The Green Warehouse: 3 forklift brands innovating for a sustainable future
Since 1990, CO2 emissions attributed to machinery and equipment manufacturing in the UK has decreased from 2.7 million metric tonnes to 1.8 million (2017), according to Statista. Today, the Industrial Processes sector contributes 10.2 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions, but this is a huge improvement on the 59.9 million tonnes it produced in 1990.
This success is in part down to the commitments of some of the biggest names in forklift manufacturing. As the importance of greenhouse gas reduction measures has become more and more evident, these companies have pledged to make their business processes more sustainable and to make cleaner, greener machines.
Mitsubishi forklifts are well-known for their technological advancements, especially in areas of sustainability. They aim to aid the transition to a low-carbon society, whilst procuring and supplying in a sustainable manner and conserving the natural environment by “recognising the earth as our largest stakeholder”.
Mitsubishi electric forklifts are renowned for their comparability to more powerful engine types whilst being zero emission, however, they’ve made great advancements with their diesel and LP gas machines too.
Some would argue that for the sake of the environment we should switch to electric-only machines, but the truth is that sometimes the additional power of diesel is necessary for more heavy-duty tasks.
Mitsubishi diesel engine forklifts are constantly becoming more efficient and economical through advanced exhaust systems and cleaner burning diesel with optimum power output. These forklifts offer precise control over the combustion process, which improves fuel efficiency.
They have also reduced diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions by up to 90% and NOx emissions by up to 50%, which is a fantastic improvement.
The Mitsubishi GRENDiA series, or ‘Green Diamond’, is named for its high-quality performance and low environmental impact.
The GRENDiA ES features a closed-loop and a three-way catalytic converter for reductions in carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions, producing a minimal amount of harmful gases through a ‘clean burn’ engine and making it highly energy efficient.
The GRENDiA ES eliminates 95% of NOx gases, making it one of the cleanest and greenest forklifts available.
Creating a range of electric forklifts is of course a great step in sustainability because of electricity’s renewable properties.
The Mitsubishi EDiA range takes this one step further by providing low maintenance, low energy use and award-winning efficiency. The EDiA EX model has the power and capacity of an internal combustion engine, but with the versatility and economy of a clean 80V AC power source.
At Caterpillar, sustainability is a core value. They are making strides towards lowering their energy use and environmental impact. Their 2020 sustainable operation goals are:
- Design new facility construction to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or comparable green building criteria.
- Reduce energy intensity by 50%.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 50%.
- Use alternative or renewable sources to meet 20% of energy needs.
- Reduce water consumption intensity by 50%.
- Reduce by-product materials intensity by 50%.
Caterpillar progress with their goals by improving energy efficiency, investing in alternative and renewable power generation sources, implementing water conservation projects and managing waste through remanufacturing, rebuilding, reusing and recycling.
According to the Caterpillar website:
“We keep resources in the Caterpillar value chain through a circular flow of materials, energy and water. Our focus on developing better systems optimizes our use of resources, maximizes the total life cycle value of our products and minimizes the cost of ownership for our customers. Viewing our equipment through a total life cycle lens allows us to make sustainable progress for communities, the environment and the economy.”
By applying innovative technology to Caterpillar’s products, services, solutions and operations, they improve their sustainability performance. Sustainable progress is made possible by developing better systems to maximize life cycle benefits, whilst minimizing economic, social and environmental costs. Areas of focus include:
- Prevent Waste: Use of materials, energy, water, and land are reduced by increasing the safety, efficiency and productivity of processes and products. Products, services and solutions are offered that will improve the sustainability of customer operations.
- Improve Quality: A focus on improving quality for all areas of the business and the environment. Caterpillar uses the Lean 6Sigma method to improve the sustainability of operations and products.
- Develop Better Systems: Using innovation and technology to maximize efficiency. Remanufacturing, rebuilding and recycling helps to conserve resources for multiple life cycles. Better systems are developed throughout the entire value chain to maximize life cycle benefits.
As a family company, JCB is all about leaving a lasting legacy, and what better way than to create sustainable innovation to help against climate change, resource depletion and pollution.
JCB has some great sustainability accolades under their belt. JCB was the first company to carbon footprint an entire machine. Since 2007, they have reduced their carbon emission in the UK by over 20%. Over 80% of all waste in the business is recycled, with four UK sites already at zero landfill.
When it comes to company sustainability, JCB have two prominent philosophies:
This philosophy looks to reduce both the carbon footprint of their business operations and their supply chain and dealer network. This encompasses pollution prevention, waste management, water management, energy efficiency, carbon management, inbound and outbound logistics and business travel.
JCB is committed to making sustainable products, from the manufacturing process, through to distribution, throughout the machine’s life, and even after the end of its life. Their new Eco machines offer significant fuel and carbon savings of as much as 22%. Their biofuel-compatible engine now has lower emissions without compromising higher power and performance.
In conjunction with their suppliers, there is a focus on fuel and carbon efficiency, manufacturing efficiency, use of sustainable materials, minimal shipping impact, and designing with end-of-life recycling and remanufacturing in mind.
JCB have eight priorities for their Efficient Design:
- Make our machines more fuel and carbon efficient
- Make our machine manufacturing more energy efficient
- Minimise the waste from the manufacture of our machines
- Use sustainable materials in the manufacture of our machines
- Optimise machine design to minimise impact of shipping
- Design with end-of-life recycling in mind
- Design so parts can be remanufactured
- Design products in conjunction with suppliers to maximise their sustainability and minimise their environmental impact
The company also has the JCB Community, which engages, supports and rewards their staff around the world for adopting sustainable practices. Their UK sites are surrounded by green space to help wildlife thrive.
How your business can help
The efforts these companies have made towards improving their sustainability is fantastic, but there’s still a long way to go. As Caterpillar confirms, each part of the chain needs to change; from material sourcing to recycling the forklift at the end of its lifetime.
Of course, you can help to do your bit by buying or hiring refurbished machines instead of brand-new ones. Over-consumption has a massive impact on the environment, and Multy Lift machines are as good as new, only less costly. This helps to ensure perfectly usable equipment is saved from the scrap yard and less emissions are wasted making unnecessary additional machines.
We stock refurbished forklifts and warehouse equipment by each of the brands mentioned in this post. Browse our site, or get in touch to see how we can help find the right forklift for you.