On-site solutions will help manufacturers weather energy-price storm, says EEF
EXCLUSIVE: On-site solutions such as rooftop solar panels and anaerobic digestion (AD) will be vital tools for businesses looking to secure future energy supply and lower energy bills.
That’s the view of James Wyse, who has just been appointed to the newly-created role of National Sustainability Lead at the manufacturer’s organisation, EEF.
Speaking to edie about fluctuating energy prices – one of the main risks now faced by manufacturers – Wyse said: “Business have been doing energy efficiency for the past 10 years and there’s only so far you can go before you have to start looking elsewhere.
“Those other aspects will potentially have to be on-site renewables, and taking advantage of your waste stream. You can get a lot of energy from waste streams through things like AD. Onshore wind is still a question with the government policy, but certainly with AD and other onsite renewables, that’s an area that business will have to look at.”
Citing Ikea’s recent investments in rooftop solar and wind farms, Wyse said that on-site solutions offer a ‘triple win’ of lower energy bills, increased energy security and lower waste disposal costs. However, Wyse did point out that these types of projects required big capital investments and would likely need approval from the highest level of companies.
“That’s one of our biggest goals”, he said. “Getting through to these high-level executives and telling them: If you want to be here in five or 10 years’ time, it isn’t about making incremental savings on energy, or diverting waste from landfill, it’s about doing something fundamental with your business strategy; looking at where you get your energy from and how you can reduce your reliance on vulnerable supply chains.”
Wyse’s new role at EEF forms part of the organisation’s realignment of its environmental sustainability service, which supports manufacturers’ green efforts. Wyse will be heavily involved on the practical side of environmental policy, educating manufacturers about how green policies will affect them and how best to comply with edicts like ESOS.
Wyse said one of his early priorities is repositioning environmental issues as a strategic problem for manufacturers rather than an operational one.
“Having an environmental policy isn’t just about having ISO 14001,” he said. “It’s about having a strategy for where you’re going in the next five to 10 years, what the risks could be and what the impact is going to be on your business, on your customers and your suppliers.
“Ultimately, we’re here to make sure that British manufacturers are still here in 10-15 years’ time.”
On-site solutions at edie 2016
On-site solutions will be one of four key themes at edie 2016 (formerly known as Sustainability Live), with an entire half day of the sustainability show dedicated to the implementation of plans to develop a range of solutions for your business.
edie 2016 will take place on 17-18 May in at the NEC in Birmingham. Click here for the initial details, with more information following soon on edie.