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Sustaining sustainability

24 January 2024

GB Lubricants has become the first business to use green energy from groundbreaking Gateshead energy scheme

GB LUBRICANTS is the first private sector company in the UK to connect to and use the Gateshead District Energy scheme; part of the manufacturer’s ongoing sustainability commitment as it looks to achieve net carbon zero manufacturing by 2030.

As businesses face increasing pressure to lower their environmental impact, customers in the industrial sector will welcome the news; that a major supplier of oils and lubricants to the industry is able to manufacture high-quality products, such as gear oils and hydraulic oils, using this a sustainable source of energy.

After considerable investment in groundworks, large scale pipework, electrical infrastructure, monitoring systems and additional capital expenditure, GB Lubricants is now using heat from mine water and will soon be using solar generated electricity. This is all supplied by Gateshead Council’s low carbon, District Energy scheme, which is operated by its wholly owned subsidiary Gateshead Energy Company. 

These green energy sources provide renewable heat and electricity to residents and businesses in Gateshead. This is through a combination of solar power generation, an innovative 6-megawatt mine water heating system, the largest in the UK, all backed up by 4-megawatt combined heat and power engines.

The big switch over

The switch to using this award-winning heat and solar powered electricity will see 100 per cent of the company’s heating and electricity requirements being supplied by the Gateshead Energy Company.  

The heat and electricity are to be used throughout GB Lubricants’ manufacturing site, including the production processes, secure warehouse, technical centre and administrative offices. 

The company’s long-term vision is to reduce its carbon footprint and make continuous improvements to the sustainability of all its operations and across its supply chain. This flows from raw material supply, production through to transportation and customer supply, all underpinned by its EcoVadis Gold rating.

In 2022, GB Lubricants achieved the EcoVadis Gold certification for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability improvements for the third year in a row, placing it in the top 5% of all companies evaluated in its sector across the globe. Throughout 2023, the company aims to maintain this standard rating. 

Improving efficiencies and reducing energy use

At a time of unstable and unpredictable energy price rises, the whole of the industrial sector is facing increasing cost pressures alongside concerns around future supply and availability. By using the green energy options from Gateshead Energy Company, GB Lubricants will be securing stabilised prices for green energy, which helps with production and resource planning. However, as Paul Booth, GB Lubricants' MD explains, switching to the new energy provider is about much more than focusing on costs.

"GB Lubricants has been proud to manufacture oils and lubricants from our home here in the Northeast of England since 1877. As a major local employer, it is incumbent on us to support our community in Gateshead and as soon as we heard about the energy scheme, we instantly saw the benefits.

"Sustainability must extend to more than simple energy saving measures. We have a responsibility to our local community, to our environment as well as securing a sound future for the business and our diverse customer base across the globe. Our customers rely on us for oil and lubrication products that ultimately help improve the efficiencies of industrial equipment, modern machinery, hydraulic systems and all other moving parts found within the industrial sector.”

The products that GB Lubricants provides reduce friction, control heat and minimise wear, thereby helping to lower emissions, improve fuel efficiencies, increase reliability and reduce downtime of engines and mechanical equipment.

"Our initial commitment to this scheme is 20 years. It’s another piece of the jigsaw as we continue on our sustainability journey. As the first private business to sign up to and use energy from the scheme, we hope that our actions will encourage more companies to see the long-term benefits and join in supporting the community while also taking responsibility for their own carbon footprint," Booth concluded. 

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