The case for a CO2 neutral company
Smart solutions to reduce your and our carbon footprint
From Apple and Microsoft to IKEA and Unilever. The largest companies in the world are going ‘carbon neutral’. These four businesses, and many more, aim to remove as much CO2 from the atmosphere as they emit by 2030. It is indicative of an increasing awareness that urgent action is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. IGS GeboJagema has been CO2 neutral since 2019. Nonetheless, we feel we still have plenty of work to do. In this article, we want to share our path to becoming a ‘greener’ and truly future-proof company. Where are we now and how are we working to further reduce our impact? And how can we use technical solutions such as ‘mixed reality’ glasses to minimise CO2-emissions?
Deciding to become CO2 neutral
There are many reasons to go carbon neutral. Of course, the overarching reason is climate change. Without going into detail, the effects of the planet warming more than 2 degrees Celsius would be ruinous. In Europe, businesses account for 88% of all CO2 emissions and accordingly, we believe companies need to take responsibility to reduce and offset their carbon footprint to the best of their ability.
But, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, even companies that are less concerned with the effects of climate change would be wise to make plans to reduce their carbon footprint. An organisation’s attitude and actions related to sustainability have a profound effect on public perception, by suppliers, customers and employees. Companies that fail to move towards carbon neutrality will have a more and more difficult time to recruit top talent and attract new customers. Case in point: several clients have audited IGS GeboJagema through the Ecovadis sustainability assessment. By becoming a more sustainable company, we have been able to support our clients as they move towards a measurably and certifiably green supply chain.
Secondly, the world is moving towards stricter CO2 laws and regulations such as a carbon tax. From this perspective, reducing carbon emissions today is nothing more than preparing for upcoming legislation. In short, we believe that any serious plan for the future should include a plan to minimise CO2 emissions.
While IGS GeboJagema is CO2 neutral, that does not mean we do not emit any CO2. It means that we are taking steps to reduce our emissions as much as possible while offsetting our current carbon footprint. There are many ways to compensate carbon emissions. Like all companies owned by Nordian Capital, our majority stakeholder, IGS works with Land Life Company, which in our view is the fairest and most impactful way to offset emissions. Land Life grows forests in plots of degraded land all over the world: from Europe to Africa, and from Australia to North-America. In addition to capturing CO2 from the air, their reforestation efforts positively impact local communities by stimulating their economies, measurably decreasing the temperature, and restoring flora and fauna. You can find out more about Land Life Company here.
Steps towards minimal emissions
Of course, CO2 compensation is not a long-term solution. Reforestation can delay the harmful effects of climate change, but in the meantime we need to change the way we work. We need a plan to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible. We have taken many of the perhaps common-sense, but important measures. We switched to LED lighting with motion sensors to avoid unnecessary energy consumption. Our lease vehicles will all be electric going forward. And, as the rest of the world, since the pandemic we have started to work from home more and more.
As for our energy supply, initially we wanted to generate our own energy as much as possible by placing solar panels on our roof. Unfortunately, after investigating this option, it turned out not to be possible due to factors outside of our control. Instead, we are compensating our energy usage through Land Life and are making plans to move to a truly green energy supply in the future. Moreover, energy efficiency in our factory is high, because we constantly invest in state-of-the-art machinery. To illustrate this: despite the significant expansion of our factory and a drastic increase in output over the past ten years, our energy consumption in 2020 is at the same level as it was in 2010.
Technology instead of travel
It is well known that flying has a large impact on our carbon footprint, but the numbers are still surprising. At IGS GeboJagema, air travel accounted for 51% of our travel-related emissions in 2019. Clearly, flying less is a very effective way to reduce carbon emissions. Last year, the pandemic has proven to the world that many in-person meetings can be conducted online. In fact, it saves hours of travel time. Of course, some in-person meetings are harder to replace with a standard video call, such as validation meetings or technical after sales support. We have been working on several smart technical solutions to move these meetings online as well, whenever it is convenient for our clients.
Virtual factory tour
We are proud of our state-of-the-art factory in Eindhoven, and we love giving prospective clients a tour of our premises. Soon, we will start offering a virtual tour of our headquarters. Through high-quality, 360-degree images, the virtual tour allows us to show clients every part of our factory: our hyper-modern measuring tools, our newly expanded validation centre, and our renovated offices.
Mixed reality support
With all our moulds, we provide assistance on-site whenever necessary, such as during the site acceptance test or as part of our after sales service. To make it faster and easier to assist when they need some help, we will soon start offering support through a Microsoft HoloLens 2. This ‘mixed reality’ device allows us to view our mould through the eyes of our customer’s operator and provide real-time instructions using augmented reality. We are currently testing this, and we will be sharing more details soon!
Solutions like these save travel time, make it more convenient to work with us, and reduce CO2 emissions, both for us and our clients. Naturally, these online meetings will not replace all in-person meetings and you are always welcome to visit our factory.
Last year, we introduced remote validation. Remote validation makes it possible to join us in the workshop from wherever you are in the world through a high-quality video stream and several smart technical solutions. Of course, a big reason to start offering this service, was to speed up the validation process for our customers. But it is also a great way to reduce CO2 emissions.
Towards a more sustainable future
Becoming a future-proof company goes beyond being carbon neutral. Our ambition is to reduce our CO2 emissions wherever we can and there are definitely more avenues to explore. For example, we are in talks with a university to start a research project on how injection moulding could become more energy efficient.
On our journey, we noticed that becoming a more sustainable company is easier than we thought. Once you start investigating the options, many solutions present themselves. Solutions that not only make your business more sustainable, but improve it in many other ways too.
Hopefully, we have given you some insight into our thinking on sustainability at IGS GeboJagema. If you have any thoughts on how we can work together to reduce our carbon footprint, we would love to hear from you.
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I’d love to hear more about your plans to see how IGS can assist. Even if your project is in the earliest stages, we are more than happy to share our expertise, so don’t hesitate to reach out.