We reduce the environmental impact of our business activities We are reducing the environmental impact of our business activities

Our drive to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities is an essential part of our Group environmental strategy.

Greenhouse gas emissions

In 2009 we set three-year greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for our facilities as outlined below: GHG target

reduction by
end 2012(1)


Facility GHG emissions (absolute) excluding product test and development5 %6.5 %
Total company GHG emissions (normalised by turnover) including product test and development10 %16 %

1. Based on 2009 GHG emissions
2. Energy/GHG data has been forecast based on data collected during January to October 2012.

We reduced our total GHG emissions (including product test and development) by four per cent between 2009 and 2012 (see table below) despite a growth in our global facilities footprint and an increase in group revenues.   We achieved this reduction from 572 ktCO2e in 2009 to 550 ktCO2e in 2012 through a sustained investment in new and more efficient manufacturing facilities. In 2012 alone we invested more than £3 million in energy reduction projects. These included the upgrade of compressed air plant, furnace controls and lighting systems and controls within our existing facilities.

GHG emissions breakdown

GHG emissions breakdown Total ktCO2e
(includes emissions associated with product development and testing)
Direct emissions (Scope 1)215236229213
Indirect emissions (Scope 2)357365346337

Our new target for GHG reduction is to reduce facility GHG emissions (absolute, excluding product test and development) by 17 per cent by end 2022 with 2012 as the baseline year.

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Efficient use of energy is an important part of our drive to reduce the environmental impacts of our business activities, and makes a key contribution to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

Our new target is to reduce energy use from our facilities by 10 per cent (normalised by turnover) by the end of 2015, with 2012 as the baseline year.

Finding ways to reduce waste from our factories continues to be a priority for us. Where this is not feasible, we aim to increase the proportion of residual waste that is recycled in preference to landfilling it. A number of our sites are approaching 'zero to landfill' except where there is no alternative for hazardous wastes.

Waste reduction

In 2010 we set a target to achieve a 10 per cent reduction (normalised by turnover) in total production waste by the end of 2012, with 2009 as the baseline year. This included both solid and liquid waste from our facility and manufacturing operations.

2009 - 2012 performance update

We met our target, achieving an overall 15 per cent decrease (normalised by turnover). In absolute terms we have seen a one per cent decrease in our total production waste from 52,019 tonnes to 51,539 tonnes.

This is a good performance taking into consideration the additional impact of the introduction and commissioning of new facilities in line with our increased order book. We have also switched from on-site effluent treatment to off-site waste treatment and disposal at two of our largest sites. To mitigate these changes we are working hard to introduce further improvement measures focused on waste minimisation, the sustainable use of resources and the upgrade of waste treatment facilities.

Longer-term trends

Taking a longer-term view of our solid waste reduction record, we achieved 64 per cent reduction in our production solid waste (normalised) from 7.96 tonnes per £m to 2.90 tonnes per £m between 1998 and 2012.

In absolute terms our production solid waste has reduced by two per cent from 35,800 tonnes to 35,224 tonnes over this period.

Taking a longer-term view of our solid and liquid waste (combined) reduction record, we achieved a 65 per cent reduction in our production waste (normalised) from 12.23 tonnes per £m to 4.24 tonnes per £m between 2001 and 2012.

In absolute terms our total production (solid & liquid) waste has reduced by 33 per cent from 77,388 tonnes to 51,539 tonnes over this period.

Our new target is to achieve a 7 per cent reduction (normalised by turnover) in total production waste by the end of 2015, with 2012 as the baseline year. This includes both solid and liquid waste from our facility and manufacturing operations.

Waste recycling

In 2010 we introduced a new target to recycle 70 per cent of our total solid waste produced by 2012.

2009 - 2012 performance update

We achieved our target with a recycling rate of 70 per cent. Our recycling record has continued to improve through a combination of better waste segregation and the sourcing of new recycling markets. At some of our European sites our recycle rates are more than 90 per cent. We are investigating where we can make additional efforts to increase rates where recycling markets are less well established and we will be maintaining our drive to increase recycling over the next three years.

In absolute terms our total solid waste sent for recycling has increased from 23,459 tonnes out of a total solid waste produced of 37,145 tonnes (2009) to 24,572 out of total solid waste produced of 35,224 tonnes (2012).

We have maintained our focus on metals recycling as part of our Revert programme, given the high cost and strategic nature of the materials. As a consequence, metal accounted for 45 per cent of the solid waste recycled.

Our new target is to recycle 75 per cent of our total solid waste produced by the end of 2015.

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Our factories need access to reliable sources of water. We use it for our manufacture, repair and overhaul services and for certain product testing activities. We recognise that supplies of potable water sources vary greatly between regions. As such we appreciate that we must consider this local availability, as well as existing demands and the ability of infrastructure to continue to deliver to these demands. 

During 2012 we completed a detailed global review of our water footprint using the Global Water Tool from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This helped us to identify regions of higher water stress. We are now using this to help us make decisions on future site locations and where to target our investments to reduce water use at existing sites.

We have also undertaken significant site rationalisation and new factory build programmes in recent years and these have provided an opportunity for us to reduce our water use in key processing areas. Our largest use of water is in wet processing, such as component cleaning for inspection and surface plating. Here our investment in modern equipment using counter-flow rinsing and extended bath lives is making a major contribution towards water reduction. We are also introducing rainwater harvesting in some of our new build factories for use in non process/non potable applications.As a result of these and other initiatives, our consumption of water (absolute) has reduced by 44 per cent from 8 192 000m3 in 1998 to 4 557 000m3 in 2012.

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We operate a Materials Stewardship Board (MSB) which is responsible for ensuring that appropriate and robust policies are developed, deployed and maintained to accommodate emerging developments and legal requirements. An example of this can be seen in our use of organic solvents, traditionally used for surface cleaning and preparation for both inspection and fabrication. As a result of the introduction of a policy on the use of solvents we have seen an absolute reduction of 88 per cent in annual consumption from 790 tonnes in 1998 to 262 tonnes in 2012.

The MSB also oversees a 'Governance of Substances' process. This allocates substance owners to co-ordinate our activities aimed at the substitution of those that we are most concerned about and are targeted for withdrawal or restriction by regulation.


The regulation of chemicals is increasing around the world as we all seek to minimise risks to our workforce, the environment and to the public. Like many other organisations operating in this regulated environment, we are improving our governance of chemicals globally.

How do you maintain levels of product performance and reliability in the most demanding of environments? We recognise that the need to stretch the boundaries of what is possible can mean the controlled use of substances in products or manufacturing that could otherwise be hazardous to human health or the environment. As such we take a stringent approach to the use of these materials, such as through controlling employee exposure and releases to the environment. Equally important is our commitment to seeking alternatives with reduced impact wherever technically and economically feasible.


International Aerospace Environmental Group

We are not alone in our determination to improve our governance of chemical use. Our suppliers also make state-of-the-art products that require them to use certain hazardous chemicals and to manage their risks. That's why we are at the forefront of the International Aerospace Environment Group (IAEG). This forum already represents around half of the aviation industry by value. It helps to develop consistent processes and standards across the industry and its supply chain, with an initial focus on chemicals management and communication throughout the value chain.

Conflict minerals

Minerals such as Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum and Gold are important in many of our products.

Rolls-Royce is developing a global programme team to make sure that our supply chain is free of conflict minerals. The Organisation for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) provides the framework used for our programme. This will involve the review of existing processes and supplier code of conduct, risk assessment, contract updates, oversight checks and third party audit where required.

Although it is very early in our investigation we have found no evidence of conflict minerals in our supply chain.

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals)

We comply with the EU regulation known as REACH, which applies to substances manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities of one tonne or more per year. 

We apply stringent rules and process in the use of all chemicals in the workplace and ensure any hazards are appropriately minimised and controlled. Some of the materials covered by the REACH legislation are critical in enabling our high technology products to work in a safe and efficient manner. We will not compromise our product safety.

We work with industry partners to identify and qualify alternatives for use in new production and aftermarket applications. In the meantime, we're also actively seeking authorisations to ensure product integrity and supply continuity.

Our policies for the materials we use are managed through our Materials Stewardship Board and we continue to enjoy a strong relationship with a number of trade associations and regulators. This helps us ensure there is an effective and practical regulatory framework.

Link to UK government web site on REACH.

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We are committed to full compliance with all relevant legal requirements and we continually monitor performance in all our businesses. We have standards and guidance notes in place for identifying mandatory requirements and for the evaluation of legal compliance. This is also a key aspect of our third party certified management systems Link opens in a new window  (to ISO14001).

Environmental incidents, neighbourhood complaints and enforcement action

We had a total of six environmental incidents in 2012 compared with eight in 2011, 13 in 2010 and 30 in 2009. All six incidents occurred in Europe and relate to discharges to sewer which exceeded consented levels.

In addition there were 11 complaints from neighbours in 2012. Ten were at our Bristol (UK) site and one at our Derby (UK) site. Ten related to odour from product testing and one from noise due to plant running through the night.

There were no prosecutions or enforcement action against the company in 2012 for environmental non-compliance. However, formal warnings from a regulatory body were received following three minor incidents at Derby (UK).

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