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There has never been a stronger drive for sustainable products and innovations in our time. Climate change has reached a tipping point, and many entrepreneurs and companies are stepping forward to help create a better future. Here are just a few fantastic instances of environmentally friendly innovation that have the potential to transform society and usher in a more sustainable way of life.
Since the beginning, Schneider Electric has been at the forefront of driving sustainability both inside and outside our corporation. We believe in taking the lead by helping people build a smart and sustainable future with better efficiency and resilience.
In recent years, our teams across different markets have faced evolving challenges and have tried to provide fresh and creative approaches to integrating sustainability-related efforts into our operations, products, and packaging. This is what motivates us to pursue our goals through the local activities we observe internationally, and interestingly, these local success stories have become some of the significant milestones of our sustainability journey. Let’s share what we’re seeing around the world:
Sustainable Junction Boxes in Pacific Zone
We’ve seen the creation of a streamlined junction box with recycled plastic that has quality and feature enhancements. This initiative is impressive, considering junction boxes are found all over the world, installed in commercial and residential buildings to house wiring connections. Turning to recycled plastic is a great way to ensure we’re minimizing waste and utilizing materials that would otherwise be contributing to pollution.
The team’s main challenge was that six of the junction box portfolio’s tools were nearing the end of their useful lives. Additionally, all seven legacy designs were created using exclusively virgin plastic. While this initiative’s solution reduced the choice from seven to just two designs. Changing the design makes it possible to consume less plastic, offset the cost premium associated with using green materials, enhance customer satisfaction, and improve quality. This is a great example of how great minds can come together to turn a challenge into an advantage that progresses sustainability efforts.
Giving Second Life to Used Fishing Nets in Latin America
Given Chile’s extensive coastline, fishing is an important sector in this South American country. However, material waste occurs in every industry, and fishing is no exception. So many fishing nets that are made from materials such as nylon are thrown out as waste after use, contributing to the pollution of our environment. What was initially a very wasteful and harmful act was turned into something positive. We saw an opportunity to improve sustainability initiatives in the LATAM market by working to transform tons of these nylon nets and recycling them into shutters for sockets. Despite the logistical challenge of transporting the fishing nets over 1500 km from the south of Chile to the factory, it continues to be productive and beneficial to the environment.
Other projects we worked on in LATAM include the following:
- Increased usage of recycled or regrind materials in the Santiago Plant that since 2012, 618 tons of virgin plastic has been saved, with an average increase in the last 3 years of 15% year over year.
- The Santiago Plant is always looking for new projects using not just their own scrap and plastic waste. They are exploring with strategic partners on the use of recycled plastic from old fridges, scraps from the baby diaper production process and others.
- Changed to brown packaging for ranges including Miluz, Lunare, Decor, Genesis, Habit 21, Roda and Base
- Replaced paper installation guide with QR code.
- Grey flushing boxes and blind cover plates with 100% recycled raw material.
There are many different industries that use materials that would usually be thrown away, and we are continuously working with our partners across the globe to initiate projects like this. Sustainability is a way of thinking as much as it is an action, and our thoughts are consistently looking for new ways to do better.
Driving Sustainability in India with Flying Colors
What we’ve seen in India is a meeting of new regulatory, and public concerns around single-use plastic and packaging waste, combined with other influential sustainability trends. Last year, the Sustainable Packaging Program was launched by Schneider’s International Hub to reduce the use of single-use plastic and improve the environmental friendliness of the packaging boxes. Since then, our teams have successfully implemented sustainable packaging with zero single use plastic at the Chennai plant for all FD devices.
Great minds bring great changes. We’ve seen significant outcomes from this “brown packaging” challenge, implemented by all of our teams, suppliers and partners in India. The International Hub worked hard to:
- Make #FirstinFD possible with success in testing, qualifying, and implementation of solid board boxes in brown and green.
- Determine the use of the ideal shade of brown (Natural brown) with relentless efforts and numerous supplier iterations.
- Use at least 70% recycled material, integrated with intelligent use of environmentally friendly water-based or vegetable oil-based inks.
- Implement about 70% of white to brown boxes at Connected Living plants and 90% of white to brown boxes at FD plants for B2B segment.
- Eliminate Plastic Window Boxes from Connected Living Products
In the years to come, Schneider Electric will continue to make the most of its innovation and resources while keeping sustainability as the primary tenet of its goals and efforts. These initiatives worldwide will help many different communities and industries across different markets continue to bridge processes and assure sustainability for everybody.
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