True Sustainability to Customers

True Sustainability to Customers

By John Dignan, Managing Director, Dynamic EMS

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For quite some time, corporate social responsibility and sustainability have been targets for businesses across almost every industry in the UK. How to make businesses greener, while reducing waste to a minimum makes good business sense in general, so it is no surprise. The ISO 14001 standard has even been developed to provide a way of certifying companies as meeting a defined set of green objectives. Many companies look at gaining ISO 14001 certification as a good job done. This is true to an extent – meeting the requirements of the standard is definitely an achievement in itself, but does that mean that all the hard work is over? Personally, I think ISO 14001 is a just the beginning of the journey to sustainably and a platform to build upon, rather than the end-point in itself. 

When Dynamic EMS was in the process of achieving ISO 14001 certification, I found a lot of the requirements pushed the company in the right direction, but stopped short of the need to meet real sustainability. At one point, I was even reminded of a time when I tried to be more sustainable in my own life, which led to me separating my household waste for recycling. Later, I discovered those carefully separated piles were all being disposed of in the same waste container by the contractor. In some ways, gaining ISO 14001 appears similar, it is possible to meet the set objectives without really complying with the spirit of the standard or making progress towards real sustainability. 

Some companies may be happy to tick off the boxes and hang the resulting certificate in the corporate foyer, but I believed in sustainability as an objective that would bring tangible rewards and was determined to push further. In business, I’ve always been a proponent of looking to the longer term and building a network of trusted partners as both customers and suppliers that would help Dynamic EMS to achieve those long-term goals. By putting a greater emphasis on sustainability through that supply chain, the combined business and sustainability gains had the potential to be much greater than they would be for a company acting alone.

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One of the first things I did to take the business beyond ISO 14001 was to get in touch with The Verdancy Group to assess the processes in place at Dynamic EMS. The Verdancy Group was founded to increase awareness of the circular economy and sustainability. The organisation was originally founded as Wasteswitch, and then as its focus grew beyond the elimination of waste from businesses, it changed its name to reflect the fact that it was dedicated to sustainability and the green economy as a whole. It works with companies, educational establishments and the community, offering courses in a variety of formats to meet its goal of promoting the circular economy.

According to Wikipedia, the circular economy “is an economic system aimed at the continual use of resources and eliminating waste”. The target of the circular economy is try to cut resource inputs as much as possible and reduce waste and emissions. The philosophy has been gaining popularity with businesses, as well as organisations like the EU, which has formulated a Circular Economy Action Plan to promote “initiatives along the entire life cycle of products, targeting their design, promoting circular economy processes and fostering sustainable consumption.”

From talking to the staff from The Verdancy Group during the process assessment, I realised that the circular economy provided a framework for the changes I already wanted to make in the company. Since the circular economy is focussed on the whole lifecycle of products, and manufacturing only forms a small part of that lifecycle, buy-in would be required from Dynamic EMS’ partner network. Fortunately, I have always prioritised building a close and trusted network of partners that encompassed the full supply chain. This made it much easier to work alongside The Verdancy Group and persuade the full partner network to buy into the programme. Our customers would have to change the way they look at the full design process and take additional factors, such as materials and excess packaging into account. In some cases, especially in those customers with younger product designers, very little persuasion was required, as they had sustainability as part of their education and the changes we wanted to make were ones that they were already trying to push inside their own companies. Our suppliers were also very receptive to our message as the business case for a sustainable workplace was compelling and they had also been looking for ways to improve their own processes and reduce waste.

Inside Dynamic EMS, along with The Verdancy Group, we set to make the changes that we had identified as a series of continuous improvements. These changes took in every aspect of the business, including equipment, processes and employees. Moving to a circular economy requires not only buy-in from employees, but a real change in their mindset and behaviour. People are key to the success of the circular economy, as it will be them who we will rely on to identify improvements in our equipment and processes in the future and help with remedial actions. I’ve always been enthusiastic about the development of Dynamic EMS’ staff through education and courses, so the building of a sustainable mindset into training was a natural progression of what we were already practising. Mental and physical well-being also keeps staff operating at full efficiency.   

Like all of worthwhile initiatives, the drive for sustainability through the implementation of the circular economy is a long-term process. In the future, perhaps after this COVID 19 epidemic, the speed of on-shoring electronic production could easily accelerate. Having a company that is sustainable from the ground up will ensure that Dynamic EMS is in prime position to take advantage of any future trend. And as the idea of the circular economy gains a stronger foothold in the UK, more companies will themselves look to move beyond ISO 14001, and specifically look for partners, like Dynamic EMS, who can help them set out on their own journey to true sustainability. 

About Dynamic EMS

At Dynamic EMS, we understand that no two-electronic equipment manufacturing customers are the same.  Their products, their supply chains, and their markets all differ, which is why Dynamic EMS offers tailor-made, customised electronics manufacturing services to customers with complex, highly diversified business.

From design to distribution, we enable our customers to be more competitive by bringing innovative solutions to market faster, with a commitment to quality in everything we do.  Dynamic EMS – Your Product Solutions Architect.

Enabling Market Solutions for all technology companies.

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About The Verdancy Group

Sustainable minds lead to sustainable actions:

We at ‘The Verdancy Group’ have developed a comprehensive offering of courses and training materials to support our business partners as they plan for the future.

Our courses range from short awareness raising modules to longer accredited and industry-recognised awards. Courses can be tailored and branded to individual, group or business requirements.

As the world’s transition towards a net-zero norm gathers pace, we foresee nations, governments and businesses of all sizes making sustainability, the environment, and the circular economy all priorities.

But an organisations’ ability to reduce its carbon footprint relies on its people. Our vision, “sustainable minds lead to sustainable actions”, can only be achieved if we support our people with the learning and resources necessary to spark change.

Net Zero is a fantastic commitment, but do your people and your wider supply chain understand the role they play in realising that vision? A culture change takes every member of your team and starts with explaining fundamental principles like what a carbon footprint is, for example, and the meaning behind ‘net zero emissions’.

Our value is achieved when we work with an organisation to scope, consult and create the learning and engagement content required to make that change. Several our clients have already made the sustainable commitments for now and in the future and have shared those ambitions internally and in the public domain. We understand that terms such as “net zero”, “carbon neutral” and “zero waste to landfill” impact a wide and diverse workforce in many ways, but what roles and to what detail, do your people need to understand this? We have the expertise within our business to support at all levels. Designing and creating content from the appropriate awareness and informative modules while shaping them to being more significant learning and development outcomes.

Our approach is simple but effective. We start by listening – not telling. We are able to propose and suggest engagement and awareness strategies that will form the basis of your people development or we can utilise the tools that we have to support current internal learning and people functions. We possess the subject expertise within our network, along with the learning and people engagement, which is at the heart of what we do.