Jaguar Land Rover speed toward energy reductions

The super car and off road vehicle market has not been known for its sustainability in the past but all that is beginning to change.

Fran Leedham head of environment and sustainability for Jaguar Land Rover

Fran Leedham head of environment and sustainability for Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover, a name long associated with high end and high performance vehicles, is now aiming to become known for a green that has nothing to do with British racing.

The company is certainly saying the right things bringing 'Environmental Innovation' in as one of its three core aims.

The other two are 'Creating Outstanding Experiences for our Customers' and 'Delivering Great Products'.

And according to head of environment and sustainability, Fran Leedham, it is not just slogans as Jaguar Land Rover is really getting serious about energy reduction and sustainability.

The business is putting its money where its corporate messages are by setting aside £9 million for this fiscal year for energy efficiency drives alone.

"From an operating point of view that's a lot of money for us to set aside solely for an energy efficiency drive," explained Fran.

"Of course our engineers would always ask for more, but it's also about engaging with the staff.

"We've had more than 10,000 of them come through our environmental workshops and take that knowledge back to their colleagues."

Fran, who has been with the company for a decade, admits the green agenda for Jaguar Land Rover has been a 'tricky' path, but it is one that is coming together.

The company has set firm targets for energy reduction and sustainability and set them for 2012, not the 2020 or even 2050 targets favoured by many other large-scale manufacturers.

It aims to, by next year, reduce its operating CO2 emissions by 25%, cut waste to landfill by 25% and reduce water consumption by 20%.

Fran, who has a degree in chemistry and a MSc in sustainability from Imperial College, continues: "In an ideal world I would want to make a closed loop production line, but at that moment that isn't possible.

"I think it is possible in the near future to send no waste to landfill and we're working towards that, but it's also about looking at our supply route.

"It's increasingly important for security of supply as we source from all over the world and, I believe, there needs to be more regulation consideration on natural resources putting more emphasis on their value."

Resources like water are likely to come under pressure and while Jaguar Land Rover is not as reliant on water as other manufactures it needs to watch resources.

"If I could bring in one law it would be to value our natural resources, so that they are protected from unsustainable use.

"We've got support from the top down and this means I'm always looking at our overall sustainability strategy and constantly adapting it.

"We are looking at how we can best refurbish our sites with green technology and, of course, working on the sustainability of our new builds.

"This means taking into account positioning, renewable energy opportunities and initiatives like travel plans, and also the potential for rail links.

"And we try to site these builds near to rail links so we can encourage more public transport use throughout the company."

Fran also feels the business was not given the guidance it needed which led to confusion about the CRC.

"It's really disappointing the CRC, there was a real lack of guidance from the start for businesses like ours in the run up to the launch and then again around the changes.

"For instance there was some confusion over the definition of 'franchise' and at one point it looked like we could have responsibility for our dealerships which would have bought us into the league table.

"All our dealers are franchise and we have no say on how they manage their energy use, but fortunately there was clarification, and they are not within our CRC scope.

"When you take into account our dealerships, which are all franchised and run independently, we come into the league table.

"But, we don't have a say on how those dealerships are run, so we really could have used more guidance on that front."

Jaguar Land Rover is, like all its competitors, looking at the electric and hybrid markets for the future, but Fran feels hydrogen could be the way forward for the industry.

Fran highlights the concept car the Jaguar CX-75 which, at the time of writing, is not intended for production.

The car has received wide-spread industry interest as it can achieve speeds of 200mph in only three seconds.

But, it is virtually unique in the industry as it has two jet turbines, which in turn power electric motors, making it an extended range and a bit more super car.

"As a business we've got to be aware of how the industry is changing and offering our customers greener products.

"We're always looking at our products and its life-cycle and in the future I see hydrogen, if it can be done safely on a production scale, as the obvious way forward for the automotive industry.

"But, the next ten years will be really interesting time and I expect speed of change to be so much faster than the decade we've just had."

Luke Walsh


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