CCL Secure commits to sustainability, working towards zero carbon
24 February 2020
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world in which the effects of a changing climate are beginning to be realised, companies are looking at their products, services and operations to identify areas for improvements to environmental sustainability. The world of banknote production is no different.
In 2015, a Life Cycle Analysis conducted by the Bank of England revealed its Guardian polymer notes significantly outperform their paper counterparts as a more environmentally friendly option, thanks in part to their added durability and consequent longer time spent in circulation. This supports a number of previous studies by central banks demonstrating that polymer is a greener substrate than paper. While these results put CCL Secure on the front foot in terms of product, as a company it has also recognised the need to look at the environmental impacts of its operations.
The company made a deliberate shift to a focus on sustainability across its operations worldwide, catalysed by a period of acquisition and expansion in 2017. CCL Secure has undertaken multiple projects as part of a global Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy, which will see the company continually work to improve environmental stewardship by minimising its ecological impact. The ultimate aim of this work is to become carbon neutral by 2022.
Its newest site at Wigton in the UK has recently joined the Australian and Mexican sites in achieving ISO14001:2015 certification, setting a framework to enhance environmental performance, fulfil compliance obligations and achieve environmental objectives.
At its UK site, CCL Secure’s commitment to sustainability also took the form of a project to optimise the printing press and Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser (RTO). With enhancements made to the RTO equipment, some of the solvents that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere during the printing process are now captured by the RTO and used as an additional heat source to the traditional gas and steam, thanks to a process known as ‘auto-therming’.
Over the past two years, this project has halved gas consumption at the plant and reduced steam consumption by 27 per cent. It has also resulted in a significant reduction in carbon emissions, with emissions to air consistently well below permitted environmental discharge consents.
The success of this project has driven the overarching sustainability strategy forward. Its implementation has created opportunities to influence and generate interest amongst the CCL Secure leadership and plant personnel, resulting in a culture change and employee engagement in the company’s sustainability commitments and ambitions. It has also created a step change in CCL Secure’s energy management systems, providing a platform upon which to build better processes for the management of resources, and improved energy and water efficiency, into the future.
As part of its global sustainability strategy, CCL Secure will now look to implement similar printing press and RTO improvements at its other two locations.
In addition to optimising the printing press and RTO, significant 2018 and 2019 milestones achieved as part of the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy have included:
- a carbon desktop system implemented for effective data collection;
- the development of an Environmental Management System (EMS) and Energy Management System (EnMS) to drive improvement opportunities;
- sustainability training courses delivered to staff;
- the completion of a carbon footprint analysis by an external organisation, in accordance with the international recognised PAS 2050 method for quantifying carbon footprint; and
- partnering with leading consultancy in carbon emissions reduction Verco Global for advice and support.
The company has also developed plans to reduce environmental impact across the supply chain, including raw material procurement, transport, film and substrate manufacture, waste generation/recovery/reuse and disposal, with future ambitions to achieve ‘zero waste to landfill’ and reduce emissions.
With a product that’s already recognised as making a positive environmental impact, it makes sense that CCL Secure continually works to improve its processes and provide further sustainability advantages through operations.