CSR in Practice: Environment

Putting Environmental Policies into Practice

As a global manufacturer Devro is committed to minimising its environmental impact and our processes and technology are continually evolving to minimise our emissions and our use of valuable resources. In December of each year, the Board reviews this commitment, and the revised statement is then communicated to all Group entities.

The starting point is our Environmental Policy which clearly states our commitment to minimising the effects of climate change, pollution prevention, waste reduction and reducing the use of natural resources. We are also committed to working with our suppliers to minimise their impact and thus the supply chain in its entirety.
Key to fulfilling these requirements are working closely with National and State bodies and ensuring that while we co-ordinate globally to maximise the benefits of our environmental programmes, we are at all times supporting and complying with the requirements of the countries in which we operate.

We recognise that our world-wide operations are subject to a variety of regulatory regimes and cultures. As a consequence, we deal with environmental issues through a network of specialists operating within the business units and familiar with specific needs of their region, while at the same time harnessing this knowledge and implementing on a global platform which is actively supported by Senior Management. The Global Environmental performance is reviewed on a quarterly basis with the Chief Executive thus providing the highest level of oversight to the issue.

These specialists are professionally qualified in the environmental field and in regular communication with professional bodies and associations to keep abreast of developments and changes. They also participate in local / national forums and workshops to ensure we maximise our resources. All of our manufacturing facilities have Environmental systems and four of them are accredited to the International Standard ISO 14001. The US and China facilities are also working towards the standards and their systems are currently being implemented to seek accreditation.

While recognising there are different priorities in each of the geographical regions, it is true that globally the main environmental impacts of our processes are the emission of carbon dioxide, water usage and the generation of the solid waste we send to landfill or incineration.

Global Targets

2015 marked the end of a target period where we met and surpassed the targets we had set back in 2011 - which was a 10% reduction per km product in carbon dioxide emissions, water use and solid waste to landfill. In effect we achieved double the target we had set.

Phase 1 Historical Environment Performance indicators at end of 2015

  2015 performance 2015 target
Carbon dioxide 65 76
Water use 68 78
Solid waste 77 78
(per million metres equivalent casing, 2005 = 100)


Having evaluated the legislative requirements in the countries where we operate, and investigating the opportunities presented by technology, new targets (against 2015 baseline) were adopted that by 2020 we would:

  • reduce emissions (tonnes CO2 per million metres production) by 30%;
  • reduce energy usage (GJ per million metres production) by 15%;
  • reduce water usage (cubic metres per million metres production) by 10%; and
  • reduce landfill (tonnes of solids sent to landfill from process) to zero.

These targets demonstrate our aspirations in making a step-change in environmental performance into the next decade and underline our commitment and resolve to manage our environmental impacts and responsibilities.

Climate Change

Climate change and its effects as well as emissions from Greenhouse Gases (GHG) form a large section of our environmental strategy. Since 1998 we have been actively monitoring and targeting a reduction in our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the use of fuels and electricity in our factories. While we have different targets in different operating zones within our business, our primary objective is therefore local compliance.

In Scotland and in Czech Republic we are governed by the Climate Change Levy (CCL-UK) and the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) respectively which ensure we meet reduction targets laid down by European legislation. These targets and performances are externally verified by appointed bodies. Devro is also committed to working with these organisations and is represented via the business associations and trade federations on climate change, helping to adhere to but also shape the policies. In the USA and in Australia we adhere to the National and State Requirements and in addition we have set ourselves global improvement targets on CO2 emissions.

In 2005 we set a target to reduce our emissions by 25%. In 2015 we were delighted to report that we had not only achieved but surpassed that performance. The energy and emissions performance towards the end of the year gives confidence that we can attain the targets that we have set or our business out to 2020 and beyond.

This continuing improvement has been as a result of various group wide reduction programmes and investments in cleaner and more carbon efficient equipment and processes.

In addition to manufacturing at our plants in USA, Scotland, Australia and Czech Republic throughout 2017, we were also commissioning two new plants in the USA and China. Overall we achieved a 8.2% reduction in emissions levels from 2015 which was an excellent performance, particularly considering the output constraints which are incumbent with plant commissioning.

In the established plants in Australia, Czech Republic and Scotland we reduced our emissions against the 2015 baseline by just over 26%, This was driven by some positive plant performance and also a reduction in emissions tariff, particularly in Scotland.

CO2 emissions
(tonnes CO2/million metres equivalent casing sold)

Our investments in the US and Chinese facilities have incorporated the best available technologies to maximise a positive impact on our emissions and energy usage per km of product, which will positively impact our performance and allow us to continually improve our indices in this field.

While our emissions of greenhouse gases are mainly due to the use of energy in our factories and thus covered under energy usage, there are other sources. Apart from energy we use HFCs and HCFCs in refrigeration equipment, own a number of vehicles and rent offices. The figures below cover all of these activities except where we rent an office where the energy use is not measured separately. The impact of this on our numbers is not material.

We started collecting information in this format in 2012 as part of our responsibilities as a FTSE4good company.

GHG emissions data (tonnes of CO2e)

  2017 2016 2015
Scope 1 emissions (tes) 75,038 76,696 79,726
Scope 2 emissions (tes) 63,277 68,435 66,235
Scope 1 + 2 emissions (tes) 138,315 145,131 145,961
Intensity measure (£m turnover) 256,9 241.1 230.2
Normalised emissions (tonnes of CO2e per £m turnover) 538 602 634

Water Usage and Treatment

Our water consumption is a mixture of well extracted and mains supply, this being driven both commercially and by the conditions in the regions. We measured water usage for the first time in China with the commissioning of the new Nantong plant and of course had water usage in both the existing and new manufacturing facilities in Sandy Run. Similar to our energy profile we made significant reductions per million metre of casing produced in the established plants (circa 15%) which offset some of the usages that can be expected from commissioning of new processes and system on green field sites. In total we continued the trend of reducing usage globally, this year by 3.8% annually and 7% against the 2015 baseline.

As the graph shows we have reduced water usage in all but one of the last 10 years and our current rate of water required to produce our products has now been reduced by 1/3rd since 2005

Water use (m3 water/million metres equivalent casing as percentage reduction against 2005)

Global Water use (m3 water/million metres equivalent casing sold)

Reducing our incoming water does of course affect the volume of outgoing water or effluent that we have to treat. We operate our own waste water treatment plants in Australia, China and in the USA and in Czech Republic we operate the plant in connection with the local authority and treat some of their waste water as part of our responsibilities in the community. In Scotland, we discharge directly into the public sewerage system where our waste is combined with domestic effluent and treated by the local body which is Scottish Water. In 2012 we invested in partial water treatment of our outfall to reduce some of the parameters to assist the local treatment works. This project was successfully carried out in partnership with Business Stream and Scottish Water and the technology is currently being reviewed for inclusion in our Australian plant.

New waste water treatment plants were constructed in 2015 for the new USA and China facilities which further underlines our commitment to reducing pollution and waste from our processes and working in conjunction with local authorities. These new plants and the technology employed for Scotland and Australia will lead to further opportunities for further water reductions as recycling and re-use of water becomes technically possible as a result.

Pollution and Resources

The start point of our environmental journey is our Environmental policy. In it we outline our commitment to reduce the use of resources and to prevent pollution. In all our regions we work closely with the local environmental agencies to ensure that we have the correct treatments in place so that we discharge safely to the neighbouring environment, and we target zero breaches of these consents. We achieved this in 2017 and are on course to repeat in 2018. In the manufacturing units we have risk assessed our activities and put safeguards in place and in addition we have teams trained in emergency response to ensure that all aspects of our environmental impact is always minimised.

As well as waste water there is some solid waste from our processes. Our primary goal is to minimise the use of raw materials and our processes are accordingly targeted internally, however some solid waste is generated as part of manufacturing. Within the various regions the legislation which drives landfill is quite diverse, however there is a common message and that is to reduce the impact wherever and whenever possible. In most areas landfill from inert sources (bricks, concrete, building waste) is under less restrictive control. However, waste from the process we are looking to in the first instance reduce and then find new avenues for disposal.

In 2015 some changes in the regulatory network meant that some of our process waste in Scotland had to go back to landfill, this was however offset against good performances in other regions. While achieving the overall target we did see a slight increase against our 2014 performance.

In 2016 we started to evaluate new ways to reduce landfill and in summer 2017 have successfully been able to divert >97% of our process waste to composting from landfill. While delighted with this achievement we remain focused on finding new streams for our process waste and continue to evaluate new technologies with our business and academic partners. In our Australian plant we were also able to divert from landfill at the start of 2017 and thus we are approaching towards our stated goal. This is wholly consistent with our strategic aim to reduce waste from our manufacturing processes in the short term and find new avenues for disposal in the longer term, thus achieving our stated goal of zero landfill from process waste by 2020.

Tonnes waste (sent to landfill /million metres equivalent casing sold)

As a company we had set a target of being at 78% of our 2005 level by 2015. In 2015 we managed to beat this target and achieved a 1/3 red reduction across our business. This positive trend continued in 2017. In the regions different outlets were examined for waste product rather than landfill – as part of co-ordinated local activity based on the principles of re-use, reduce or avoid. Alternatives to landfill such as anaerobic digestion, composting and use in external manufacturing processes helped, while programmes initiated by our Continuous Improvement teams based on lean manufacturing and six sigma tools also had their part to play in this reduction. The regions have also worked in conjunction with local authorities and government bodies for assistance and collaboration.

Environmental management systems

Our main vehicle for compliance and improvement continues to be our environmental management systems. All our manufacturing sites employ environmental management systems, based around the ISO 14001 model. Five of the plants have now been accredited with the ISO 14001 Standard as China received accreditation in 2017, and we are now actively working to upgrade to the new 2015 variant. Work on this will be ongoing through 2017 with accreditation due by 2018. In the new USA plant all systems have been based on the ISO model and will ease accreditation when the plants seek evaluation against the standard during when the management systems have been fully embedded in the facilities.

Supply Chain – product life cycle

At Devro we understand that our environmental impact is further reaching than our internal processes. We are part of a wider supply chain both as end product user and similarly an input to other manufacturers manufacturing processes as a raw material provider.

As part of our supplier qualification process we audit potential partners and request that all our suppliers provide information on their environmental policies, including whether they have a formal recognised Environmental Management System such as ISO 14000, whether they are audited to that standard by a 3rd party and, if so, they provide a copy of the said certificate. We also request specific information on environmental impacts (GHG, CO2, Water use, resource utilisation, waste and pollution targets and performance) in our questionnaires and in our physical audits.

We are also part of the UK Food & Drink Federation and Scottish Food Drink Federation where we lead on Environmental improvement projects across the UK food industry and encourage and promote shared learnings and responsibilities.

In the UK there are several projects looking at ‘free issue’ of waste to other manufacturers for use in their processes (waste cardboard, polythene packaging etc) as well as encouragement of bailing and segregation through targeted environmental taxation.

Through these associations Devro is actively working with governments, our customers and our suppliers to reduce the end to end waste production in the supply chain and supports packaging and waste reduction schemes such as VALPAK in its United Kingdom operations and their equivalents internationally.

The environmental health of our planet, the is something to which all companies and individuals are inextricably linked and is a major component of our ethos at Devro.