Where do your gas cylinders really come from? Do you know how they are manufactured? What about where the raw materials are sourced from?
For every business, having a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability policy is now essential – and today, that means knowing your suppliers inside and out. For forward thinking businesses, choosing the right suppliers who share their values on sustainability isn’t just desirable, it’s an integral part of ethical business practice.
In this post, we explore some of the sustainability issues that businesses purchasing gas cylinders need to be aware of. As part of this, we look at our own supply chain, and what we do as a company to ensure the highest standards of sustainability and working practices from mine to manufacture and beyond.
Why it Matters – The Changing Face of CSR
Consumer expectations when it comes to corporate responsibility are changing. At one time, a CSR programme could focus entirely on the business and the quality of its internal procedures. That is no longer the case.
Today, the expectation is that CSR policies and principles need to encompass the entire supply chain, from raw materials and suppliers, right through to the finished product and beyond.
The Cylinder Supply Chain – Sustainability Issues
The supply chain behind cylinder manufacturing is quite complex. It involves a number of different raw materials, sourced from countries across the world.
The key materials that are used in the manufacturing process are aluminium and carbon fibre – and both materials have potential sustainability and environmental issues associated with them.
For aluminium, the issues surround the mining of the bauxite ore. Unsustainable mining practices are common in the developing world, and can have a huge impact on the environment, wildlife, local communities and the workforce.
The major issue surrounding carbon fibre is the complexity, cost of recycling, and the limited reusability of the recycled materials. Currently, the majority of carbon fibre ends up in landfill at the end of its life.
Additional information about the sustainability issues related to bauxite mining, carbon fibre recycling and cylinder manufacture can be found in this blog post on the cylinder supply chain.
The AMS Supply Chain Examined
At AMS Composite Cylinders, we are committed to upholding the highest ethical standards across our global operations and supply chain.
Components and raw materials
We source the vast majority of our carbon fibre from Japan. Suppliers include the world’s leading manufacturer of carbon fibre, and Japan’s largest trading company.
When it comes to the manufacture and sourcing of the precursor materials that make up carbon fibre, our suppliers have proactive, robust CSR programmes covering environmental impact, emissions, waste and recycling.
The aluminium that goes into AMS cylinders is manufactured in one of the world’s leading facilities in the Middle East. The bauxite ore is sourced from a new mine in Guinea, by a company that has invested more than $14 million in social and environmental projects across the local community. The company employs a local workforce, and is investing heavily in a programme designed to train local Guineans for high profile, permanent roles in the organisation. It upholds rigorous health and safety and working practice standards across the operation.
The mine also operates to the latest World Aluminium Sustainable Bauxite Mining Guidelines – ensuring the highest standards of ethical business practices in terms of working practices, health and safety, environmental performance and sustainable development.
AMS – Internal Processes and Standards
We uphold the same standards we expect from our suppliers – and invest in our in-house systems and processes to promote sustainable, ethical practice in every aspect of our business:
All the Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 cylinders we sell are precision manufactured in our dedicated manufacturing facility in Taiwan to the highest standards. Cylinders are accredited for use worldwide, and produced to recognised global standards and accreditations, including ISO 1119-2, UN-TPED Pi, DOT (US) and TC (Canada).
We utilise trusted distribution partners from across the globe. Regularly examining our global distribution network, we actively look for transport and logistics partners who share our commitment to sustainable development.
End of life disposal
Aluminium cylinders are widely recycled. However, there are challenges in recycling carbon fibre in Type 2 and Type 3 cylinders.
We are currently exploring this as a key priority, including the development of a partnership with a pioneering new carbon fibre recycling plant in Asia, which will ultimately enable us to offer a more comprehensive cradle to grave service for the sustainable disposal of cylinders.
A Focus on NLL
AMS Composite Cylinders specialises in the manufacture of Non Limited Life cylinders – products that (subject to periodic testing) can be used indefinitely. In real world applications, these cylinders last, on average, more than twice as long as those rated to 15 years. This provides real environmental benefits over the lifecycle of the cylinder.
The AMS Code of Conduct
As part of our commitment to ethical business practice, we have created The AMS Supplier Code of Conduct – a document that outlines the requirements all our suppliers must adhere to in terms of:
- Health, Safety and Environmental Management
- Human Rights
- Business Ethics
- Fair Labour Conditions
Every single supplier must sign up to this code to do business with AMS Composite Cylinders. We operate a strict record-keeping, auditing and inspection policy. Those found in breach of these standards can be suspended or terminated.
Additional information about our code of conduct can be found here.
Quality Assurance Accreditations
AMS Composite Cylinders is accredited to ISO 9001:2015 – the world’s best-known quality management standard for organisations of all sizes. Additional information about the standard and requirements can be found at https://www.iso.org/home.html
Business Continuity Planning
To protect our business, customers, supply chain and wider workforce, we have robust business continuity plans in place. From financial safeguards, to supply chain stability, we aim to operate a sustainable business in every sense of the word.
Lightweight Gas Cylinders from AMS
AMS Composite Cylinders supplies a full range of advanced, lightweight gas cylinders to customers across the UK and Europe.
Our cylinders are used in a wide variety of applications, including healthcare, respiratory, SCBA, laboratory, industrial, emergency, aerospace, hydrogen fuel cell and environmental uses.
Cylinders offer high pressure (300 Bar), low weight, and NLL (Non-Limited Life) performance, and are accredited for use worldwide, in line with ISO 11119-2, UN-TPED Pi, DOT (USA), TC (Canada).
Additional information about AMS Composite Cylinders Ltd can be found at www.ams-composites.com.