Farming News - How Are UK Sectors (Including Agriculture)Tackling Sustainability in 2024?

How Are UK Sectors (Including Agriculture)Tackling Sustainability in 2024?

One-third of the UK's biggest companies have pledged to nullify their contribution to carbon emissions by 2050, with more and more businesses looking to implement sustainability strategies to lower their environmental impact.


As well as keeping their carbon footprint in check, companies across all sectors are evaluating ways to balance eco-conscious practices and business finances. In light of the current economic situation, organisations are starting to reframe sustainability as a long-term plan for cost-efficiency.

From 2022 to 2023, there has been a 6.5% increase in companies investing in greener initiatives to cut expenses. Considering the volatile times we live in, it is fair to predict that this trend is likely to persist throughout 2024.

So, how are sectors across the UK tackling sustainability to drive things forward? Cleveland Containers, one of the country's leading suppliers of shipping containers, looks at the positive impact of sustainable plans and strategies on operational costs.

70% of the UK's land is farmed, with agriculture playing a crucial role in helping keep the nation healthy and well-fed. However, it is also important for the sector to carry out their operations without degrading their surroundings.

In 2024, technology and AI can help farmers look after their crops in an eco-conscious fashion, such as using silent drones to replace crop-dusting planes and reduce noise pollution. Drones can also be adopted to spot problems within a field, from pests to diseases, so that growers can act before they lose all of their harvest and damage the soil irreparably.

Thanks to technology, crop watering will become an increasingly sustainable practice, too. With the help of innovative tools and real-time data, farmers can have better control over how much water is used to prevent unnecessary consumption.  

Vertical farming is likely to become a more popular solution as well. Among many different eco-friendly benefits, this agricultural trend – in which the UK is leading the way – requires far less land compared to traditional farms. This means more food can be grown in less space, and products can thrive with minimal, invasive intervention outside of routine maintenance. When it comes to vertical farming, shipping containers can be a handy solution, allowing farms to be flexible and scale effectively by adding more units as needed.

With sustainability sitting at the top of companies' priority list, many different sectors are finding cost-effective ways to operate while keeping the wellbeing of the planet in mind. So, what are businesses in your industry doing to look after the environment and maintain a healthy cash flow?

The UK construction sector is responsible for 18% of large particle pollution in the country.

This is why more and more businesses are striving to shift the trend in 2024, with more than 80% of material suppliers and construction companies putting decarbonisation at the top of their priority list.

One way to achieve this is by focusing more on transport and logistics. Construction firms rely heavily on transport to carry materials to their site, which can account for a significant proportion of a business's emissions.

To reduce their impact, companies within the sector can make a habit of sourcing materials locally or using consolidation centres, as this minimises the number of long journeys required to get hold of whatever they need.

Additionally, construction workers can utilise renewable energy sources on-site (i.e., solar power, wind power, etc.) and cut consumption through water management systems, including rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse.

And rather than build site offices from scratch, they can opt for modified shipping containers or portable site accommodation units that can be fitted and assembled where and when needed, both saving money and conserving resources.

Self-storage sector
In the self-storage industry, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses to minimise their impact on their surroundings, including embracing sustainable building strategies.

Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at Cleveland Group, said: "Using shipping containers, whether it's 10ft or 20ft containers, as storage spaces for your customers is a great way to hit your business' sustainability and financial targets.

"In fact, adopting shipping containers – especially used or second-hand options – reduces the need for new steel production and material extraction. Likewise, shipping containers allow for a modular building system, meaning you can expand or reconfigure as needed without significant investments."    

What's more, another trick to improve sustainability levels at a favourable cost is to install LED or sensor-based lighting across the building. Switching standard bulbs with LED alternatives can save you up to £14 per bulb per year while also having a kinder impact on the environment.  

In 2024, the manufacturing industry is likely to become smarter and more digitalised.

As AI technology continues to develop at a fast pace, manufacturing businesses can make the most of these innovative tools to improve efficiency and productivity.

For example, having preventative technology in place that allows you to monitor the health and performance of your machinery can limit the risk of downtime and costly repairs. It can also help you monitor its overall conditions in real time, meaning you can check whether your equipment is performing at its best.

Another way in which manufacturing businesses can become more eco-friendly is by prioritising the use of recycled materials in production as opposed to virgin raw materials.

As well as being more cost-effective to access, recycled or bio-based materials have a lower environmental impact, helping to promote a circular economy that aligns with the sector's ESG strategies. So, on top of simply repurposing their own production waste, manufacturers can also explore how to create new products from recycled materials.