The Seco focus on making all aspects of its business more sustainable led to a comprehensive review of the company’s energy requirements, and when the time came to renew contracts with suppliers for the site in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, green energy was to the fore.
Studies have shown that Reynoldsville is responsible for around 10% of the global electricity requirement for Seco and 19% of its climate impact from electricity, so changes made there would have a profound effect on the company’s global footprint.
“We purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs), which allow us to offset our CO2 footprint,” said Eric Sirianni, generic sourcing at Seco in Reynoldsville.
“The process started for us in 2019, and previously we were only concerned with getting electricity at the cheapest price we could get it – when we turn on the light switch, the power is going to come on no matter who we buy the electricity from. There wasn’t really a template, we were just asked to look at green energy the next time we were hedging electricity.
"Green energy costs more, but we have a CO2 goal and from there it just took off. We were able to hedge our electricity while layering in 100% green credits, and still lower the price once people saw that, people took notice,” added Sirianni.
Renewable sources RECs allow companies to invest in energy from renewable sources even though those sources may be located elsewhere. The next step will be for Seco sites around the world to investigate solutions such as onsite electricity generation through solar panels and geothermal heating.
“Everyone is committed to work towards these emissions targets and promoting the use of green energy, and apart from the RECs we have also installed solar panels to power our strip lights and so on, which is approximately 4% of our production,” said Nagesh Shekhadar, general manager for Indirect Purchasing in Pune, India.
Much of the power used by Seco India comes from the local state electricity board, which uses coal power. With no greener options available, RECs were purchased offset the CO2 emissions of coal power.
“We are using some solar power at the moment, and we are also exploring the possibilities for wind energy so we can create more and more clean energy. We need to work on hybrid solutions, and once the supply of green energy increases, the price of it will go down,” said Atul Mohkhedkar, general manager production, Seco India.
Though the emissions targets have been met years ahead of schedule, electricity purchasers of Seco will not be resting on their laurels – they will continue to explore new possibilities for cleaner electricity. “Each of our locations can tell us the breakdown of the kind of power they use each month, and it varies depending on where you’re located,” said Sirianni.
“From a company perspective, it’s the right thing to do. The first reaction is always ‘why should we spend the money?’ It’s tough to adjust that mindset, but once they come around, who is going to say no to helping the environment?”
There is an added benefit from employees, who are pleased to work for a company that is taking the climate crisis seriously. “It’s very powerful, very special – our families, our customers, our friends, our neighbors, they like to see us working for this kind of company,” added Shekhadar.