Sustainability through action
Unipart Group is a multinational logistics, supply chain, manufacturing and consultancy company with over 10,000 employees across Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan.
Having identified sustainability as a key means of driving growth in its business, Unipart signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero, the global campaign to achieve net zero by 2040. Unipart also committed to the Science Based Targets initiative, a framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science. Committing to science-based net zero commitments was a crucial step to driving collaborative action across different parts of the business, as well as in being able to communicate their journey publicly.
Unipart began measuring its Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint in 2019, and in 2021 began measuring also Scope 3 emissions. Against its updated 2021 baseline, Unipart has committed to achieving a 90% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040.
Given that Unipart’s work spans a variety of sectors, including automotive, retail, technology and rail, the actions being taken to reduce carbon emissions are tailored to specific sectors but are all underlined by setting ambitious targets and innovating to remove carbon from their products and processes.
Early actions in its rail network included introducing solar powered substations and signals and reducing the voltage of signals from 240V to 24V. Quick wins in its facilities included replacing roller shutter doors with rapid rise doors and installing LED lighting. In its warehousing division, Unipart procured 100% renewable sourced electricity in 2020 and green gas certification in 2022, and has implemented a range of carbon-cutting actions from installing motion-sensor lights in warehouses to upgrading its diesel fleet of lorries.
Embedding a sustainability culture has been core to Unipart’s sustainability strategy. As part of the process of identifying ways to reduce its carbon footprint, every team across the Group was invited to use Unipart’s problem-solving tools to identify potential improvements to aspects of sustainability in the areas in which they worked. This process both raised staff awareness of its sustainability drive and produced a range of ideas including removing plug-in heaters and using paper tape and recycled boxes in its packaging materials.
As a result of its work to become a net zero company, Unipart has not only achieved cost savings resulting from lower energy consumption but has found that being ahead of the game has brought with it wider commercial benefits, from better engagement with colleagues and customers to lifecycle analyses of products proving to be a competitive advantage.
Related courses and resources
Surveys show that a large majority of global consumers expect companies to be run in a socially responsible manner, with 81% saying they are more likely to buy from brands with similar values to their own. Full IoD members can request a template CSR policy for your company from the Information & Advisory Service.