We are working hard to decarbonise our own operations – to produce our products more efficiently and to reduce our own CO2 emissions. We are investing in new materials and process technologies to improve the performance of our products, and to deliver greater environmental and safety benefits to our customers.
Through their life, our products typically save 10s or 100s of times the CO2 emitted in manufacture. We estimate that around 60% of our products make a positive contribution, making the world more sustainable and improving the quality of life.
We make ceramic cores that are used to cast turbine blades for aero engines and industrial gas turbines. Our customers come to us for their most demanding applications, for example when they need to hold very fine features on small components. And these demanding applications arise as the next generation engines run hotter to be more efficient. Our cores enable those engine technologies.
We produce some of the leading brush grades for wind turbines, offering longer lifetimes than our competitors. In addition to enabling wind technology, we also drive lower maintenance activity, and costs, for the wind farm operators, further reducing the CO2 footprint.
In the electrified rail market, we produce a range of collector strips and carbon shoes to connect the train to the power cable or rail. In the metro market in China, we have developed a wide range of high performance material grades to perform in the very varied climatic conditions across China. Our products directly enable electrified rail, and offer superior lifetimes, further reducing CO2 emissions.
In 2022, we undertook a pilot study in cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) of our products. The study gave us insight into our upstream impacts, from both the raw materials that we purchase and the transport used to bring them to our manufacturing facilities, but also other fuel-related emissions, waste and water consumption. Internally it allowed us to compare the footprint of the same products produced at different sites, and to understand which parts of the processes were contributing to these differences.
This year we are completing environmental product declarations (EPDs) and product carbon footprints on key products to better support our customers with their sustainability ambitions. LCA software and training is being rolled out at our Carbon Centre of Excellence, to support the development of future sustainable materials platforms. This will allow us to work with our key stakeholders to reduce both direct and indirect emissions, minimising the complete life cycle impacts of our products. Gaining insight into the full life cycle impact of our products will help us to embed circular economy principles into our product design.