Case studies

Examples of the extraordinary value available to manufacturing companies from non-labour resource productivity follow below. Please note that this is a living document and we welcome additions; please submit your case studies with quantified costs and benefits to:

Process Industry Company US$2B NPV from GHG Management
A global process industries company developed a greenhouse gas emissions management plan that identified 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (16 M tonnes of CO2e per annum) at a net present value of US$2B.  The initiatives were developed with input from the company’s engineers, who signed off on the savings and went on to support the initiatives in the implementation phase. (Source: Lavery Pennell)

Toyota Motor Europe Footprint Reduction
In Europe, Toyota reduced its energy usage per vehicle by over 70% from 1993 to 2007. In the same period it also reduced water use per vehicle by over 75%, and waste produced per vehicle by over 60%. These savings brought substantial financial benefits. In the below video, taken at the 2013 Industrial Sustainability conference at the University of Cambridge, Steve Hope explains the systems, processes, culture, enablers, tools and habits that have helped Toyota to achieve these savings and reach the top of their industry.

Chemicals Plant GHG Emissions Reduction
A global chemicals producer identified how to reduce the footprint of one of its sites to almost zero greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, it reduced costs and avoided hefty financial penalties that would have forced the closure of the site. The measures were considered low risk because they used existing proven technologies. (Source: Lavery Pennell)

Fuji Xerox’s New Sustainable Business Model
When Fuji Xerox was facing closure in Australia because the cost of importing copiers from Japan made it uncompetitive, it changed its business model. Instead of importing equipment, it began remanufacturing components recovered from its installed base of copiers. Not only did this enable the business in Australia to return to profitability, but the new model was adopted internationally by Xerox – lifting profits globally and winning environmental awards.

Interface Invents TacTiles
Interface is a global leader in carpet tiles who is focused on achieving a more sustainable business. As part of this quest the Interface team looked beyond the carpet tiles to how the tiles are adhered to a floor. They realized that glue, the traditional solution, is slow, messy, wasteful, and produced toxic volatile organic compounds. So they invented TacTiles, 75mm by 75mm adhesive squares that hold the corners of carpet tiles together to form a single exact-fitting carpet that does not need to be attached to the floor. They do not use glue and allow quick and easy removal and replacement of carpet tiles. An elegant, sustainable solution with clear benefits for customers, Tactiles have created new revenues for the company.

Sharp Recycles Plastics
In 2001 Sharp began a three step process to efficiently recycle its plastics which resulted in an increase in the use of recycled plastic in appliances from 40 tonnes in 2001 to 1,300 tonnes in 2010:
1. Working with Kansai Recycling Systems Company, a plastic recycling technology was developed to recover the plastic used in its consumer electronics.
2. Recovery rates were then improved by investing in improved recovery processes.
3. To add value to the recycled plastic, Sharp collaborated with Ube Industries to develop an improved pigmentation solution and a flame retardant technology, expanding the applications of recycled plastic to include, for example, use in the exterior panels of home appliances.

HP Cartridge Recycling
From 1991 to 2011, 1 billion HP ink and LaserJet printer cartridges have been returned and recycled worldwide thanks to the HP Planet Partners Return and Recycling program. Recycled plastic in HP ink cartridges has up to a 22% smaller carbon footprint than virgin plastic, reduces fossil fuels by 50% and water consumption by 69%.

General Motors’ $1 Billion p.a. from Recycling
General Motors now recycles and reuses 90% of its worldwide manufacturing waste. Saving  2.4 million tons of material every year improves company profits by $1 billion annually and saved more than ten million tons of CO2e emissions in 2011.

Ford Shutting Off Equipment When It’s Not Required
Due to challenging business conditions, production at Ford’s Geelong plant in Australia had been reduced. This typically increases the energy intensity of the operation because the plant is not running at an optimal level. Ford worked closely with its staff to identify opportunities and develop new start-up and shut-down procedures. A 30% reduction in energy costs was achieved in the first year. (Case study from DRET, Industry Perspectives from the 2012 EEO workshops, 2013)

Baker’s Delight Saves 32% of Energy
In Australia, a showcase Baker’s Delight bread bakery saved 32% of energy and 48% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to similar conventional bakeries. It achieved this through improvements in building fit out, baking practices and equipment. (Detailed case study at

Sony Recycles Playstations
Facing increasing competition for customers and wishing to reduce their costs, in the 2000’s Sony Computer Entertainment Europe developed a service exchange repair model. This exchanges a customer’s faulty product with a remanufactured unit – reducing customer waiting time and removing time pressure from the repair process. The faulty units are then reused (with minor repairs as necessary), remanufactured or used as spare parts – saving on manufacturing of new parts/units. From 2004 to 2007, 6.8 million parts from both the Playstation and Playstation2 were reused. 85% of consoles required minor repairs, 9% required more complex repair such as replacement of motherboards, and 6% of consoles were irreparable and entered into the component reclamation process. (Source:

Bakers Basko’s Better Bakery Baskets
Recognising the synergies of having a purpose-designed industry standard bakery basket which is reused, in 2006 Allied Bakeries, Hovis, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons and Warburtons formed Bakers Basco to buy, manage and police a new basket: the Omega Basket. The Omega Basket was designed to reduce bread handling and simplify retailers’ replenishment process, enable easier customer identification of products, and be easily returnable. Today around 3 million Omega Baskets are in circulation and Basco’s scheme is open to all bakers who can meet the specified criteria (which include care obligations). Through its operating model, recovery procedures and fines/prosecutions for basket abuse, Basco is reducing basket losses to landfill and abuse – from historical loss rates ranging from 40% to 100%. (See

Maersk Line Prepares for Improved Ship Recycling
In order to better sort materials upon the breakup of a ship, Maersk Line has developed an online database which will act as an inventory of parts (and their condition) throughout the 30-year life of their ships. This will enable the tracked materials, including the 60,000 tonnes of steel per ship, to be sorted and processed more effectively towards securing a higher price when sold. (More information at

Interface Collaborate with Energy Supply Chain
Seeking a better solution to its natural gas needs, Interface looked beyond its site boundaries to find energy partners who could improve their triple bottom line performance. They found and contracted with a local landfill gas project which also voluntarily remediated the air and groundwater contamination from the municipal landfill. The resulting deal generated a long-term revenue stream for the city, offset a large percentage of Interface’s entire North American manufacturing carbon footprint (thanks to the emissions savings that burning landfill gas creates) and also saved Interface 30% on the unit cost of the energy. (Source: 2degrees, Beyond Lean, 2012 at

Adnams Reduces 500ml Bottle Weight by 33%
Adnams found that half of the carbon footprint of their beer arises from the production of their glass bottle. So they created a lighter bottle, reducing its CO² footprint by 415 tonnes per year and saving 624 tonnes a year of glass. The previous Adnams 500ml beer bottle weighed 445g; the new model weighs 299g – a saving of 33%. (Source:

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