Environmental concerns mean that businesses are under increasing pressure to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, as part of an overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) package.

With a variety of upward pressures on their business costs, Scotland’s Walkers Shortbread is one of many taking action to make savings on utility costs.

The 109-year-old company wants to reduce carbon emissions from its four factories and three shops in the north east of Scotland. Nicky Walker, Walkers general manager, said: "We are very heavy users of utilities in our production processes so any savings we can make will go straight to the bottom line. We are also keen to continue reducing our carbon footprint."

Current action being considered is the installation of smart data loggers, which will allow gas, electricity and water consumption to be remotely monitored. Experts at consultancy Business Cost Consultants will analyse the data for Walkers and send specialists on to the sites to identify ways of reducing energy and water consumption.

Donald Maclean, managing director of Business Cost Consultants, commented: "Like most food manufacturers, Walkers is facing increasing cost pressures on ingredients.

"This has been caused by bad weather, global dietary changes and countries diverting significant amounts of raw materials towards bio-fuels.

"We are confident of making substantial yearly savings, including reductions of more than 20% on water and telecom costs."