It might have been a trend once, but policies of social and environmental responsibility are here to stay. And now, Sapa is intertwining its sustainability practices with suppliers and customers.
More than half of multinational companies are reporting their acts in the field of social responsibility and environment. In a globalised world, following principles of sustainability has become critical to a company’s credibility and endurance.
Ye Yan, a development engineer specializing in sustainability at Sapa Heat Transfer, sees the growing interest in both environmental as social sustainability as a logical development.
“It is obvious that providing a good working environment and good relations with the local community is good for a company’s operations,” she says. “And it is logical that energy saving processes as well as investments in renewable energies and energy saving products are encouraged, taking into account that we have limited resources and growing prices.”
Sapa Heat Transfer is now working actively in the integration of sustainability along a Sustainability Value Chain, promoting cooperation with suppliers and customers. A recent workshop organised by Sapa in Sweden gave the company the opportunity to share and discuss these issues with customers and researchers.
Replicating a sustainability value chain, Sapa Heat Transfer was joined at its workshop by TitanX, a global heat exchanger supplier for commercial vehicles and off-highway markets, and Volvo Construction Equipment, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction machines.
The Blekinge Institute of Technology (bth), where Sapa is sponsoring research projects related to sustainability, also took part in this event. bth presented research related with its Master Programme of Sustainable Product Innovation.
“We shared the perception that consumers and the public in general are pushing sustainability, keeping an eye on the environmental impact, the energy consumption and the social performance of companies and their products. This public engagement is driving change,” says Ye Yan commenting the output of the Sapa Heat Transfer sustainability workshop.
It was also evident that sustainability must be built up along the whole value chain. “From ‘cradle to grave’ perspective, the sustainability of a product it is not only determined by its design or manufacturing methods but also by the sustainability of the suppliers of raw materials and components used to produce it,” says Ye Yan. “In that sense, Sapa has a privileged position taking into account the high percentages of recycled aluminium used in our manufacturing processes,” she explains.
ERICO OLLER WESTERBERG
A sustainable Sapa Heat Transfer
“We implement sustainable development at two levels: organisation and product. To create a sustainable organisation, we focus on working in harmony with local communities, building stable and trustworthy relationships with customers and suppliers, improving operational efficiency, and creating a better working environment for employees. At product level, we strive to work with sustainable product innovation, such as increasing recycled aluminium as raw material, while maintaining competitive product performance.” Three musts for sustainability • To increase awareness in the internal organisation • To engage and cooperate with suppliers and customers • To develop sustainable innovation to ensure competitiveness