One of TEP Technica’s key objectives is to become Carbon Net Zero by 2030. To help us reach this goal we have already implemented significant changes to reduce our carbon emissions to their lowest possible level, with plans in the future to use carbon offsetting to cover that which we cannot remove while still operating our business effectively. This is what we have accomplished so far…
Carbon Net Zero Strategy
Firstly, designing and implementing a meaningful environmental strategy for our business which substantially reduces our greenhouse gas emissions was not without its challenges. It required from the outset a significant commitment of time, resources, and finance, but from our recent experience it brings with it many benefits beyond reducing our impact on the environment.
We separated our strategy into distinct areas, each accompanied by a well-defined action plan and clear-cut objectives. We hope this provides some valuable insights for other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to reduce their own carbon footprint within their respective organisations.
We identified many benefits of moving to solar energy. It is of course one of Earth’s few truly renewable energy sources, and therefore a great opportunity to substantially reduce carbon emissions. But there are other great benefits too, solar energy demands minimal internal warehouse space, and at the time of installation, costs were at their lowest. Given the escalating energy expenses and apprehensions regarding future availability, our investment in solar power has provided TEP Technica with substantial energy security and independence from the volatile energy market, all while significantly mitigating our environmental footprint.
For most businesses, there are other factors to consider before investing in solar energy, firstly, our warehouse is well situated with both a rear and side facing roof that receives excellent sunlight, and both sides are large enough to accommodate a lot of solar panels. Secondly, TEP Technica owns the warehouse, so we did not need to seek permission and we will benefit from any future value it may add to the warehouse. In addition to the panels, the system required an inverter installed on the outside of our unit plus an upgrade to our meter in order to benefit from selling our excess electricity back to the national grid.
We also had to get approval from our distribution network operator (DNO) before we could install the solar panels. As in our case, the DNO is most likely not your electricity supplier so do check before you start anything, especially as this took us many weeks to get formally approved.
We have been delighted with the end result and given the right circumstances we would highly recommend investing in solar energy for your business.
Benefits of Solar Energy:
- A truly renewable energy source
- Substantial reduction in our carbon emissions
- Reduced energy bills plus a return on the excess electricity we sell back to the national grid
- Silent and space saving, and relatively inexpensive to install with low maintenance costs
- Easy to use mobile app for monitoring inverter and solar panel performance
None of TEP Technica’s employees owned an electric car when we began to form our sustainibility strategy, but thinking ahead we knew this was likely to change very soon - so we decided to install two Zappi 22kW EV chargers at the same time as installing the solar panels. By installing EV chargers we are encouraging our staff and customers to move to electric vehicles while supporting the business that is helping to build the charge point infrastructure we need for the future.
The EV chargers serve a highly practical purpose, as we aimed to provide our employees and customers with the convenience of charging their electric vehicles while at our workplace or during their visits. Moreover, our support for environmentally-friendly business initiatives like this aligns seamlessly with our broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments. Our EV chargers are exclusively powered by the renewable energy generated by our solar panels.
Benefits of EV Charging:
- Potential to reduce our carbon emissions as we change to electric vehicles
- A great way to power all our vehicles through a truly renewable energy resource
- These chargers are specifically designed for use with a solar power installation
- A WCAS grant worth £700.00 towards the cost of installation
Recycling & Efficiency
TEP Technica was already ahead of the curve, with more than 90% of the materials used in our products being recyclable. Additionally, our primary manufacturers have long maintained a reputation for being leaders in energy and environmental efficiency within their respective markets. Nonetheless, we recognised several areas within our own operations where substantial enhancements could be made to further elevate our recycling practices and energy efficiency.
- We made the switch from a major fossil fuel energy provider to an exclusive 100% renewable energy supplier. While this decision did entail an increase in costs for our business, we believed the benefits outweighed the cost.
- In our warehouse and office, we replaced all of our old lighting with LED ceiling panels
- We switched our office consumables to sustainable alternatives.
- We invested in a shredder that transforms cardboard waste into a versatile and durable packaging and void fill material for reuse in our dispatch department - an excellent replacement for single-use plastic alternatives such as bubble wrap and air pockets.
- We added new waste bins to enable staff to easily separate their waste, which increased our recycling by over 75%.
- We changed our material waste supplier to one that offered us new options for recycling both our office and warehouse materials, especially waste cardboard, plastics, and paper.
- In addition we replaced all of our cardboard and paper packaging to FSC certified alternatives. This accreditation means that not only are they now 100% recyclable, but they are also responsibly sourced from sustainable forestry initiatives.
Reduction in Travel
Given that all our employees reside relatively close to our facility, our primary emphasis has been on diminishing the environmental footprint associated with our business-related travel. As most of our suppliers are located abroad and the majority of our customers are situated a considerable distance away from us, we opted to explore ways to minimise physical visits while simultaneously enhancing our engagement, collaboration, and relationship-building.
After consulting with our IT provider, we decided to invest in a state-of-the-art video conferencing system and a new leased internet line to cope with the extra bandwidth this required. While the initial outlay was significant, the level of investment really encouraged us to fully utilise this technology, and the quality of our presentations was reflected positively with our customers and suppliers.
Today, we have monthly team meetings with our international suppliers.
We now run all our training sessions online and encourage all our customers to meet with us virtually as our preferred option.
In addition, we can now have team meetings with staff when they are working from home.
Benefits of Virtual Meetings:
The significant reduction in road and air business travel has had a major impact on reducing our carbon emissions along with a huge decrease in related costs such as flights, car hire, and hotels.
The large initial outlay was quickly recovered from the ongoing reduction in travel expenditure.
Increased communication, especially with overseas clients and suppliers.
If setup correctly, it provides an excellent image of your business to clients.
More productive, no time wasted on travel, or last-minute cancellations, and far more engaging than telephone conversations.
From our experience, video meetings are a more productive use of the actual time allocated to each meeting.
Calculating our precise CO2 emissions proved to be a challenging task, as the available methods yielded unreliable results. Achieving a 100% reduction in emissions is an unattainable goal for most businesses. Consequently, carbon offsetting emerged as a highly effective solution to neutralize the residual emissions generated by our business. We firmly believe that through investments in energy-saving projects, particularly in developing nations, we can genuinely strive toward achieving carbon neutrality.
Carbon Neutral Shipping
Checking that any offsets you use are audited by The Voluntary Gold Standard (VGS) will go a long way to reassuring you as it is the global benchmark and is endorsed by more than 80 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the world including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
It insists that projects it supports must meet its rigorous standards, and this includes meeting a minimum of three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Using offsets certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) will also ensure that your investments have a genuine impact.