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PHS Group - Product carbon footprinting

Carbon Trust's Footprint Expert™ software enabled PHS to accurately calculate the carbon footprint of their products

PHS Washrooms


As the UK's leading provider of workplace services - including sanitary and clinical waste disposal, washroom and drinking water facilities - the PHS Group operates (PHS) in an industry sector that is already highly regulated in terms of environmental controls and corporate responsibility.  

Keen to secure the company's future growth in a commercial environment where sustainability is inherently related to financial performance, the PHS Group recognised that to excel in this area it must have a robust sustainability strategy, set new standards in terms of environmentally efficient product and service innovation as well as addressing its own carbon footprint - with a mission to cut CO2 emissions by 10% within 3 years. To deliver on these ambitious aims, PHS Group commissioned the Carbon Trust to provide:

  • Product footprinting software (Footprint Expert™) and expert training.
  • Audit and certification of the carbon footprint of two key products - PHS Washrooms sanitary disposal unit & exchange services (Eclipse and Mini units) and a range of PHS Waterlogic's mains-fed water dispenser service.  
  • Strategic review to improve sustainability across the organisation.
The public sector is a key market for PHS, and along with the private sector they increasingly place greater importance on the carbon impact of products and services they purchase. Having the Carbon Trust certify the carbon footprint of our sanitary bins allows us to comply with purchasing requirements and operate more confidently in a competitive environment. We get a strong marketing message with trusted approval that we are managing resources efficiently and demonstrating absolute best practice.

Emma Wood, Group Sustainability Manager, PHS Group

PHS Waterlogic

Actions Taken

Product carbon footprinting

Using the Carbon Trust's Footprint Expert™ software has made accurately footprinting products a less formidable task for PHS. In particular, calculating the footprint for the full range of Waterlogic dispensers was a tough challenge. PHS supplies and services more than 350,000 sites in the UK so a broad customer profile representing different sectors and sizes of operation was required to calculate Waterlogic's carbon footprint as accurately as possible.   Every element of the product lifecycle was assessed, from the carbon produced during component manufacture to the road miles and fuel consumed during transportation, delivery and servicing. 

Footprinting the Eclipse and Mini units was an easier task for PHS. The products are made in the UK and because the manufacture, servicing and waste management of sanitary products is a tightly regulated area, the data required was readily available.

Audit and certification of products

PHS's product footprinting work was audited and certified by Carbon Trust Certification. From this, PHS is now working to reduce the carbon emissions produced by its UK sites, divisions and operations having set itself the target of a 5% reduction in energy and fuel within 2012.

Smart meters have been installed in the majority of its 100 regional sites to audit and identify new ways to cut energy consumption. Each week more than half a tonne of paper is sent to PHS Datashred for recycling and the fluorescent light tubes from all PHS sites are sent to Recylite, a PHS waste management company which recovered 11 tonnes of mercury in 2012.  PHS Group has also been actively promoting the use of conference calls as a means of reducing road miles and fuel consumption. 

Improving fleet efficiency

With a national fleet of nearly 3,000 vehicles, fuel is one of the PHS Group's largest external costs and has a major environmental impact. Several major initiatives are underway to improve fuel efficiency and minimise reliance on fossil fuels, including implementing route optimisation software, Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED) training for drivers and its achievements in this area have already been recognised by a national recycling fleet management award this year.

Identifying and setting targets to improve operation efficiency

Through the product footprinting work and with help from the Carbon Trust, who conducted a strategic energy review, PHS is able to set specific targets to improve operational efficiency. These include reducing carbon emissions produced by its operations and focusing on areas such as the energy used by its 100 regional sites and 5,000 people, and reducing emissions from its 2,000 strong fleet of vehicles which accounts for 78% of its carbon footprint. 

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