Are you being left behind?

Companies who fail to invest in sustainability will be locked out of retail and commercial sectors, with wastewater in glass processing representing a significant challenge, argues Bohle’s Dave Broxton.

It’s not only about being seen to be green, it’s about the competitive commercial edge that introducing more sustainable business practices gives you.

You can put your head in the sand and pretend that it’s something that only applies to big businesses, but the reality is that if you aren’t investing in the sustainability of your business, your competitors will be and you’re going to be left behind.

According to a recent study by Make UK, the manufacturers organisation, companies who put sustainability at the heart of what they did saw significant benefits, with 40% reporting increased profit margins and 30% increased competitiveness.

It goes hand-in-hand. If you’re wasting less, your overheads are less and you’re more profitable. It also gives you increased market reach.

Yet many manufacturing businesses are trailing behind. A recent study by YouGov found that while half of UK manufacturing businesses had a sustainability plan in place, many others didn’t with 23% admitting that they didn’t have a future plan to introduce one.

This appears to make even less sense when business and consumers are placing a growing expectation on the companies they buy from and work with to be green.

A recent study by KPMG revealed that 53% of UK consumers think producers and manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the goods they buy are environmentally friendly. Meanwhile two-thirds (67%) of respondents said they care more about the environmental impact of the consumer goods they buy today, compared to five years ago.

We see it in our own industry. There are companies investing for the future in driving efficiency and environmental gains, and others that are letting opportunities pass them buy while running up higher overheads.

That could be something as simple as not using the right cutting wheels or optimising their cutting tables effectively, through to extending tool life and wastewater recycling.

Clean water, especially with added coolant, increases the performance of machinery by up to 20% and the service life of tools by up to 30%. But it can all too easily become contaminated with particles from drilling, polishing and grinding.

The cost of keeping coolant clean can also quickly add up with modelling revealing that using just 400 litres of water as part of your weekly cleaning cycle equates to a yearly water consumption of approximately 20,000 litres, as well as the high cost for its disposal.

Suitable for a wide assortment of grinding, drilling and sawing glass equipment, Bohle sedimentors use a sophisticated and automated, multi-stage process to remove contaminants from coolants and water. This includes filtering of glass particles of <5µm, while using far less energy.

Sedimentors will also pay back against purchase costs in as little as a year.

Why wouldn’t you invest? You make your processes quicker, reduce downtime, increase the service life of machinery and tooling, improve product quality, and reduce wastewater.

And this year there’s even another big benefit: a whacking great tax break.

Announced in the Budget in March, the government is currently offering major tax break in the form of its Super-Deduction scheme. This allows companies to claim a deduction in their tax bill if they invest in new plant and machinery with a capital allowance of 130% on qualifying equipment.

In real terms, this means that as a glass processor if you committed to spend £100,000 on machinery, you can deduct £130,000 from your taxable profits.

With Corporation Tax at 19%, that would equate to a saving of £24,700, and you’re building your business for the long term.

Sedimentors also allow you cut your energy use. That’s going to be increasingly important as we move towards net zero targets in manufacturing.

Your competitors are out there investing: they’re securing their long-term future and capitalising immediately on the efficiency gains that investment delivers. You need to be part of it.