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How is Manufacturing Tackling Sustainability?

29th January 2021
After carrying out polls to gauge the thinking of manufacturing professionals, we looked at the future of sustainability in the sector. We ascertained that sustainability looks set to go hand-in-hand with industry development, particularly in areas such as COVID-19 recovery and digitisation.

Tracking the sustainability activities of our clients offered a revealing snapshot. In this blog, we focus on four excellent IES client initiatives, asking how they align with the wider sustainability movement within manufacturing.

Infineon’s sustainability program Infineon

In manufacturing, making single changes to individual production processes can have a significant impact on sustainability. But those manufacturers considered to be sustainability leaders have endeavoured to make changes across their organisation. Everything from business ethics to emissions and supply chain management is an area with room for improvement. And few manufacturers demonstrate this determination to make their entire business model more sustainable better than Infineon, the semiconductor solutions provider.

Infineon, who have been an IES client for over ten years, were ranked in the ten per cent most sustainable companies in the world in 2020 by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. They achieved this through a wide-ranging sustainability program, led by a drive to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. The company has put steps in place to slash its emissions significantly by 2025, aiming to achieve a 70 per cent reduction on 2019’s levels. 

But it isn’t just emissions that Infineon is tackling in the sustainability stakes. Its Infineon Integrated Management Program for Environment, Energy, Safety, and Health is meeting sustainability targets in areas such as water management, energy, greenhouse gas emissions and waste management.

Sven Schneider, Infineon’s Chief Financial Officer, explains: “Forward-looking management, acting in an environmentally-friendly manner and social commitment are indispensable prerequisites for the resilience of Infineon and our long-term success.”

Newport Wafer Fab’s green manufacturing studies Newport

Some manufacturers are accustomed to taking the lead. Newport Wafer Fab was one of the first semiconductor companies to operate in the UK and is a founding member of the SE Wales Compound Semiconductor Cluster. This group, the first compound semiconductor cluster in the world, offers the environmental benefits which come with a whole supply chain sharing the same location.

NWF has been very proactive in seeking new ways to produce low carbon technologies. Its studies into green manufacturing won funding from the non-profit Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APCUK), which has already invested £17 million into feasibility studies. According to the APCUK, its Automotive Transformation Fund “will support commercially led research and development of manufacturing and product scale-up for a future automotive supply chain”.

Make no mistake, projects such as NWF’s– which includes an assessment of the viability of a production scale-up of 200mm wafer manufacture for Silicon Carbide and GaN on Silicon – can be crucial to the UK government’s ambitions to reach its Net Zero carbon neutrality target by the year 2050.

Rapiscan Systems’ waste battery exchangeRapsican systems

Rapiscan Systems is a leader in security screening solutions, partnering government agencies and private security companies around the world to meet their threat detection needs. The organisation is fighting the battle to achieve sustainability on multiple fronts, reducing its carbon emissions and waste while prioritising the use of local and sustainable materials.

Any customers who have waste industrial batteries which have been produced and supplied by Rapiscan Systems are able to hand them back to the company. Rapiscan Systems then ensures that these batteries are treated in line with the government’s Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, which cover waste battery collection, treatment, recycling and disposal.

This policy is designed to help protect the environment by ensuring the collection and recycling of batteries and accumulators. It also prohibits batteries and accumulators from being incinerated, which causes air pollution, and dumping in landfill sites, where they can leak, decay, and potentially contaminate groundwater.

Catalent’s high visibility initiatives

CatalentCatalent is a life science solutions provider that exemplifies today’s environmentally conscious manufacturer. IES has been working with the company, which provides manufacturing solutions for pharmaceuticals and biologics products, for over 15 years.

The organisation has ticked sustainability boxes such as; CO2 emission reduction, achieving a 15 per cent decrease at its manufacturing sites over a five-year cycle; hazardous and non-hazardous waste generation reduction; and responsible management of wastewater which includes active pharmaceutical ingredients from its operations.

But Catalent also places a large emphasis on what we can label ‘grassroots sustainability’. It forms ‘green teams’ consisting of Catalent employees to participate in community clean-ups at natural sites such as beaches local to its HQ. This high visibility strand of sustainability activities has the ability to communicate important values, and shows to the wider population that the manufacturing sector is playing its part.

Those are just some of the sustainability initiatives which IES clients are currently working on.

To read about other standout sustainability leaders in manufacturing, the industry’s plans for a green recovery from COVID-19, and sustainability funding opportunities available to manufacturers, download the full IES Sustainability Report

Download sustainability report