- Samsung Electronics UK
When Samsung set out to address a range of environmental challenges in its LED TVs, its aim was to create 'a green product that is truly desirable'. Sleek looks and outstanding picture quality could not be compromised in the name of eco-credentials.
The company's philosophy is to consider all stages of the lifecycle of the product and identify areas where environmental benefits can be achieved. These typically include reducing raw materials used in manufacturing, lowering transport emissions, designing for lower energy use, reducing hazardous substances and improving recyclability.
Between 2008 and 2009, Samsung reduced the number of parts in a comparable LED TV by 42%, also reducing the weight and volume significantly; this had the side benefit of achieving a 17% reduction in CO2 emissions from shipping the product. The company also deployed a number of technologies to reduce power consumption significantly, both while the TV was in use and in standby mode. Some 94% of the parts in Samsung's LED TVs are now recyclable.
In 2007 the 225-year-old Yorkshire textile company Hainsworth employed a marketing student to look for new products that might be worth venturing into. The result of that exercise was the invention of the woollen coffin and a new business for Hainsworth, called Natural Legacy. Launched in the UK in 2009, the woollen coffin has been patented and is now available in the US, Europe and Australia.
Hainsworth's coffin meets a growing demand for green funerals - surveys show 80% of consumers said they would prefer a green funeral if they had the choice. The coffin is made from a combination of pure new wool and organic cotton, supported by a recycled cardboard frame, and is fully biodegradable and comes from sustainable sources. Functionally, the woollen coffin performs just as well as wood. Hainsworth has also introduced a range of caskets for ashes.
The innovation has a further environmental benefit - it provides support for British sheep farmers, who have had to contend with a long-term decline in the price paid for their wool. Each coffin uses three fine down fleeces, and Natural Legacy forms part of the Wool Project, an international initiative to promote wool's sustainable features and safeguard the livelihoods of sheep farmers.
GREEN BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES
- Queen Margaret University
Queen Margaret University broke new ground in embedding sustainability within the buildings of an academic institution when it moved to its new site in 2007 - the first new university campus to have been built in Scotland for 40 years.
In planning the new campus, the university embraced a broadly based notion of sustainability including social, economic and community interests as well as the environment. In QMU's organisational structure those responsible for education and research work alongside those responsible for the physical environment.
The site's low carbon footprint - 38% lower than the previous estate - was achieved largely through a combination of passive design by using the thermal mass of exposed concrete, and a £1.1m biomass heat plant installation. High levels of insulation, controlled lighting and an IT network using low-energy thin client terminals all made a contribution.
The QMU campus also scores highly on ecological grounds; biodiversity has been encouraged through inclusion of wetland, woodland, hedgerow and meadow habitats.
Each of the new campus buildings has received a BREEAM excellent rating and the academic complex has one of the highest ratings of any university building in the UK. With stretching targets for further carbon reductions, the campus is set to get greener still.
GREEN CHAMPIONS (EMPLOYEES)
- May Gurney Integrated Services
May Gurney provides a variety of support and maintenance services to the public sector and regulated utilities, ranging from looking after street lights to maintaining tunnels, embankments and viaducts on the railways. It is committed to cutting the organisation's carbon emissions by 50% by 2012 and becoming carbon neutral by 2014.
One of May Gurney's most innovative ideas is an eco-driving programme called SLIM - short for 'speed', 'litres', 'idling' and 'miles'. All 5,000 employees, even those who don't drive as part of their job, have received SLIM training, which seeks to inculcate more fuel-efficient ways of driving. The programme has already cut carbon emissions from the May Gurney fleet by 18%, with a target of 50% by 2012. The company is trialling new hybrid fuel technology to help meet the target.
Internal communications play a significant role in motivating employees. The company has launched a green photography competition and has shot a tongue-in-cheek information video called Sustainability - who cares? as well as displaying energy-saving stickers and signs around the business. It has introduced a carbon cap in its company car policy, launched a cycle-to-work scheme, and even encourages employees to use their bikes for local business trips.
May Gurney has also embedded its commitment to reducing carbon emissions right through the organisation: it has appointed a full-time head of sustainability, formed a steering group led in turn by each of the company's six business heads and made carbon emissions one of its 10 group-wide KPIs.
An engineer placed his wet hand in front of a high speed sheet of air, and found the force removed the water in seconds. In such moments, invention is sparked and in 2006, after three years of development, the Dyson Airblade hand dryer was born. It has shaken up an entire category which had seen little innovation in 60 years.
The Airblade uses a digital motor spinning at up to 88,000 rpm to force unheated air through 0.3 mm apertures, creating a sheet of air that dries hands in seconds. It outperforms traditional hand dryers on a number of counts: the motor uses 1,600W of power, compared with 2,400W on a typical dryer, it doesn't heat the air and it takes just 10 seconds, while conventional dryers take up to four times as long. Typically, the Dyson product uses 4.4Wh of energy to dry one pair of hands, up to 80% less than some other dryers and it was recently certified with the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label.
Based on a typical washroom used 200 times a day, the Airblade would save 730,000 paper towels being used - and disposed of - over its five-year life cycle. Sectors which have previously had to rely on paper towels for hygiene reasons - food handling and healthcare - are able to use the Airblade because it is fitted with a filter that removes 99.9% of bacteria in the drying air.
Petrol and diesel generators are noisy, dirty and extremely inefficient for applications that only require low power; one consequence of the last point is that manufacturers have little incentive to produce appliances that are energy-efficient and users have little incentive to buy them. Enter Hymera.
BOC set itself the objective of creating and launching the UK's first commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cell generator to provide silent, zero emissions electricity. Hydrogen fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen to create water and generating electricity in the process - all with a very low carbon footprint. Such a system is ideal for applications requiring low power, such as LED floodlighting, or charging power tools at remote sites.
Hymera was brought to market within the target retail price of £2,400, which was vital to make it affordable. The product was launched in 2010, focusing on the rail repair industry, emergency services and MoD, to generate some critical mass.
OVERALL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
The DIY retailer established its environmental credentials in the 1990s: it was one of the founder members of the Forestry Stewardship Council and developed the VOC paint labelling system, now widely used. In 2007, B&Q set itself a new objective, to become a One Planet business, working with sustainability expert BioRegional to achieve that target by 2023.
That objective is now embedded throughout the organisation, with managers right up to board level assessed against CSR targets, which affect their pay. B&Q has introduced the UK's first eco qualification, a City & Guilds Level 2 diploma, and created a role of qualified eco adviser in store. Some 1,800 will qualify this year. It has created an e-learning module on the One Planet initiative, which is voluntary, but was completed by 5,000 staff in one year.
The company has also made significant progress with its own carbon emissions, achieving a 16% absolute reduction since 2006-07 during a period of growth. Among the key measures were retrofitting half-lighting technology; adopting smarter vehicle routing and driver training, double-decker lorries and reducing waste through recycling bins.
B&Q's revolution also embraces the three million customers who visit its stores each week. The retailer has introduced a One Planet Home eco range with more than 4,000 products and is taking part in the Government's Pay as You Save trials, helping householders in Sutton make major energy-saving renovations to their homes.
- Lend Lease
In Stratford City, at the heart of the site for the London 2012 Olympics, developer Lend Lease is turning a large proportion of the 25,000m2 roof space into 'green roof', reducing urban heat and improving the buildings' thermal performance. On the nearby Greenwich Peninsula, meanwhile, the company is making use of a 100m-deep underground renewable energy system to deliver 10% of the energy needs of two office buildings.
These are just two of the innovative solutions which have made the Australian property company one of the environmental leaders in the property business - globally and in the UK. Lend Lease has heads of sustainability in place for each of its business units and it is bringing all its effort together under a sustainability management system, which will reduce carbon, water usage and waste production on all the company's projects.
At HM Treasury, Lend Lease has installed 11,000 energy-saving lightbulbs, and engaged staff in World Environmental Day, as well as cleaning during the day to save on lighting. And at the Bluewater retail centre, it has achieved zero waste to landfill - helping secure a 9.8% carbon reduction across the company's whole owned and managed estate in the last financial year.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
BT's fleet of almost 8,000 company cars and 30,000 commercial vehicles is one of the largest in the UK and management recognised it must be at the heart of efforts to reduce BT's carbon footprint. The company adopted a twofold strategy: reducing journeys made and increasing fuel efficiency.
Video conferencing has played a key part in addressing the first of these and it is estimated that in 2007-08 the company saved some £111m in travel costs, £71m in time and 53,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions through using conferencing services. BT is deploying a state-of-the-art telepresence system across its own business and customer organisations to further reduce the need for travel. Travel has also been reduced by improving the reliability of the BT network.
In terms of the fleet, employees are encouraged to choose low-emission company cars, while the field force are trained in fuel-efficient driving and keeping their vehicle in optimum condition for low fuel consumption. BT is also experimenting with a 'carbon dashboard' that provides drivers with data feedback inside their vehicle and it has been testing both bio-fuels and electric vehicles.
These efforts have paid off. BT reduced the number of flights made by employees by more than 20% over a year, becoming the first company to meet the WWF's One in Five Challenge as a result. And the distance covered by BT's commercial fleet fell by almost 9.5% in 2008-09. BT telephone lines touch every corner of the UK, but the company has shown it can improve services while reducing the amount of travel required.
CARBON EMISSIONS PERFORMANCE
- Standard Life
When insurer Standard Life moved from its elegant Georgian premises in Edinburgh's New Town to a purpose-built, high-density headquarters in the city, energy was a key consideration. In just over a decade the company has reduced its energy consumption per square metre of occupied space in the UK by over 40%. And its early leadership as a carbon-conscious company in the insurance sector has culminated in recent board approval to embed sustainability into the business strategy for the first time - showing investors how environmental performance contributes to achieving the business strategy.
Much of the carbon emissions saving that Standard Life has achieved has been done through investing in capital expenditure projects. A £6.6m data centre refurbishment consolidated two machine halls into one with upgraded servers and cooling, saving 1,400 tonnes of CO2 annually, worth some £288,000. A less expensive Wake on LAN project to switch off 7,000 PCs for six hours every night saves 890 tonnes of CO2 and £147,000 every year.
The insurer has 15 green teams who act as environmental advocates across the group. They compile data and highlight opportunities for improvement and their work is rewarded in the annual chairman's awards. Their efforts also ensure the company is relatively insulated from energy price volatility.
- Carbon emissions ambition
- Carbon emissions performance
Standard Chartered Bank
- Eco-friendly product
Environmental Business Products
- Green buildings and facilities
Local Government and Commercial
- Green champions (customers)
The Trafford Centre
- Green champions (employees)
NHS Nottinghamshire County
- Green champions (suppliers)
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
- Land, water and ecology
- Low-carbon product
- Overall environmental management
Lend Lease Communities
Queen Margaret University
Wm Morrisons Supermarkets
- Travel and transport
Republic of Bike
- Waste reduction and recycling
Fisher Scientific UK
Lenzing Fibers Grimsby