Pursuing sustainable solutions for success

The ‘pursuit of better’ has been key to one of Gloucestershire’s largest exporters, driving its success and world leading status.  And it’s this mission that encapsulates the businesses’ sustainability focus too.

Prima Dental Group has already made significant impacts on improving its sustainable performance, from reducing landfill disposal to zero, and improving its energy consumption through renewable energy sources, but is striving to do more.

Forward looking focus

Founded some 150 years ago, Prima designs and engineers precision dental instruments and products for the growing healthcare and cosmetic markets around the world. It has become the world’s largest dental bur (drill) manufacturers.

Over the years the company has focussed on innovation, recognised in the last decade with two Queen’s Awards, alongside a SMART grant award from Innovate UK to develop a game changing new dental product.  Today, this forward-looking approach still rings true and is reflected in the company’s mission to improve its sustainability.

Commitment to the planet

Prima takes its impact on the environment seriously, working to identify and improve in all areas of its operations. This is no mean feat when you take into account that the business exports to more than 90 countries, with two joint ventures (in Brazil and Hong Kong) and two subsidiaries (in China and India).

Commitment to improving its energy management system is evidenced through the company’s ISO 14001 accreditation – the global standard for environmental management.  While the organisation’s ISO 50001 certification highlights the work being done to optimise energy efficiency – with a robust framework in place to ensure continual improvement in this area.

Sustainable strategies

The company’s main production facilities and head offices are based on the Waterwells Business Park in Quedgeley.  Here, a number of sustainable strategies have been put in place, with the most recent being the installation of solar panels, completed at the start of this year.  This investment will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 tonnes per year and by 2,270 tonnes over the lifespan of the panels.

Intelligent lighting, along with maximum insulation and air source heat pumps offer sustainable energy solutions for the site. While impact on local neighbours, in terms of noise pollution from the air source heat pumps, is monitored to ensure minimum disruption. The business has also made adaptations to its compressed air system, reducing energy and saving some £68k a year.

Environmental policies

Prima’s environmental policy shapes its practices, with detailed recycling and waste management initiatives. This includes the recycling of by-products from its manufacturing process. Recycling initiatives are also included in all product packaging, brochures and company publications which all use recycled paper. End-user packaging, where possible, is also recyclable.

Contracts with waste management services and suppliers are continually reviewed to ensure optimum recycling levels, alongside the review of the organisation’s own practices. This has led to a huge reduction in the business’s landfill disposal, going from 70 per cent to zero in 2023.

The business is committed to minimising its consumption of natural resources, educating its employees to be more responsible in this area. For example all single-use plastic cups across the business have been removed, eliminating the disposal of some 330,000 plastic cups a year which has meant a saving of 9.9 tonnes of CO2e. While the installation of waterless urinals has saved an astonishing 1,576,800 litres of water a year and 1,658.79kg of CO2e.

Overseas actions

To help reduce its carbon footprint, Prima has introduced several measures. Global travel has been significantly reduced thanks to the introduction of localised sales teams, alongside an increased use of technology for virtual meetings.

The team coordinates and shifts its UK working hours to suit different time zones so that employees can build effective one-to-one relationships without unnecessary travel. And, when it comes to sourcing suppliers the business retains local services, where possible.

Work in progress

Never one to sit on its laurels, Prima is committed in its journey to improve its impact on the planet and has set sustainable targets to ensure they are attained.

A dedicated team is closely monitoring and evaluating the organisation’s performance, measuring against benchmarks, consistent in the pursuit of better, and in a better future for all.