The Green Tiger Academy gave Thermory the idea that we need to deal with green issues more and more systematically, and that this requires the involvement of specialists in the field. We have created new positions in the company, such as quality and environmental manager and energy sector manager, who are responsible for implementing the green strategy.
At the heart of Thermory is the promotion of wood. With the help of functional and highly valued wood, we create lasting values in order to pass on a more natural and sustainable living environment to future generations.
The Green Tiger was driven by the desire to make a turn towards greener and more responsible entrepreneurship. We felt that our customers expected and valued innovative products and services from sustainable thinking, but we lacked quality input, inspiring examples and a network of like-minded companies on green issues. The Green Tiger initiative was an ideal platform for us to create a concrete roadmap and involve people within the company.
Goal Setting – Find Influential But Feasible Projects
In order to map the starting point of the journey, we conducted a CO2 audit of a group of Estonian companies in cooperation with Sustinere, where it became clear that energy and transport make up the lion’s share of our footprint.
The specificity of heat treatment requires high peak temperatures, which can technically only be achieved with certain types of heating, such as natural gas and fuel oil, which are relatively time-consuming and expensive to replace. We have started mapping alternatives and hired an energy manager for the company.
We are a big customer in the field of transport, but here we depend on our partners and transport companies to reduce emissions from both sea and land transport.
In developing the Green Strategy, we identified three main areas that we can directly influence and implement major changes on our own:
1. Energy. The goal is to phase out the use of fossil fuels in thermal furnaces and wood dryers significantly (-50%) by 2027 compared to 2020.
2. Smart manufacturing. As a result of automation, optimization of production processes and certification, we plan to increase efficiency by approximately 15% in 2022 and by 10% in the following years.
3. Circular economy. Valuation of production residues (eg short lengths of planed material), recycling and finding new uses.
Challenges for industry
In order to reduce the company’s footprint, Thermory has taken several different actions in the coming years – we use 100% green electricity, built a modern heat treatment complex that uses waste heat to heat buildings, installed solar panels on the roof of the factory building, invested in production automation and introduced LEAN we reorganized the waste sorting of the offices, but the ambitions in this area are higher.
For Thermory as an international manufacturing company, the situation is complex due to the complexity of supply chains, the location of production facilities in different countries and the need for major investments in structural change. Prioritization is difficult at first glance, but it has become increasingly clear during the program how important it is to find projects that are influential but feasible.
The Green Tiger Academy teaches the use of various design thinking tools, such as design printing, which is a structured process for solving business-critical problems using design thinking methodologies and end-user testing. However, in a large manufacturing plant, implementing an innovative approach may not be as easy as one might think.
On the one hand, efficiency is important to us as a manufacturing company, but the introduction of any new process requires time and, in the case of green topics, a change of mindset, inspiring people and greening so that people in different units understand the need and value for the company.
Also, participating in such a long-term program as the Green Tiger requires the team’s commitment and input, which must be taken into account. The predecessors’ suggestion to involve more people from within the company at an early stage was certainly valuable here, allowing projects to develop and creating a positive and enthusiastic dynamic.
Green Tiger Academy as a framework for change
The Green Tiger program helped us create a framework and structure for how to systematically address green issues in the company, how to turn strategy into an action plan, and how to integrate the creation of innovative green solutions into business strategy. The program has undoubtedly contributed to the generation of ideas, the setting of priorities and the impetus for a more comprehensive action plan.
Cooperation with universities provided the team with modern and inspiring new knowledge that can be applied in future work. The topic of green revolution communication and green washing has been an important discussion for us. We need to remain realistic and honest in order to make progress and reduce our footprint. Coaching was also available within the program and there was an opportunity to involve people from different fields in the project, but here we would have liked a wider range of experts, possibly with our field or international business experience.
We expect a big change from the Green Tiger program for the whole company. It has been a necessary impetus and motivator for the management. Now there is a greater involvement of colleagues and the implementation of projects, ie the real work is just beginning. At the same time, it is important to notice smaller progress, which is based on the principles of sustainable development and is taking place in the company today. We always experience that after recruiting like-minded people to our team, we see new initiatives everywhere that colleagues have started to take on their own initiative. This synergy and drive is extremely important and inspiring for everyone.
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