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Our Decade of Action: Our Material Movement Mission

Guy Mercer, EMR Sustainability Director

Guy Mercer


EMR is committed to supporting the development of technology aimed at reducing emissions, particularly within heavy industries like ours. One of the core principles that will move us towards net zero carbon emissions in ‘Our Decade of Action’ is that the way in which we handle and move material must change in order to protect our climate.

We acknowledge this is a long-term, global challenge, but we have committed to make progress as early as we can, to help protect our environment.

Why does Material Movement matter?

Some of the most vital changes that must made within heavy industries, such as recycling, are in our material handling and movement systems. These changes will be particularly challenging due to the long-standing reliance on conventional fuels to power heavy machinery and large goods vehicles.

Electrification of our material handling and movement plant is a huge opportunity for us to reduce our operational carbon footprint significantly. This means we can create a sustainable operation, generating value for ourselves, our clients, and our planet.

Already, for smaller plant and vehicles, there are many options emerging including full battery-electric, plug-in hybrids and even potentially hydrogen fuel cell power. However, progress is slower for the larger mobile plant and heavy goods vehicle. This is a longer-term challenge that will require further large-scale research and development.

We have not been deterred from making progress, however, and are pleased to report that we have already ‘leaned in’ on this challenge at a number of our sites. In Rotterdam, for example, all of our large material handlers have electric powertrains keeping operating and maintenance costs low while minimising our environmental footprint. Similar examples can be seen at our sites in the UK.

EMR is leading the discussion with our mobile plant and truck suppliers to advance technology aimed at reducing emissions. We aim to fulfil our role of being a zero carbon partner and play a key part in supporting the industry in its drive towards a circular economy.

Moving towards a greener industry

By continuing our drive towards greener plant and vehicle alternatives, we can substantially reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and carbon we produce.

EMR will continually review the plant and equipment needs of every aspect of our business, ensuring that our equipment is utilised efficiently. As we move forward and replace legacy equipment, we’ll be looking to invest in electric or low/zero-carbon alternatives wherever possible.

Where low carbon options aren’t available or feasible, we are dedicated to working with suppliers of both our equipment and freight transport networks to further advance technology. Our current heavy goods vehicle procurement and leasing arrangements are geared up to adopt greener alternatives.

Alongside our site-based electrification focus, we’ve also become members of the EV100. A global initiative led by The Climate Group. We’ve pledged to switch 100% of our LGV fleet and 50% of our SHGV fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. EV100 criteria means that our LGV and SHGV fleets will eventually consist of 100% battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids/extended range and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

This is only the beginning...

Our primary focus right now is ensuring that the structure is in place to help us achieve such ambitious goals. We have measured the current electric vehicle usage across the business, in order to have a clear baseline to work from. We’ve also identified where electric-powered vehicles can be used in the business currently, developing a list of priority sites and processes for electric vehicle roll out over the next few years.

If you would like a copy of EMR's Sustainable Business Strategy (Our Decade of Action), you can download it here.