Progress towards greater sustainability can help you to meet ESG targets within your organisation, says Andrea Barrett, Vice President of Social Responsibility and Sustainability

This article is one of a series in which senior management at RS and its' parent company, RS Group, explore its Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) approach and the role it plays strengthening strategies for better management of Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) of company sites and facilities.

Here Andrea Barrett, Vice President of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at RS Group, shares five ways that RS can help you to meet your ESG targets.

We understand the challenges of MRO
For those involved within the Indirect Procurement category of supplies for Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO), there is pressure to optimise operations, cut costs and reduce environmental impacts. At RS, we understand these issues as we face them too.

As a business, we are committed to being a partner that helps you address these challenges.

We can do this in part by supporting you to meet your Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) targets, whether that is through the creation of more sustainable products, improved asset and operations performance or reducing risks and emissions within the supply chain.

1) More sustainable products
There are huge opportunities for us to support our customers as we expand our range. We are procuring more sustainable products to help our customers design, build and maintain more sustainable equipment and operations. Equally we are growing our product offerings to help developing low-carbon industries and these can help build the next electric vehicle, the next wind farm or the next smart city.

2) Energy and monitoring audits
Likewise, with RS Maintenance Solutions and Condition Monitoring services, these use data and performance monitoring equipment to help our customers see if their equipment and operations are running as efficiently as possible. These services spot energy, air and water leakages, which helps maintenance engineers optimise efficiency of equipment, cut costs and natural resources and potentially avoid fines due to leakages.

If you’re reducing carbon and energy from your footprint, you’re often reducing costs as well.

For us and for our customers, there are real benefits in such optimisation. It helps to reduce running costs and minimises use of natural resources. You become more efficient. If you’re reducing carbon and energy from your footprint, you’re often reducing costs as well.

In one example, we completed a condition monitoring and energy saving audit of a big UK food manufacturer’s operations. Our team assessed the performance of the equipment and operations to ensure peak efficiency, reduces costs and minimise environmental impacts. This led to a new LED light bulb initiative, which saved that particular site £200,000.

Measures such as this demonstrate how best practice and innovation in the area of MRO can benefit an organisation enormously. 

3) Smarter deliveries
If you’re reducing the miles your products travel, you’re reducing costs as well as emissions.

It’s the same with restructuring of the supply chain. If you’re reducing the miles your products travel, you’re reducing costs as well as carbon. The two often go hand in hand.

First, this requires mapping. You’ve got to know what you’re dealing with. Who are your suppliers, what routes are your products travelling and by what transport modes?

Second, what can you do to optimise the routes and transport modes? Sourcing a larger range of products from a smaller number of suppliers who are using green logistics options can bring advantages such as consolidated deliveries – a single drop off where before there may have been several separate journeys. As a stockist of over 750,000 items, RS can again help with this. Our RS Locals, for example, offer services including consolidated deliveries as well as kitting (where products are combined and delivered when required) and call off stock (where RS holds inventory on behalf of customers until needed).

4) Vetted supply chain
In terms of the supply chain, it isn’t just about knowing who your direct suppliers are. With any item, where does it come from ultimately? You’ve got to do that mapping exercise. You need to make sure you have understood who your highest risk suppliers might be and then perform ethical screening and checks on this. Having that dialogue with suppliers is really important.

There are lots of organisations that can help with this. I always encourage people to use the services that are already out there, such as Sedex and Ecovadis, because they have a huge global visibility and best practice standards. You’re not then trying to reinvent the wheel and do it all yourself. It also reduces the burden on your suppliers who can then disclose their practices to a small number of global ESG platforms and share this information across their value chains.

It helps if you work with a trusted supplier who you know has done extensive due diligence on everything that they manufacture or stock

5) Continued reduction of scope three emissions
Similarly, in my article about how our sustainability targets improve MRO in your organisation, I share how our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain, also reduce scope three emissions for our customers.

These benefits are set to grow and expand as we move towards the vision set out in our 2030 ESG action plan “For a Better World”. We’re really excited about our ESG plans. We are determined to leverage our position at the heart of the value chain to bring together the world’s leading suppliers of innovative products and clean technologies, with the millions of engineers, innovators and problem solvers around the world to drive positive change for people and the planet.

To learn about the sustainability goals RS is pursuing and how they support MRO best practice within your organisation, read about the 2030 ESG plan in another article from this series by senior management at RS, exploring ESG and its importance for better management of MRO.