Our products and services help our customers to reduce their impact on the environment. We are also mindful to reduce our direct impact on the environment by monitoring the use of key sources of energy (electricity, gas, oil and steam) in our continual effort to reduce consumption and save costs.
Energy efficiency (energy use per £m revenue) is one of our key performance indicators related to accelerating our operational excellence. This remains at a similar level compared to 2017, in spite of absolute energy consumption increasing by 7% over the same period due to improved data collection and an expanding portfolio of business activities. The energy consumption table on the right shows that an increase in electricity consumption is primarily responsible for the increase in energy use, and it remains the single largest energy source for our business.
Our carbon footprint reduced overall due to slight increases in scope 2 and 3 emissions being offset by a large reduction in scope 1 emissions. Scope 1 emissions reduced by 34% compared to 2017, owing to a decrease in oil and refrigerant usage and a significant drop in vehicle emissions, partly aided by our new reporting system which allows the more accurate recording of carbon footprint data across the Group. Scope 2 emissions rose slightly as a result of the increase in electricity use described above, although this was mitigated partly by grid decarbonisation. Scope 3 emissions increased as a result of increased air travel related to the EMS Brüel & Kjær joint venture and divestment of Microscan. For the Group as a whole, this results in a net 4% decrease in greenhouse gas (‘GHG’) emissions and therefore carbon emissions per £m of revenue were brought down significantly by 11%.
From 2018, the Group began to monitor GHG emissions related to the transport of products to market. Using a recognised emissions conversion methodology, ‘freight forwarding’ emissions data captured will be used to inform future analysis of the Group’s scope 3 emissions. ISO 14001 is an international standard (‘ISO‘) setting out criteria for the formulation and maintenance of an environmental management system. Certification to ISO 14001 requires an organisation to effectively manage its environmental impacts through commitments to pollution prevention, legal compliance and continual improvement. Approximately 60% of Spectris’ key manufacturing operations by turnover are certified to ISO 14001. No environmental risks have currently been assessed as being material to the business, however, we keep this under review and take seriously our responsibility to minimise our impact and recognise the opportunities and risks to the business of climate-related issues.
From 2018, we started to capture detailed waste data relating to our sites, including landfill, incineration and recycling. This will provide us with a clearer picture of the physical waste that our sites produce and the proportion of recycling achieved by our operations. We will review this data periodically throughout 2019 to identify opportunities for reducing waste. In 2018, we launched a new online reporting tool to centralise and streamline the capture of all our corporate responsibility data. The tool will enable us to conduct more comprehensive analysis and monitor progress against sustainability objectives at more regular intervals throughout the year.