A year in: what we have learned

Sustaining sustainability: global challenge meets global effort

In December 2021, we signed up to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), committing to setting emission reduction targets for our global group that are in line with what climate science says is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. A bit over a year on from signing up, and having submitted our targets for independent validation in November 2022, we wanted share a few things we’ve learned.

About science based targets

First things first: Signing up to SBTi works. It’s our experience as a business and powerfully demonstrated by these figures from the initiative’s 2021 report:

12%  5%
Annual reduction in emissions by companies committed to SBT       Annual reduction in emissions caused by the COVID pandemic

At Norican, we’re only at the beginning of our SBT journey, but it’s given us a framework to transform our business that’s been having an impact on our organization from the get-go.

Making a difference across industrial supply chains

We started by setting up a dedicated project team with engineers from all our brands, all our regions and supported by our executive team. The focus is where we can make the biggest difference: helping our customers emit less greenhouse gasses. 

For most industrial equipment manufacturers like us, we’ve found this can be a double-edged sword in terms of how emissions are counted. For example, Scope 3 emissions relating to our equipment operating at our customers are accounted for by taking a lifetime perspective of emissions. That’s annual energy use multiplied by footprint and lifetime.

Because the lifespan of our equipment can be 40 years, we have to mitigate 40 years’ worth of emissions. We’re not going to give up on our philosophy to build machines that last (it’s a more sustainable use of resources after all), so we have to be smart about reducing their emissions footprint in other ways. It’s an engineering challenge we’re well equipped to tackle.

Beyond SBT: sustainability at the heart of everything we do

Committing to setting science-based emission reduction targets is an important part of any serious effort to leave our planet in a better condition than we found it in. But it’s not the whole story and it will not do the whole job.

While our SBT team was busy establishing base lines, measuring influence and forecasting reduction potential, the whole of Norican embarked on a global effort to embed sustainability action in everything we do, wherever we are.

Sustainability has become an integral consideration and objective in everything we do. It means it’s designed in, not reverse-engineered on. It now runs through our product development and our procurement, our aftermarket services and our warehousing, our offices and our workshops.

Involving our global team in our sustainable efforts

Across the globe, we have appointed sustainability ambassadors, who work with local teams to prioritize activities, educate their colleagues and customers, and involve them in driving change. For example, they came up with the #NoriCan campaign to encourage small changes in behaviour that have a big impact:

Both our sustainability ambassadors and our actions around emission reduction are made more effective by allowing differences in approach according to local and regional factors.

Engaging all our people to kickstart the initiatives that make a difference quickly, in their region, both complements our global efforts and is reflective of our business as a family of engineers, who take pleasure in finding clever and elegant solutions that work.

A worldwide exchange of ideas, of sharing successes and learning is what is needed to tackle the huge task ahead of us.

Spotlight on: Asia-Pacific

Our APAC team has collected nearly 150 sustainability initiatives from across the whole regional workforce in 2022.

The ideas, which range from immediate actions individuals can take through to capital investments made by the company, were ranked and prioritized which three were immediately implemented. They are:

  • Install solar panels on the roof of our Changjiang workshop 
  • Install 19 EV charging pillars at our Changjiang and Hanjiang workshops
  • Promote paperless office
329t   57t 32 
 Anticipated annual emission reduction from solar panel installation  Anticipated annual emission reduction from EV charging installation   The number of trees saved if our Changzhou office cuts its paper use by 50%

The team has also come up with a highly innovative, strategic approach to taking emission reduction and SBT efforts into APAC supply chains, forming strategic alliances with likeminded partners to offer end-to-end sustainable processes across manufacturing steps and equipment groups.

The idea: a coordinated movement between us as equipment providers and our global customers  – to create momentum and show a path to more sustainable production.