Cutting the Carbon Footprint – Mark Alderson

Transportation is a significant contributor to the carbon cost of products. Buying closer to home can help says, Mark Alderson

The need to reduce their carbon footprint, for both environmental and financial reasons, is being recognised and taken seriously by a growing number of businesses. The future and sustainability of manufacturing rely upon our ability and willingness to make decisions that reduce unnecessary waste, limit excess shipping distance and consider more than just the short term bottom line. Experts at The Carbon Trust use detailed analysis to determine a company’s carbon footprint. Emissions can be significantly reduced by up to 27% by simply purchasing products manufactured in the UK.

No going back

The UK government has set out ambitious targets and strict guidelines to reduce the carbon footprint created by the UK power sector. Between 2006 and 2017 emissions generated during the production of power were reduced by 55%. This was a direct result of a move towards renewable energy sources, with over 30% of all power now coming from this sector.

Using clean energy allows UK manufacturers to produce products with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. UK-made products not only benefit from cleaner energy sources but also gain from more efficient production facilities. With many of the most highly polluting manufacturing processes banned in the EU and with significant investments into low energy machinery, it is easy to limit the carbon footprint of UK made products.

Localised sourcing

A product’s carbon footprint significantly increases when subjected to excessive transport miles. In 2018, 28.9% of all greenhouse gases emitted were as a result of petroleum fuelled transport methods. It is clear to see where a significant volume of this is generated, with nine out of ten items being shipped halfway around the world on board some of the biggest and highest carbon-emitting machines on the planet.

It has been estimated that just one of these container ships, the length of around six football pitches, can produce the same amount of pollution as 50 million cars. The solution to reducing your carbon footprint is simple – buy locally! • All figures were accessed from The National Institute of Statistics, The Carbon Trust and British Plastic Federation websites on 21st July.

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