23 May

Sustainable Practice: Insight from our Fellow Leeds-based Manufacturers!

On the 21st of May 2024, we opened the Greyhound Box roller shutters and welcomed in our fellow Leeds-based manufacturers to talk about all-things sustainability. As part of the Leeds Sustainability Peer Network run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, these meetings of manufacturing minds are set up to share best practice to inspire us to work together for a greener future for the industry.


Sustainable Practice In Practice

We started the event with a factory tour from our MD, Louise O’Brien. As always, her passion for efficiency in our operations shone through and prompted astute questions from the group around the intrinsic link between efficiency and sustainability.

We start with the basics – just separate your rubbish!

Louise O’Brien on taking small steps to make a big change

The group was enlightened by Louise’s story of sustainability, with particular interest taken in our recycling, compressors, LED lighting, and ceramic heaters, as well as our smart lighting grid that’s activated by movement!

The group was then treated to coffee and treats before we took our seats for a roundtable on the mezzanine level of the factory – an area usually bustling with busy boxers, but today reserved for intriguing ecological discussions.

Attendees at the WYCA’s Sustainability Peer Network event getting a tour of the Greyhound Box factory

Tighter Budgets, Greater Efficiencies

First, we discussed a topic at the heart of all manufacturing concerns: the recent rise in electricity prices. Louise spoke about how we’ve installed a more efficient boiler, and how this spend has been paid back in electricity savings in just three months!

We also discussed prioritisation when it comes to your next capex project. At Greyhound Box, health and safety always comes first, but we do have a 12-month plan focussing on investments for the future. (One of the most exciting being a 3D printer!) We’re already testing 3D printed machine components, so having a printer onsite will reduce downtime in our operations and have a radical effect on the reduction of carbon around our supply chain.


Sustainable Practice: The Benefits to Manufacturers

Conversation then turned to other ways in which our sustainable practices benefit our business. One of the most important practices we could offer advice on is how we keep our customers in the loop!

We go into their factories and review their processes, as well as supporting them to more sustainable logistics practices. Not only does this galvanise our relationships with customers but positions us as thought-leaders in our field. Meaning when it comes to developing new projects, we’re the ones our customers come to for advice!

We also take guidance from our suppliers on how to increase efficient use of the materials we procure, knowledge we then pass onto our customers.

Attendees at the WYCA’s Sustainability Peer Network event sitting inside the Greyhound Box factory

Adding Value with Sustainable Packaging Solutions

In the packaging world, adding value is what makes you stand out. So the more efficiently you can run as a business, the more room you have for creativity!

Enter Matthew Kay, our Assistant Commercial Manager and bespoke packaging design guru. Matt discussed his work with the group of manufacturers and presented the concept of sustainability by design.

He highlighted how our sustainable packaging solutions:

  • Ensure reduction or elimination of single-use or harmful materials
  • Save valuable inventory space in the warehouses and in transit
  • Increase efficiencies for our clients by reducing waste and speeding up packing

These products look simple, but they take a lot of testing! We’re reducing costs and increasing efficiencies, but a lot of work goes into the design of this.

Louise O’Brien on our sustainable packaging designs


A Greener Future: What’s Next for Greyhound Box?

Next we heard from Magdalena Biziewska, our General Manager and Sustainability Lead, who talked to the group about the nitty gritty when it comes to being an eco-conscious business – with particular reference to the accreditations she works on.

“Sustainability has been the main focus for a long time – a journey we started 20 years ago! Our ISO 14001 has ensured we’re constantly looking for ways to make things better at Greyhound Box, and we’re very proud to have achieved our FSC certification this year.”

My future goal for the business is to see us reaching pure net-zero! There’s a long way to go, but our mantra is about not taking on the world, just making small changes where you can. You soon find out they lead to very big transformations in the long run.

Magdalena on what we can all be doing to achieve a more sustainable sector


Insight from our Leeds Manufacturing Peers

We know it’s overwhelming, but sustainable manufacturing is all about taking one step at a time. That’s why using networks of manufacturers to collaborate and inspire makes us so much stronger when it comes to our sustainable practices.

Other manufacturers in the room highlighted the importance of:

  • Considering and reviewing the need for a carbon reduction plan
  • Looking at your net-zero offering
  • Thinking about your supply chain – keeping tabs on client contract renewals and their plans for sustainability for the year ahead. This could be an opportunity to really connect with your clients and become an integral part of their planning process!
  • Public Sustainability Statements – if you’re not thinking about creating a Carbon Reduction Plan (generally more needed by businesses selling into the public sector), think about a PSS. This could simply be a document or page on your website that celebrates everything you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Employee engagement – you need to ensure your whole crew is onboard with your sustainability mission! Use engaging internal communication methods to engage your staff and instil sustainability in your culture. 

A massive thank you again to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for choosing us to host such a valuable discussion.

We’re looking forward to the next event taking place on Monday 24th June, and there’s still a few spaces left! Click here for the full agenda and to secure your spot.

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