Birmingham Specialities Ltd
Birmingham Specialities Ltd

Precision is Everything

BSL's Carbon Literacy Journey

Birmingham Specialities Ltd (BSL) recognises that to combat the current climate crisis it is imperative that manufacturers (such as ourselves) play their part in sourcing, manufacturing and managing waste responsibly and decarbonising in a way aligned with the current recommendations on 1.5ºC targets.

Sustainability is central to BSL’s long term business objectives and is an expectation from our parent company Indutrade who have mandated ESG reporting through World Favour & set group Sustainability KPIs of carbon neutrality by 2030. Although reporting and data collection measures have been in place since 2019, we found that understanding of the topic throughout the business was limited to certain individuals. Sustainability was not a prominent aspect of the organizational culture, and there was no structured plan for reducing emissions.

The biggest challenge with engagement we found was the misconceptions around climate change which drove people away from participating in any carbon reducing actions. Since our customers had started demanding more sustainable goods and services, we thought the first most important course of action was to improve awareness throughout our workforce. Our CL journey started with our MD, Scott Mawby, undertaking his Carbon Literacy training hosted by DRH AMRE, facilitated by Helen Rodgers and Susanne Bearblock. Carbon Literacy helps put into perspective the true cost of carbon and urgency with which we need to act.

BSL Carbon Literacy

The science section helps dispel any myths by raising awareness and understanding. We then rolled out training for the senior management team to start fostering environmental responsibility from the top down. In a bid to encourage further employees to participate in Carbon Literacy Training we decided to engage them first by conducting short mandatory ESG training and sharing informational posters that communicated what CL was all about. The importance of CL training and the need for active involvement is also communicated by the MD in his monthly communications. Conveying both personal and business benefits of sustainability has helped us get the ball rolling for embedding it within the culture.

To make the training more accessible and easier to follow, based on previous feedback we arranged 2-day training sessions with the help of Indutrade trainers. Splitting the previously single 8-hour session over 2 days helped make the content more digestible and also reduced impact on productivity. The trainings have prompted discussion throughout the workplace and brought about very ambitious staff pledges which will help BSL on our decarbonisation journey. BSL now has 17 staff formally trained and certified Carbon Literate as of January 2024. The business has seen sustainability competence increase massively over this period and this has led to the implementation of several projects.

The switch to LED lights, investments in infrared sensors in low footfall areas and changes in shift patterns has allowed us to reduce our electricity consumption by 9% between 2022 and 2023. The switch to 100% renewable electricity suppliers means that our Scope two emissions are down to zero. In 2023, despite an 12% increase in sales turnover, our combined Scope 1 and 2 emissions have decreased by 5%, from 84tCO2e to 80tCO2e and we will be working to reduce our carbon intensity even further.

Our sustainability approach now includes a defined strategy to help us achieve our targets of carbon neutrality by 2026 – a goal we have moved four years forward as we are committed to taking urgent action. Educating our workforce has also had an impact on employee engagement; a recent ESG survey in the business indicated that 86% of the staff want to volunteer in supporting the business in carbon reduction activities.

This is just the start of the journey for BSL and our next steps will be to move from diesel vehicles to EVs and switching to a Green Gas supplier. We will continue roll of CL training to existing and new staff so that we can individually and collectively play our roles in bringing transformative changes within the business.

Managing Director, Scott Mawby:

"As we journey towards our net-zero destination by 2026, I'm inspired by our collective commitment to environmental stewardship. Our approach integrates every facet of our operations, harnessing the power of each individual within BSL. Through comprehensive Carbon Literacy training, we've empowered our workforce to understand and contribute to our CO2 reduction efforts.

This investment has yielded remarkable results, fostering a culture of innovation and sustainability. Our business now operates more efficiently, with reduced emissions serving as the fuel for our progress. Together, we're not just reducing our carbon footprint; we're driving towards a greener, more resilient future for generations to come."

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