Ensuring we limit any negative impact on the environment and protect the natural resources we rely on, creating long-term sustainability for the business.
We adopt technologies, materials and processes that ensure we minimise our impact on the environment and maximise our use of sustainable resources. Our environmental policy is available on our website.
The ESG Committee that we have established has responsibility for climate change and the climate change policy for the Group. It will oversee environmental reporting and initiatives to mitigate the Group’s impact upon the environment.
We have established an Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) Committee that coordinates the Group’s environmental, social and governance initiatives. It meets regularly and its terms of reference are available on the Company’s website. The ESG Committee comprises representatives from each Division and the Head Office and it regularly reports on ESG initiatives to the Board and is responsible for developing and implementing our ESG programme. Priorities for 2021 will be developing the Company’s environmental initiatives including responding to climate change and reporting on wider environmental matters.
Vitec's products and processes
We continue to implement initiatives aimed at sustaining and protecting the environment in the areas of energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, water use and waste; and sustainable use of materials, packaging and waste disposal. We also encourage a culture of environmentally sustainable behaviour at work and ensure that our employees understand how they can contribute.
Our products and services have a comparatively low impact on the environment. We use low hazard materials, minimise the use of resources during the manufacturing process and search for materials that are sustainable and can be recycled or re-used. Our efforts and environmental awareness have continued to evolve, not only to comply with regulations but also to make our business better and more sustainable.
The pandemic put a restriction on international travel but all facilities and locations were able to utilise their on-site conferencing facilities with virtual meetings held with internal and external parties. This is a practice the Company intends to continue with in the future to reduce the need for unnecessary air travel.
We have set ourselves the objective to be carbon neutral by 2050 and are starting a planned programme to deliver on this.
We monitor and track our usage of electricity, gas and water across our manufacturing, warehouse and administrative sites and make efforts, where possible, to reduce our usage.
Many buildings within the Group have timer and motion sensors for lighting to save on electricity usage. The majority of the Group’s sites already have or are working towards having LED lighting throughout, which will significantly cut our overall electricity usage. For example, in 2020 in Feltre, Italy, 220-240W neon lights were replaced with LED bulbs resulting in a 58,000kWh reduction and a cost saving of £11,000 per annum. The Feltre facility also installed new air compressors with an energy saving inverter system. Other buildings have programmable thermostats that are centrally managed to optimise heating and cooling needs.
Electricity at our Bury St Edmunds, UK, and Cartago, Costa Rica, facilities is supplied from renewable energy sources to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment. Due to the pandemic and resulting changes in working patterns and number of employees on site, there has been a significant reduction in energy use at these manufacturing sites.
The electricity contracts with Green Certificates at our two main sites in Italy were renewed in 2017 until 2021, confirming Vitec’s commitment to use energy generated by renewable sources. Sites in Italy, Bury St Edmunds and Costa Rica maintained their ISO 14001 compliance which were renewed in 2020.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Energy Usage
Our 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Scope 1 and 2) and Energy Usage compared to 2019 are set out below.
Emissions arising from on-site energy use and owned transport have been recorded at 22 of our sites in the 12 months ending 30 September 2020. We have selected these sites as they are the material operating sites for the Group, and included operations at Cassola and Feltre, Italy; Bury St Edmunds, UK; Cartago, Costa Rica; Irvine, USA; Ashby De La Zouch, UK; Stroud, UK; Ra’anana, Israel; Cary and Shelton, USA. These sites represent over 95% of Group revenue for 2020. Smaller sites have been excluded as their size and operations are comparatively immaterial for Greenhouse Gas or Energy usage reporting.
Reporting is based on the requirements for quoted companies introduced by The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Reporting) Regulations 2018 effective from 1 April 2019. In reporting our Greenhouse Gas Emissions we have followed the UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines issued in March 2019. Our operational carbon footprint is stated in tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2e) equivalent and covers Scope 1 and 2 emissions as described in the GHG Protocol – Corporate Standard (March 2004 revised edition). The financial control approach has been applied in our corporate GHG reporting. We have selected a reporting period of 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020 to enable data to be collated in time for inclusion in the Annual Report. The Intensity Ratio we have adopted is tonnes Total Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per £m of Group revenue.
Scope 1 Emissions (direct emissions from our own operations e.g. fuel combustion) are converted to CO2e figures using conversion factors published by BEIS/DEFRA in June 2020. These factors are also used for converting UK and global data into kWh.
Scope 2 Emissions (indirect emissions generated from purchased electricity) are calculated based on the “location” method outlined in the GHG Protocol. For all UK facilities we use the BEIS/DEFRA 2020 conversion factors. For all non-USA facilities we use national carbon conversion factors for grid purchased electricity from a variety of published sources; including national grid suppliers and Government agencies. For USA sources we use the latest regional intensity factors available from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGrid).
The following table sets out the emissions for 2020 compared with 2019. Carbon emissions relating to diesel transport were understated in 2019. The table below shows the corrected Scope 1 figure and corresponding revised total.
GHG Scope 1 & 2 Emissions
|Global Total (excluding UK)||2,905||4,005|
|UK Proportion of Total||17.8%||18.1%|
|Total Scope 1 + 2 Intensity||10||10.64|
|Global Total (excluding UK)||10,860,347||15,432,224|
|UK Proportion of Total||21.1%||16.8%|
The pandemic has understandably led to reduced carbon emissions for the period March 2020 to September 2020. Electricity consumption has been reduced due to safe working practices introduced at our facilities to deal with the pandemic, including fewer employees working in our facilities and some facilities being closed for a period of time with many staff working from home. Travel restrictions meant significantly fewer journeys were made in terms of visiting customers, suppliers and distributors during the pandemic. It is reasonable to expect that as the pandemic subsides and normal working practices begin to return that carbon emissions will increase. The Group’s response to the pandemic including the safety and wellbeing of its employees and the financial security of the Group has been the priority in 2020. We recognise however that our focus will shift over the next year or two to ensure that the Group works towards dealing with its impact upon the environment and climate change.
During 2021, we plan to capture the Group’s water usage, waste and recycling initiatives at all our sites, as well as use of packaging, to report on the amount of business-related travel, including flights, and to report on this in a similar manner to Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Energy usage.
Various initiatives around the Group took place in 2020 to build on our work to reduce the amount of waste created in our operations. At our Production Solutions site in the US, Call2Recycle recycles batteries for the site as well as for existing Vitec customers. Tradebe in the US recycles electronic waste from the Shelton site. Waste metals at our Bury St Edmunds site are sorted and recycled with a return on revenue. We sort waste for recycling at our manufacturing sites in Italy, the UK, the US and Costa Rica using colour coded bins to improve segregation.
The Imaging Solutions Division launched the Safe & Green Project which aims to reduce plastic use within the Division through a few small but significant actions. All employees were provided with reusable stainless steel water bottles to eradicate the need for plastic water bottles. Still or sparkling water is available from dispensers in all break areas. Disposable plastic coffee cups were replaced with tetra pack ones and all stirrers are now wooden. With this initiative the Division estimates that they will eliminate 1,500kg of plastic waste per year from their Italian sites alone. The aim of this initiative is also to encourage employees to start adopting sustainable behaviours in their everyday lives.
The printers at our Italian facilities are automatically programmed to print in black and white and double-sided to reduce costs, waste and emissions.
Going forward, we will have a greater focus on product sustainability. For example our Imaging Division has made sustainability a pivotal part of future product development, which includes making extensive use of recycled packaging and textiles.
The Production Solutions Division has adopted DocuSign to reduce its impact on the environment by enabling employees to electronically sign documents reducing the need for printing. DocuSign also helps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by avoiding the handling of paper and pens. The Division also reuses packaging boxes and bubble wrap to ship between sites to reduce waste generated.
Our Bury St Edmunds, UK, and Cartago, Costa Rica, sites are both certificated to ISO14001 environmental management systems. The Management system audit helps in building a framework to manage environmental impacts and assist in meeting legal compliance.
In our Creative Solutions Ra’anana office in Israel, colleagues have embraced a Green Revolution, whereby they aim to stop using disposable tools in order to reduce unnecessary waste.
None of the Group’s businesses were subject to any environmental fines in 2020.