The environmental impact of our operations has featured in our thinking since production began over 20 years ago. Long before it became fashionable, our instincts were to mend or reuse resources, rather than consume, and to focus on locally-sourced parts.
Any manufacturing operation inevitably generates a degree of waste. Over the years, we have taken advantage of developments that reduce the environmental impact of our operations; some small and incremental, others more significant and immediate, such as moving our electricity supply to Ecotricity a "green electricity" provider in 2007.
But we also wanted to do something visible to our consumers, so...
We asked Cranfield University to conduct an audit of our operations, allowing anyone to see how separate parts of the supply chain contribute to the “carbon footprint” of the bike they buy, and how far they would have to ride their Brompton to offset the carbon that went into its manufacture and distribution. This assessment was carried out in compliance with PAS 2050, the official standard for calculating a product's carbon output.
The PAS 2050 was developed in response to industry and stakeholder desires for a consistent method for assessing the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of products. It recognises the potential for companies to use this method to better understand the GHG emissions in their supply chains. It provides a single standard to ensure a comparable approach to supply chain assessment of lifecycle GHGs across markets.
Brompton Bicycle is committed to:
In line with the company environmental policy, Brompton Bicycle Ltd's Recycling Strategy is defined as follows:
Waste production in manufacturing and assembly processes will be minimised.
All manufacturing processes are controlled to minimise the use of raw materials and ensure the efficient use of machinery, with Production Engineering and Design staff liaising to minimise the operations required on components used in the assembly of bicycles.
All paper and cardboard goods produced for use by Brompton use as much recycled material as possible; where appropriate vegetable inks are used in the printing process.
Recycling of waste will be maximised.
All waste materials produced in the manufacturing and assembly processes are collected and, wherever possible, recycled. Principal wastes are cardboard and metal, and these are collected and disposed of in communal waste skips used by Brompton and our neighbours on the industrial estate, Mercedes Cars Repair Workshop. Supervisory staff for manufacturing and assembly sections are tasked with ensuring recyclable materials are suitably separated and collected.
Waste materials from the offices are collected, with paper and cardboard separated out and recycled. Printer toner cartridges are returned to the supplier for re-use.
Canteen waste has plastic bottles and aluminium cans separately collected from general waste.
Fluorescent tubes are disposed of via a specialist contractor, Mercury Recycling of Trafford Park, Manchester.
General waste is collected and treated by Biffa Waste Services of High Wycombe, prior to consignment to landfill.
Recycling of batteries used in cycle lights was introduced in 2010 and is available for employees to dispose of batteries used at home.
End of life recycling of bicycles is being investigated and a scheme will be introduced in 2013.
In line with the company environmental policy, Brompton Bicycle Ltd's Energy Efficiency Strategy is defined as follows:
Energy will be purchased from sustainable sources:
- the company will purchase it’s main energy source, electricity, from an environmentally friendly and sustainable source.
Since 2007 Brompton has purchased all electricity from the renewable energy electricity generating company, Ecotricity.
Electricity usage will be minimised:
- the company will ensure that all new electrical lighting systems will use energy efficient light fittings, lamps and controls.
- electrical equipment and machinery purchased will be assessed for the energy efficiency as an integral part of the purchasing process.
In a factory and office refurbishment program from September 2007 through to June 2008, all low level shopfloor lighting was replaced with low energy fluorescent lighting with local motion detection control. High level factory lighting was put onto ambient light level control, ensuring minimisation of use of hi-bay light units. Canteen lighting is similarly under occupation control, as are all office areas, which are additionally ambient light level controlled, so the office lighting is from dimmable lighting units.
Office equipment is assessed for energy efficiency prior to purchase; all VDU screens have now been changed from cathode ray to LCD screens, with the exception of two of our designers' machines.
Gas usage will be minimised:
- the gas consumption for heating the office and factory space will be minimised by the use of efficient domestic boilers for office spaces and water heating, with overhead radiant tube heating used for the main factory space
The office and canteen refurbishment program involved the fitting of two new combination boilers for the main office and canteen area heating and provision of hot water. Thermostatic radiator valves were fitted to all new radiators, and the main hot water cylinder at the canteen boiler installation was supplied with a secondary heating coil to allow the fitting of a solar-powered heating circuit for the hot water supply.
In 2009 a new energy efficient control system was installed to allow intelligent control of the radiant heating to the factory floor areas. This system self-learns as it controls the temperature of the three main heating zones, ensuring a minimal warm-up time is used depending on the outside temperature, inside temperature, target temperature and known heat-up characteristics for each zone.