At the forefront of sustainability 11 August 2023

Brugola OEB Industriale SpA is renowned within the fastener industry as a leading Italian manufacturer and for the invention of the hexagonal socket head cap screw. Once again, the company is at the forefront of the market, this time regarding sustainability. Here we speak to President Jody Brugola about the steps the business has taken in regards to sustainability and what it has planned for the future. 

What does the word ‘sustainability’ mean to your business? What strategy and goals have you set yourself as a company?

“Put simply, sustainability is a fundamental part of our business and we try to support it every day – from big projects dedicated to the protection of the environment to the little actions that all employees can do at work. 

That is why we have developed a concrete integrated sustainability strategy – with the aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. Also, thanks to our partnership with Forever Bambù – the leading company in Europe for the planting of giant bamboo – we are looking to obtain a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030.”

What sustainability projects have you introduced and how have they benefited the company?

“Our sustainability strategy was launched in 2019 and started by us replacing 25 tonnes of paper reels with eco-sustainable and reusable technical cloths, with an 80% reduction of paper. Moreover, we also aimed to recover 100 tonnes of oil derived from the production process of the screws, reducing the use of oils by 15%. 

Another project involves us obtaining an efficiency increase in the production of compressed air – through the installation of new inverter compressors in the OEB1 plant, which allows very high energy savings (-40% on consumption for the production of air). 

Other projects referenced our usage of plastic and saw us cut out consumption of plastic from 207 tonnes to 50 tonnes, two-thirds of which is regenerated plastic. Lastly, we are implementing LED lighting in rooms, offices and production plants to decrease electricity consumption and mitigate CO2 emissions. 

In 2021, we also positioned ourselves as a pioneer of sustainability with support for the project to create new giant bamboo forests in Italy with Forever Bambù. Brugola has become an ambassador for sustainability of the Forever Zero CO2 project, supporting three hectares of organic and symbiotic cultivation – equivalent to a certified carbon footprint mitigation of 780 tonnes of CO2 per year until 2043. This is a multi-year project that foresees a completion with a total area of six hectares of afforestation by 2024.

We also have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure our environmental performance, which are monitored through dedicated management systems. We have been monitoring them for several years and have historical trends for these indicators.”

What have been the benefits of all these projects?

“’Since the start in 2019, the emission reduction project has gained increasing momentum – leading to a decrease of around 25% in the amount of CO2 at the end of 2022.

Furthermore, 100 tonnes of oil have already been recovered in the last 12 months, representing half of the oil used in production. The company is aiming to reach 70% by further optimising the six in-house heat treatment lines, which has already made it possible to reduce gas consumption by 8% and at the same time reduced the consumption of waste oils by 32%. Thanks to the new compressors and LEDs, energy efficiency interventions have also been made, reducing electricity consumption by 7%. 

In the main plant, we have also planned a new way of recovering the heat generated by the compressors, which is now no longer dispersed into the environment but recovered to be used for heating the plant.

By investing in these sustainability projects, we can promote resource efficiency, reduce waste and optimise the use of raw materials. This can result in significant long-term economic savings for the business. 

Investing in sustainability projects also reflects our commitment to corporate social responsibility, promoting consumer trust, and creating a positive impact on the communities in which they operate.”

Have you seen any demands from customers in regard to sustainability? What have these been? 

“The automotive sector, in which we operate, has become increasingly demanding towards its supply chain. Brugola has been accredited to environmental certifications since 2004, which were previously considered ‘nice to have’ for requests. However, they have now become essential requirements if you are to be a supplier to major players in the automotive market. The reason for this is some of the companies in the automotive sector assign a kind of rating to businesses that demonstrate strength, attentiveness and performance in environmental, social and governance aspects.

As a business we also expect our supply chain to be sustainable. It is important that when we ask them for what our customers request, they are able to respond positively – whether that is regarding environmental certifications, sustainability or corporate social responsibility.”

What are your sustainability plans for the future? Where do you see opportunities?

“Our goal is to decrease our CO2 emission by 70%, by 2030, and we are aiming for zero emissions by 2035. To achieve these goals we will continue the Forever Bambu’s project with the purchase of two more hectares of giant bamboo forests for CO2 compensation in 2024.

We are also working on an aeroponic cultivation project, which would allow us to use CO2 emitted by our production process to be used in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, which would then be used in the Brugola canteen. 

To add to this, we will also continue with our internal activities to reduce CO2 emissions, such as eliminating plastic and/or using regenerated plastic in the production process. We will work on soundproofing and improvements in the heat treatment department to optimise the lines and improve CO2 emissions. Furthermore, we are studying cogeneration interventions for the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy.” 

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888

Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector – interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe. Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the brand is renowned.