In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed received a questionnaire response from AES Solar with supporting documents.
The questionnaire outlined what the company was doing to reduce its environmental and climate impact: installation of solar PV and thermal on its own facility, decreased paper usage and increased recycling, composting and growing their own vegetables.
The company stated "All these small changes build towards our ultimate aim of decarbonising our energy supply to reverse climate change and create sustainable clean energy."
"We manufacture and assemble the majority of our products from our headquarters in Forres. With the majority of our materials from the local, domestic, and European market, the environmental impact of the transportation is minimal. AES Solar is actively resisting the less sustainable trend of sourcing materials from Asia in order to reduce our carbon footprint and support producers closer to home.
The AES Solar business itself operates in a sustainable manner. As one would expect, both PV and solar thermal panels power operations within the AES Solar office and factory. Despite office growth, the introduction of onsite solar panels has resulted in a drop in annual electricity costs from 2018 to 2019, and a decrease in gas costs from the same period.
Since 2017, the company has reduced its paper usage by 80% and increased its recycling of paper, plastic, and glass by 62%. We have also introduced a composting system (reducing waste by a further 15%) and follow a circular business model in terms of manufacturing waste.
As well as specialising in the design, production and installation of sustainable energy systems, the AES Solar business itself operates sustainably. Our team works towards a zero-waste circular production cycle; everything is designed and made onsite, reducing transport emissions; creating high-value job opportunities in a region with a lower-than-average skills base; investing in the young work force, through modern apprenticeships and graduate schemes; and working to engage the local community in our work, inspiring the next generation of green energy designers, engineers, and advocates."
As it was a small company with an annual turnover of less than £10.2 million, and appeared to only be producing solar thermal collectors, a renewable heating technology, it was considered to be providing only environmental alternatives. It therefore received an exemption from providing full environmental reporting. It received Ethical Consumer's best rating for Environmental Reporting and was not marked down in this category.
Questionnaire response Jan 2021 (25 January 2021)