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Carbon and Sustainability: Clark-Drain’s Statement is one of Achievement as well as Intent

The current intense media interest in environmental issues and carbon targets has shone a piercing green light on business and its sustainability practices.

And as buyers, investors, and communities look ever more determinedly for strong ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) credentials in the businesses they deal with, Clark-Drain is proud to be able to say that we have had a concerted programme of carbon reduction and sustainability improvement in place since 2018, with many targets already achieved.

Three years on, that journey is still going strong – and here is the carbon and sustainability statement that underpins the many initiatives we have put in place along the way, and those we plan for the future.

Save energy, save carbon

With some 85% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the UK generated by non-domestic activity – i.e., businesses of one kind or another – and a significant slice of that figure associated with energy production, reducing energy use is a priority for our organisation.

For this reason, in 2019, we instigated an organisation-wide policy to upgrade the company’s entire lighting system to low-emission LED lighting. Over 50% of this upgrade has now been completed, and progress continues apace.

All our injection-moulding machines have been fitted with energy-saving devices to reduce usage and emissions by up to 30% in the short term, and since the beginning of 2021 we have also instigated longer-term policies to replace those machines completely with models that will be up to 40% more efficient again - with the first of these scheduled to arrive in December.

According to Government figures, businesses of our size can reduce energy consumption by up to 25% through these kinds of energy efficiency measures, so we are taking real action to deliver genuine, positive outcomes for the environment and for our business’s sustainability.

Drive electric, drive down emissions

In a successful business, people and products need to move, but fossil fuel-powered vehicles are a significant source of carbon emissions – and one Clark-Drain is resolved to tackle head-on.

Since January 2021, company policy has been to buy only hybrid electric company fleet vehicles, and we plan to move to a fully electric fleet of around 15-20 vehicles by 2023/24 at the latest, with the first such vehicle already in use at the time of writing.

At the same time, we have almost completely replaced our fork truck fleet, with eight out of ten trucks now either electric or gas models. The remaining two trucks will be replaced by early 2022.

All our fork trucks have speed limiters to restrict them to 5 miles per hour, to reduce over-revving and minimise emissions.

Recycling: a proud Clark-Drain tradition

Clark-Drain is no stranger to recycling – we produced the market’s first ever 100% recycled and recyclable polypropylene channels and chambers, innovations that are hugely popular with our customers (and theirs) to this day.

At end of life, these items are turned back into usable material, thus creating an almost perpetual cycle of use and re-use. Even already-recycled polypropylene waste is recycled again in-house, for re-use.

We are further ramping up our own internal recycling drive with a company-wide policy to separate recyclables away from general waste more effectively and efficiently, using methods of dividing types of steel waste to better channel it to more appropriate recycling uses, and by recycling all of our cardboard packaging in dedicated facilities.

This is only the beginning - and we plan to take this further into 2022 and beyond!

With the forthcoming introduction in April 2022 of the plastic packaging tax, packaging containing less than 30% recycled material will be subject to hefty penalties. Our buying team are working hard to ensure we buy only from quality sustainable sources that offer a minimum of 30% recyclable material content, with a goal of achieving 100% in the near future.

How our customers benefit

Behaving as an environmentally responsible business should, and honouring our ESG commitments, is undoubtedly the right thing to do for climate, community, and company.

At the same time, what makes good sense environmentally often makes good sense economically, too – and we are committed to involving our customers in that process.

Reducing the amount of energy we consume reduces the energy costs we have to bear. Likewise, by hitting CCA targets, we benefit from significant reductions in the Climate Change Levy (CCL) that we pay as part of our electricity and fuel bills, forming an additional cost-saving.

Ultimately, this frees up financial resources that we will make use of to pass additional benefit on to our customers in various ways, such as (for example) new product development, operational and customer service investment, price and quantity incentives - and so on.

A proven commitment, not a wish-list

 In short, what our sustainability and carbon reduction statement highlights is a programme of ongoing, actual, achieved change, whose outcomes are transparent, measurable and documented.

Our customers deserve at least this – and so does our planet.


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