With record temperatures surging throughout the globe this July, the era of ‘global boiling’, as its now coined, has seemingly arrived with a vengeance.
The need to drive decarbonisation has never been greater. Increased energy costs – which still remain above pre-pandemic levels despite the drop of wholesale gas prices by 46 per cent since last June – along with volatile weather conditions has sparked alarm bells across the globe.
While UK prime minister Rishi Sunak has recently sanctioned hundreds of new oil and gas licenses for the UK, potentially bringing the country’s 2050 Net Zero target into question, John Davidson, Managing Director of temperature-controlled solutions specialist JS Davidson, has urged the industry to continue pressing on with their sustainability targets.
To assist in driving the industry forward in matching the UK’s goal of bringing down all greenhouse emissions to net zero, the Cold Chain Federation launched its own Net Zero Project in 2020, which aims to help the industry to meet the challenge of decarbonising the UK economy.
Data on the impact the cold chain sector has on the UK’s overall carbon footprint is not clear-cut, however it has been estimated that food refrigeration systems – which are a major element of the wider cold chain network – account for approximately between two and four per cent of total GHG emissions in the UK.
With this in mind John Davidson believes there is a responsibility for the industry, along with the nation, to press forward with sustainability plans, not only to help fight to climate change but also to future proof temperature-controlled businesses in the years and decades to come.
John said: “The need to invest into alternative means of energy has never been greater. With environmental sustainability high on the global agenda in a bid to tackle the ever-worsening climate crisis, the industry has a responsibility to play its part in helping to drive forward its sustainability plans.
“Understandably as a consequence of the rise in inflation and interest rates investment into alternative energy sources may have to be put on hold for the time being for some temperature-controlled operators, but compromising on sustainability plans altogether is very much a false economy. We are actively noticing year on year that as the nation becomes more acutely aware of the harm greenhouse gases causes to the environment, more onus is being placed on the industry to think greener in every aspect of their operation. This is particularly apparent with regards to buy-in from customers both existing and new when they learn of our ongoing investment programme into renewables.
“Therefore, while safeguarding the environment is a significant benefit of considering alternative sources of energy, there can also be long-term financial benefits for operators. Implementing energy-saving measures can lead to reduced operational costs over time through lowering energy bills, as well as provide operators the opportunity to identify areas within their business which are inefficient, replacing them with more sustainable processes, systems, or technologies.
According to John Davidson maximising efficiency and investing into alternative means of energy will be key to offsetting emissions for temperature-controlled operators in the UK and beyond, with capitalising upon new and innovative technologies a fundamental driver for reducing carbon consumption – something that indeed his company, JS Davidson, has successfully integrated into its operation in recent years, and is already experiencing tangible benefits as a result.
John Davidson said: “As a progressive business, we have consistently explored sustainability opportunities when available and conducted an ongoing investment programme in its site facilities to ensure maximum energy efficiency is retained.
“This has included converting our entire lighting system across both our sites to the latest LED technology as well as upgrading the insulation used to line the building to better thermal performance panels, ensuring as little cold escapes as possible. This year, we will be introducing a number of ground breaking renewable energy processes to further reduce our greenhouse emissions as well as general dependency on non-renewable energy sources. “