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Ford and Virgin celebrate sustainability success

Ford and Virgin celebrate sustainability success

Ford and Virgin celebrate sustainability success

Even the smallest businesses can do their bit to enhance sustainability and protect the environment - by working with eco-friendly service suppliers, encouraging practices like car sharing and cutting down on waste in the workplace, for instance.

For some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the journey to becoming more energy efficient will start with having a positive, ambitious outlook and following in the footsteps of some of their larger counterparts in the business world.

Two of the biggest consumer brands in the UK - Ford and Virgin Media - have recently shown what can be achieved with dedicated sustainability projects, setting an encouraging example for smaller firms.

Virgin Media slashes carbon footprint with fewer truck journeys

Any business that is heavily reliant on road transportation and logistics could learn from Virgin Media's recent efforts to reduce truck journeys.

The broadband, TV and phone provider cut truck journeys by more than 800,000 last year, which equates to over 2.3 million miles. It achieved this through better route planning, improved fault diagnosis and increased use of technology that allows customers to self-install their services.

Other energy efficiency projects helped the company to continue growing while reducing its carbon footprint by 6.1 per cent in 2015, which was one of its key goals for the year.

Virgin Media also set itself the objectives of increasing workforce diversity, supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs through digital technology, improving the sustainability performance of new products and helping disadvantaged people through collaboration with the charity Scope.

Brigitte Trafford, the company's chief corporate affairs officer, said: "In the past year, we've lowered our carbon footprint, supported small businesses and entrepreneurs, increased the number of women in senior roles and transformed the lives of disabled people with Scope. With our 'five in five' goals we're now focused on doing more good with digital."

Ford focuses on water and energy consumption

One of the focal points of Ford's recent energy efficiency efforts has been the Dagenham Diesel Centre, the car manufacturer's largest diesel engine production facility.

The company has installed a state-of-the-art production line for the new two-litre EcoBlue engine, which is hoped to cut water and energy consumption by 50 per cent for every engine made, compared with the previous 1.8-litre TDCi diesel production line.

With water use per engine among the lowest at any Ford manufacturing plant in the world, the Dagenham factory is expected to deliver water savings of 17.5 million litres per year, compared with 2011 figures. That's the equivalent of seven Olympic-size swimming pools.

The company is also taking steps such as installing new LED lighting, which is set to save enough energy to power 7,500 houses for a week.

Linda Cash, vice president of manufacturing for Ford of Europe, said: "Ford is using the latest technologies to ensure our all-new EcoBlue diesel engine production meets the highest standards for sustainability and makes a significant contribution to our global environmental targets."

While the particular processes and the scale of energy reduction achieved by these companies might seem alien to smaller businesses, the positive outlook and determination shown could prove inspirational.

 

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/NicoElNino