Fabweld Steel Products is celebrating 35 fabulous years of trading with a commitment to shift up a gear on its journey to net zero in 2024.
The company celebrated the landmark year by giving each member of staff a bottle of Champagne ahead of the Christmas and New Year break.
FSP manufacture access covers and steel products for the water, energy and security sectors and has invested more than £0.5m in the past five years to make the business more sustainable.
Managing director Wayne Carter said: “We are extremely proud to be celebrating 35 years of trading and wanted to thank all our fantastic staff for the part they play every day in making us a success.
“But we know that we have to drive the progress to net zero and become truly sustainable to be just as successful over the next 35 years. That is why we are deepening our commitment to our environmental responsibilities even further in 2024.”
Last year the company installed a new nitrogen generator, which is predominantly powered by the solar panels on the factory roof. Large amounts of nitrogen are used in the precision laser cutting of steel products, but by making its own nitrogen onsite, Fabweld can cut out the carbon emissions associated with 40+ bulk gas deliveries a year while also controlling production costs.
The factory solar panels are also being used to power a double fast EV charger, which was made available for public use last Autumn. EV drivers in the local area can now benefit from discounted rates, particularly at weekends when the solar panels are providing clean energy but the factory is not open to use it.
Wayne added: “The nitrogen generator and EV chargers were big wins for us last year, but we can’t stop there if we are to hit our target of halving emissions by 2030 and becoming net zero by 2050.
“We are working on our road map with an external consultancy, and there is much more to come in 2024. For example, we are planning to extend our rooftop solar PV installation and introduce energy storage batteries to capitalise on the energy generated. We will also be investigating and offsetting the embedded carbon in our own supply chain. We can’t leave stones unturned because the effects of climate change are already on our doorstep.
“We know that 2023 was one of the wettest years on record, and the nation’s infrastructure has been tested to the limit, particularly with the four named storms which hit in October/November.
“We offer a range of standard and bespoke steel products to alleviate issues in water infrastructure which can lead to flooding, and this is certainly a growth area for us. Last year we even made a one-off trash screen for a client near Bedford to help keep their storm ditches running freely, after a major flood event in 2020 increased the need for such measures.”
Sustainability for Fabweld also extends to the way the business supports the local economy through the provision of good quality jobs. In August 2023, the company announced its first ever part-time evening shift (6pm-10pm) to provide access to jobs for part time workers and those looking for second jobs to supplement their income. The company continues to hire part- and full-time workers and apprentices at a time when others are making redundancies.
“2023 was a tough year for many people – including us as a business – but we strive to operate in a way that benefits our company and its staff, our customers and the environment. This ethos will underpin our plans for 2024, which we hope to meld into another successful year,” added Wayne.