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Brandauer reduces its packaging emissions by 60% on its journey to Net Zero

“We were extremely happy with the work that was undertaken with Archit and the team at WMG, which opened our eyes to ways of reducing our carbon footprint in a cost-effective way. This has allowed us to further develop our front-end processes to change the way jobs are quoted, putting more emphasis on the impact process materials have on the environment.”

Adam Burgoyne, Operations Lead, Brandauer LtdLink opens in a new window

 Getting started on the pathway to Net Zero

There are many ways for a business to get onboard with the Net Zero mission. However, knowing where to start can be tricky. Precision stamping and tooling firm Brandauer Link opens in a new windowwere keen to understand how they could reduce emissions in their day-to-day activity but needed guidance. Through their existing partnership activity with WMG they heard about the Net Zero Innovation Network.

The Net Zero Innovation Network (NZIN) is a WMG initiative that brings together groups of SMEs with a larger manufacturing organisation and a member of the WMG SME group to work on Net Zero challenges. Brandauer were part of a cohort with other Midlands manufacturers Goodfish Group, Plastic Coatings Ltd, and Alucast Ltd. Swedish electric car manufacturer Polestar joined up to give the large business perspective in terms of their Net Zero mission and supply chain objectives.

After a series of collaborative workshops with expert speakers and a Net Zero Readiness Assessment to benchmark their current Net Zero position across the business, Brandauer decided that an area to target with a specific project was packaging.

Step 1: Identify emissions associated with packaging in the business

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have recently published guidance to encourage more responsible behaviour when it comes to packaging goods, and they have a database that can support manufacturers to work out their packaging emissions.

Brandauer were concerned by the amount of single-use packaging materials they were using for clients. They wanted to get a better understanding of the carbon footprint and costs of their packaging materials. Furthermore, they wanted to know where their emission hotspots were, and how they could tackle them.

With agreement from Brandauer, WMG's Archit TamboliLink opens in a new window mapped the packaging system for a major overseas client that was most typical of packaging systems across the business. It involved identifying the individual components and inventory that made up a packaging system and calculating the greenhouse gas emissions in terms of the CO2 equivalent (CO2e*) in kilograms per pallet. With this information Archit was then able to calculate this figure on an annual basis.

Step 2: Investigate and implement reusable packaging

To minimise the environmental impact of their packaging, Archit suggested that they could use reusable packaging instead of conventional pallets. He identified a range of suppliers in the Birmingham area and outlined the options, grades of materials and prices. The calculations revealed that Brandauer’s packaging emissions across the company could be reduced by 61% (equivalent to 9.5 tonnes of CO2) and costs by 15% by using reusable pallets.

As a result of Archit’s work, Brandauer have now incorporated the option for selecting reusable packaging in the quotation phase for customers. This has led to three new client jobs that exclusively use re-useable packaging in trays. It is likely that more clients will choose this option in the future leading to a reduction in costs and environmental impact.

Step 3: Refurbish your own old packaging to reduce emissions further.

Since the project has been completed, Brandauer are refurbishing nearly all the pallets they use internally with timber they store and are looking to roll this option out to customers. This option has the potential to save even more costs and emissions.

“The work we have done with Brandauer on their NET Zero journey so far has highlighted how small changes in the business can make a significant impact on the reduction of emissions and costs. As reusable packaging rolls out to more Brandauer clients, there is an opportunity to make an even bigger environmental impact.”

Archit Tamboli, Technology Transfer Engineer, WMG 

*CO2e is a metric measure that is used to compare emissions from various greenhouse gases based on their GWP (global warming potential) by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of CO2.

Read more about joining one of WMG's Net Zero Innovation Network cohorts hereLink opens in a new window

For more information on working with WMG, please email wmgsme at warwick dot ac dot uk

Fri 28 Apr 2023, 08:00 | Tags: SME SME-Net Zero Success Story