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Welsh steel maker reviews supply chain to become more sustainable

Capital Coated Steel are the largest independent pre-finished metals processor in the UK and the only independent accredited Tata distributor. Celebrating over 50 years in business, the company, which was started by business partners John Hunt and Nick Williams back in 1972, is still a family-owned business today.

While striving for business excellence, supplying some of the major blue-chip companies both in the UK and internationally, they have placed the environment and the future of a sustainable steel supply at the very forefront of their business. The company passionately believe in the need for this and have transformed how the business now operates, ensuring business continuity and the reduction or elimination of negative environmental and social impacts of their business activities, so that future generations will have adequate resources to meet their needs. This includes employees, customers, and the wider bio-diverse environment.

They have embarked on a full carbon footprint calculation, concentrating on scope 1 and 2 emissions (i.e., those they have most control over), with the aim to be Net Carbon neutral by 2030, though with their effective strategy this is likely to come sooner. Partnering with ecologi.com, Capital’s commitment has already seen the effect of 948.18 Tonnes of Carbon Reduction and over 12,828 new trees planted.

Their business has been transformed over recent years with 75% of their vehicles now electric or hybrid and have invested in infrastructure that supports this with new charging points created.

Conserving as much physical material as possible is also a main focus from siphoning sub-standard material for non-prime use, reusing packaging materials at every opportunity, and significantly reducing their consumption of timber pallets through careful pallet design and extensive reclamation. In 2021, they saved 100 tonnes of timber in this manner, reducing wood purchases by 17%. The premises in Wattsville has also seen photovoltaic panels fitted to their roof, where on sunny days sees over 35% of the sites power being generated from them.

The constant drive to find ways of bettering the ecological impact of the business continues at their Wattsville plant with the creation of their own, on-site, biodiversity garden supporting local wildlife. The inspiration came from Capital’s Head of Works and Operations, Simon Nurse, who had a vison to take a derelict part of the site and turn it into a garden that sees foliage tumbling from the hillside above, beehives nestling among planters made from reclaimed timber and a recently created pond. Recent work as also seen the introduction of bird and hedgehog boxes. Simon notes that the garden shows a visual commitment to their sustainability policy and practise with all stakeholders (suppliers, customers, financial institutions, local community, employees) and is hoped will have a real impact on local biodiversity. At a time when honeybees population are in rapid decline, the site, with a further 3 extra hives planned, will help to redress this problem. The space also creates a nice quiet space for retreat and mental wellbeing with Capital’s staff really supporting this new project, supplying plants, features, and an active commitment to seeing its success.