AESSEAL boss says Yorkshire can lead the way on the switch to greener manufacturing

Yorkshire can lead the way in the transition to greener manufacturing, one of the North’s leading industrialists has claimed.

Chris Rea, managing director of Rotherham-based engineering firm AESSEAL, told The Yorkshire Post that the move towards net-zero represented a “standout” opportunity for the region and said that he was dedicated to helping share best practice solutions to the manufacturing industry in order to minimise and eradicate their environmental damage.

AESSEAL is one of the first major engineering businesses in South Yorkshire to achieve net zero for its stage 1 and stage 2 emissions in the UK business and has gone beyond net zero for 2021, with proven net savings generated as a result of the adoption of its water management systems by global industry.

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The firm, which is a headline sponsor of The Yorkshire Post’s upcoming Climate Summit in November, has also acted to reduce general waste by 50 per cent as a ratio to turnover in the decade to 2018.

AESSEAL boss Chris Rea. NICHOLAS FREEMAN 246PHOTOGRAPHY

More latterly, AESSEAL has founded the Betterworld.Solutions programme to encourage global businesses to both adopt an investment policy to prevent global warming and to share best practice.

However, Mr Rea, who founded AESSEAL in 1979, said that the firm’s commitment to environmental sustainability was not a business-led decision.

“We are not doing this for AESSEAL, we are doing it for my grandchildren,” he said.

“We are doing this to be a best practice exemplar for businesses who need to deal with emissions under our control and to try and get their supply base to join in.

Pollution over the London skyline.

“We believe the transition to a net-zero economy is the standout opportunity for our region and that’s why we are backing The Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit 2021 – to put environmentally friendly business behaviour at centre stage as the UK recovers from the pandemic.

“Yorkshire can lead the way in this next industrial revolution with factories of the future run by solar panels, ground source heat pumps, voltage optimisation and batteries.

“If you need any evidence of the importance of the climate agenda, look at the crippling floods, droughts and heatwaves taking place across our planet.”

AESSEAL operates worldwide and employs more than 1,700 people, being the fourth largest producer of mechanical seals on the planet.

Wildfires are becoming more common.

Mr Rea concedes that persuading other companies to alter their working practices to become more sustainable is rarely a straight-forward conversation but he added he felt this would alter over time as the costs of failing to offset began to mount up.

“We are not trying to do Government policy, that is macro,” said Mr Rea.

“In order to reach targets some people have got to do things quicker because some areas will be slow.

“We are trying to share common sense best practice that you could actually make some money, save the planet, win an environmental award – why wouldn’t you do it?”

Mr Rea’s firm’s interest in sustainability was piqued when it deployed new transformers that improved the efficiency of energy transfer into its South Yorkshire factory. Using a voltage optimiser AESSEAL was able to stop power being wasted and ended up saving 12 per cent of the electricity consumed by the factory.

It is simple things like this that Mr Rea hopes that Betterworld can help spread awareness of.

He said: “There are businesses all over the world who on an industrial scale boil water and they pour hundreds of millions of gallons of cold water into the process at the same time they are evaporating it out.

“The energy loses are mammoth, I mean absolutely scandalous and catastrophic.

“It’s frying the planet.”

The Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit will be staged on Tuesday, November 9 in Leeds and will bring together a range of politicians, business leaders, academics and media.

The conference will take place at Leeds tech firm aql’s Salem Chapel venue, bringing together around 150 to 200 attendees and speakers to the live event, which will then be broadcast to the wider virtual audience.

Betterworld.Solutions is the headline sponsor with aql, NatWest, Hermes and the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission also supporting the event.

Visit www.yorkshireclimatechange.co.uk for earlybird tickets.