FFP Packaging Solutions, the leading flexible packaging manufacturer, based in Northampton, have achieved the benchmark environmental standard ISO14001, but they have gone beyond the requirements of the standard, reinforcing a culture that seeks every opportunity to drive waste out of the business and minimise waste in their customers’ businesses.
Companies throughout the retail supply chain are under pressure to show that they are minimising their environmental impact, and the achievement of ISO14001 is an important way in which a supplier can prove the quality of their environmental systems. It is vital, however, that it doesn’t become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise.
FFP have been able to take advantage of a Government backed KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) scheme linked to the University of Northampton that has seen an Environmental Scientist, Rebecca Jones, seconded to the business for a two year period. Rebecca’s role has been to identify areas where FFP could improve environmental performance and reduce waste. As she says ‘ISO14001 includes a requirement for continuous improvement in resource usage. FFP wanted a more dynamic approach than that to make deep and immediate cuts in energy and materials use.
Part funded by Government, KTP is a Technology Strategy Board programme, enabling innovation in business. The University of Northampton is a participant in KTP Knowledge Base providing expertise and resources to businesses via a strategic project.
Rebecca worked alongside the management team to identify additional environmental improvements that FFP could make. By changing the way solvents were handled in the factory and improving waste segregation, for example, FFP have been able to reduce hazardous waste by around 15%. In the offices and factory, motion sensors have been introduced so that areas are not lit unnecessarily. This alone has resulted in an amazing 70% reduction in energy usage in the warehouse. FFP now sends no waste to landfill, having worked with a waste contractor to improve recycling rates and who send everything else to an Energy from Waste scheme. Even the way that raw materials are brought in is being improved to make sure that reel lengths are optimised and therefore transport minimised.
Flexible packaging already scores well in environmental terms: it is light, is extremely space efficient in transport, and strong, and FFP have always tried to reduce waste by working with customers to optimise packaging usage, for example by seeking where possible to reduce finished film widths through their ‘Esterpeel Audit’ scheme and by working with customers to ‘downgauge’ films in use.
Rebecca again: ‘Waste and environmental management is always a work in progress, FFP were already committed to the process, so that people examine every aspect of what they do to identify reductions they can make. I’m delighted that we have achieved ISO 14001, and very pleased with the way that FFP have taken on the wider challenge of reducing their environmental impact.’