In this first of a two-part blog, our Group Quality System, Sustainability Manager and DPO Neil Ross explains the work being done to deliver on our ambitions across two of our four sustainability pillars: Environment and Innovation.
It’s not hard to understand why decarbonisation is a key objective for Xaar. As we move towards our goal of Net Zero operations by 2030, we find ourselves in the midst of a global energy crisis – a challenge that affects businesses of every shape and size. However, the challenge that we face is not just about how much energy we use. It’s about where we source our energy from, and how we can be sure of a secure energy supply. It’s also about reducing our reliance on ‘the Grid’. These are big challenges.
The progress so far…
The big news is… Xaar is now a carbon neutral inkjet manufacturer. In fact, this was achieved in 2021 – thanks to the offset of regulatory Scope 1 and 2 carbon impacts. We have also appointed an external partner to support us with Scope 3 and TCFD Climate Modelling. (If TCFD Modelling is new to you, this explanation will be helpful.)
Xaar has moved to green electricity… We are very proud to have changed the way we procure energy. Our Procurement Team is currently working with our energy consultant Trident to source over 99% of our power from renewable sources for our UK sites. Meanwhile, at Megnajet we will move over to green power in September 2023 – and EPS is now supplied with power generated from renewable sources. We hope you agree that this is real progress.
Greening our transport... A major ‘win’ for our decarbonisation journey was to switch our UK pool car to electric. This has been achieved through a salary sacrifice scheme which is proving popular with our colleagues. At the time of writing, 8 electric vehicles (EV) have already been delivered and 6 more are on order.
Of course, as more of our staff move to EVs, we will need charge-points infrastructure too. We now have 10 chargers in place at our printhead sites. The 2 charge-points available at FFEI are under review for upgrade in 2023.
Progress on packaging… We know that our stakeholders and customers are very interested in what we are doing to improve the enviro-credentials of our packaging. Our Logistics Team has been busy working on the introduction of fully recyclable printhead packaging. This means we are now well on the way towards complete packaging recyclability.
BEE aware of nature… Of course, the environment isn’t just about carbon. It’s about supporting natural and diverse habitats too. This Autumn has seen the introduction of two beehives at Huntingdon as part of our biodiversity ambitions. We’re all very excited at the prospect of Xaar branded honey in the coming months, and our own honey being available in the summer of 2023.
Innovation is everything at Xaar. And, never more so than when we think about finding more sustainable ways to manufacture our products – and, as part of this, we are exploring more circular approaches to materials.
Trialling greener materials
Our engineering teams are currently researching ways to use biodegradable structural parts in the manufacture of our products. An area of focus is to find an alternative, more sustainable materials than Polylactic Acid (PLA) which is a biodegradable plastic used to print majority of our jigs and fixtures. The team has successfully trailed the use of recycled PLA filaments generated from returned and waste PLA. These are supplied in 100% plastic-free sustainable packaging with easy to recycle cardboard spools.
Supporting the circular economy
One of the most exciting recent developments from our engineering team has been an examination of the properties of Fishy Filaments. This is a printing filament manufactured using end-of-life fishing nets recovered from Cornish fishery fleets. This is not only a very interesting concept, but it also supports our approach to circular economy principles too. We are delighted to report that this 100% recycled material has seen good initial material compatibility and we are now trialling this material for jigs and fixture printing.
As part of our investigations into using biodegradable structural parts, we also have high hopes that a new material in development at Fishy Filaments that may be resistant to ink fluids, and therefore be a candidate for manufacture of printheads. Exciting stuff.
If this blog has whetted your appetite for all things sustainable, you’ll be pleased to know there’s so much more to tell you. Rather than overload you we will leave this for Part 2 of our Sustainability Progress Blog – where you can hear what we’re doing as part of our commitment to People and Communities. There is lots more news to share.