20 per cent.
Throughout the pledge process, the eco-squad was meeting every month to brainstorm new ideas and discuss performance on the different resource saving measures. It didn’t take much discussion to decide to progress to platinum prestige.
This time the team focused on water and fuel use. Fitting a sensor to the men’s urinal to reduce the flush count cut water use from around 19m3 to 14m3. Out on the roads, the company reduced fuel use by 10 per cent each month over a period of three months. This was thanks to clever analysis of satnav driving stats, which helped determine optimal routes and avoid duplicate deliveries.
The final action was to hold suppliers up to the same high environmental standards. Staff started to visit all new suppliers to ensure they had reviewed their own environmental impact. Only companies that were compliant with at least ISO 9001 would be approved. Those with health and safety, and environmental, policies in place were preferred. ISO14001 compliant companies would go to top of the list. This vetting process prompted a switch of heating oil supplier to a company that promises to plant one new tree in Scotland for every order of oil over 1100 litres.
Grampian Fasteners’ commitment, fast pace and innovative thinking makes them more than worthy of platinum pledge status. Most importantly, this achievement doesn’t mark the end of the journey.
“We have the eco-squad in place now so we’re not going to stop,” says Ann. “They meet every month and are continually looking at ways to improve the environmental impact of the business. At the moment, they’re looking at stationery use and how to recycle electrical equipment.”
We hope their enthusiasm for finding solutions can inspire others to do the same. ‘The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible,’ said Arthur C. Clarke. Grampian Fasteners might just be pushing at those limits.
If you want to take action and commit to a low carbon economy for Scotland make your Resource Efficiency Pledge today.