Palletower: Manufacturer Reduces Emissions in Move to the UK

Palletower's sustainable move to the UK
Palletower’s move to the UK could reduce businesses’ carbon emissions by up to 1500KgCO2e per delivery

Manufacturing overseas has long been regarded as a less expensive approach to business.

However, this requires companies to navigate multiple risks including quality control and volatile exchange rates.

Overseas manufacturing also heightens companies' carbon footprint, at a time when regulatory pressure is rising to ensure businesses are working towards a sustainable future.

To mitigate these risks Palletower, the UK’s leading manufacturer, stockist and supplier of storage and logistics equipment, have transitioned the production of their plastic storage products, including pallets and foldable boxes, to the UK. 

These products were previously manufactured in Spain, Germany, China and Istanbul, resulting in a high carbon footprint for Palletower and its customers. 

Under this previous strategy, a full 4.6 tonne lorry load of plastic boxes moving from Istanbul to the UK generated almost 2.6 tonnes of carbon emissions. 

In moving their manufacturing to the UK, Palletower will drastically decarbonise their operations. 

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The move will also maximise efficiency and improve product handling, whilst allowing Palletower’s customers to benefit from reduced costs.

More control, less plastic

Palletower’s shift in production allows them to have more control over the materials they use, meaning they can offer environmental and cost benefits to its wide customer base.

One of these benefits is a reduction in the use of plastic and energy to mould their plastic boxes. 

Their new UK manufactured plastic boxes are 3kg lighter than any other competitor boxes- without sacrificing their strength or versatility. 

As part of this shift, Palletower conducted a CO2v review, looking at the impact product distribution has on the climate crisis. 

They have also outlined ways in which the company’s manufacturing shift could be a microcosm of potential sustainability action in the wider industry.

Matthew Palmer, Managing Director at Palletower says, “By shifting the manufacturing of our plastic box pallets from overseas to the UK, we will not only gain more control over the production process but will drastically reduce the carbon emissions we emit as a business annually."

Matthew Palmer (centre) Palletower's Managing Director

He continues, "In an industry which is typically known as having its environmental challenges, we are keen to lead the way and spread awareness to our customers about the importance of investing in sustainable practices from the ground up, starting with the equipment they use to transport their goods.

"By purchasing plastic boxes from Palletower, your company will be significantly reducing its carbon footprint and helping improve the environment as whole.” 

Overseas distribution drives up carbon emissions

Palletower partnered with Positive Planet, a sustainability business advisory, to reveal the carbon impact of overseas distribution to the UK and how carbon emissions differ depending on location. 

Birmingham was chosen as the distribution centre of choice as it is a central UK distribution location. 

The results show that transporting just 607 plastic boxes from Istanbul to the UK generates the same amount of carbon emissions as an average SME. 

However, Palletower’s move to manufacture plastic boxes in the UK will save up to 2,569.7 KgCO2e per 104 boxes produced, as distribution emissions will be eliminated. 

Overall, they found if companies manufacture products outside the UK, regardless of the location, distribution will most likely be the business’ largest contributor to annual carbon emissions.

Palletower x Positive Planet reveal carbon impact of overseas distribution

The findings also show that while businesses may opt to source products from Europe, as opposed to Asia, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, transporting products primarily by road can produce significantly more emissions than transporting by sea from further afield.

Road freight produces nearly 10 times the amount of emissions as sea freight. 

One example from the review show a lorry travelling 1995km from Rome to Birmingham produces 1,586KgCO2e, compared to transporting from Shanghai which produces 1580KgCO2e over 19,374km distance.

Therefore, by following Palletower’s lead and shifting manufacturing to the UK, businesses could reduce distribution emissions by 1000-2,600KgCO2e per shipment.

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