SYNETIQ, based in Doncaster, is Britain’s largest integrated salvage and dismantling company. They have launched a sustainability strategy, ‘Our Road to Tomorrow’, focussed on growing green parts usage in automotive repairs and putting sustainability at the heart of their operations. Two employees from SYNETIQ explained the motivation behind the sustainability strategy and the actions taken so far.
What was the motivation behind SYNETIQ’s sustainability plan?
SYNETIQ is sustainable by nature as we process and sell recycled automotive parts, but we wanted to do more. We already surpass the EU’s End of Life Vehicle (ELV) recycling target, recycling 95.3% of vehicles. Our sustainability strategy looks at the ways we can make our operations more sustainable across our operations, from electrifying our delivery fleet to energy usage at our different sites.
What are the steps have you taken so far?
We have various projects on the go, but a key initiative has been our carbon literacy training. Our sustainability workstream has representatives from all the different departments at SYNETIQ (finance, marketing and the Executive Board, for example). Early on, a key question was ‘how can we engage our people on sustainability’? We decided to create our own accredited Carbon Literacy course, with the Carbon Literacy Project. Over 176 employees have completed or signed up to the training so far and we were the first in our industry to become a Bronze certified Carbon Literate Organisation in June 2021
At the moment, a scoping exercise is underway to understand carbon emissions across the business, so we can set our emissions reduction targets going forward. Understanding emission sources has been key, and one step already taken has been investing in the software BigChange, which improves route planning and therefore reduces unnecessary mileage for our delivery vehicles.
Having the detailed breakdown of our emissions has been really useful. For example, the data showed we were using more energy at some sites compared to others, so we are now looking into installing solar panels. Other ‘quick wins’ include installing LED lighting across our sites and looking at our packaging and trying to reduce our plastic usage.
Have you worked with any partners?
There has been a real shift in perception of recycled, green parts in the past 15 years. Insurance policy holders are being encouraged to use green parts for non-safety critical replacements in their vehicles, and in some cases this is being written into the policy itself. We decided to commission Oakdene Hollins to look at the CO2e savings of using green parts in automotive repairs. The assessment showed the carbon savings were considerable, allowing us to share this data with clients and driving us to keep improving on these savings going forward.
What would you say to other businesses thinking about taking this step?
It is 100% worth it. As sustainability is important for so many of our clients, it’s important to them that we are serious about it too.
The Carbon Literacy training in particular has been brilliant – there is such a buzz around SYNETIQ about sustainability and climate change. We try and use case studies from the company for the training so that it’s relevant, and people have spent so much time on their commitments and their homework. People are making changes in their personal lives, and making great suggestions at work about how SYNETIQ can keep improving on sustainability. It’s made all the hard work worth it. We have even been asked by some of our clients if we can deliver training to their employees.
It’s a win-win situation. Through the Carbon Literacy training people are leading healthier, more sustainable lives and even saving on their energy bills, and it has encouraged pride and enthusiasm for their work at SYNETIQ. On our Winsford site, there are 100 other business on the industrial estate, and we have offered some carbon literacy taster sessions to see if this is something they would be interested in rolling out at their organisations. We have to spread the Carbon Literacy word and get as many people as possible on board!