We all know what’s happening to our planet and that we need to step up our commitment to the environment and to working as sustainably as possible. To this end, Don Whitley Scientific (DWS) has achieved the ISO14001 Environmental Management standard. Here, we illustrate how the company is working towards being carbon neutral, explaining some of the initiatives we are undertaking.
Built to last
Manufactured in the UK to strict quality standards, there are workstations in laboratories across the world that are more than 30 years old … and still work well every day. We believe in building a workstation that will last; a workstation that is robust enough to cope with today’s heavy laboratory workloads; a workstation with control mechanisms sufficiently precise for the most complex research or manufacturing applications. So confident are we of our manufacturing standards that Whitley Workstations are provided with a lifetime guarantee against faulty design or workmanship.
Refurb or recycle?
Customers sometimes want us to take away their old workstations when their new Whitley Workstations are installed. Our service engineers are happy to do this to ensure the most appropriate disposal. If possible, we refurbish the workstations so they can be sold on or donated to a charity. If we cannot refurbish the product, we may be able to re-use some of the parts but if the workstation is beyond saving, we ensure it is disassembled and all the metal and plastic separated and recycled.
We have committed to a 10 year plan with Oblong Trees so that 240 trees will be planted for each DWS employee. Over the period, trees will be planted throughout the world – from the UK to Africa to Australia. In this way, we can contribute to re-wilding projects, restoration, improving biodiversity, and mitigate our unavoidable carbon.
DWS is dedicated to achieving Net Zero emissions by the year 2050. We are continually refining our plan but initiatives that have already taken place include:
- Installing LED lighting in the factory and offices and the use of movement activation sensors.
- Limiting travel by using online meeting portals for both demonstrations and training.
- Signing up to a renewable energy supplier, which has already reduced our CO2 emissions by 11.2 metric tonnes.
- Switching to eco-friendly packaging materials by re-specifying boxes, packing tape and filler.
- Installing eco-friendly climate control units to replace gas fuelled heating.
Another consideration was how can we utilise technology to reduce paper wastage and one of the initiatives here is the use of touchscreen displays at each production desk. Digital versions of technical drawings, schematics, work instructions, wiring diagrams, etc, can be accessed by each operative whilst building a product so that they not only get the latest information but that it’s not necessary to print anything.
Encouraging staff participation
To encourage our staff to seriously consider the issue of reducing our carbon footprint, we have implemented a range of internal initiatives. As well as providing recycling bins in several meeting points, we publish regular articles in our staff newsletter and for our intranet on how staff can be more environmentally-friendly. We also encourage staff who liaise with external suppliers to communicate our commitment to becoming carbon neutral and encourage everyone who works with us to consider the same. For those who use company vehicles, we are adding hybrid and electric cars to the fleet, and have had charging points fitted in our car park.
The environment won’t be fixed in the near future but if we all do what we can to help reduce our carbon footprint, both in our personal and working lives, we will be heading in the right direction.
[i] R. S. Nerem, B. D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B. D. Hamlington, D. Masters and G. T. Mitchum. "Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era." PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717312115
[ii] NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Published May 15, 2023
[iii] The Future of Forests: Emissions from Tropical Deforestation with and without a Carbon Price, 2016–2050. Busch & Engelmann. Center for Global Development.