NEWS | Round-up

Our climate change champion Richard Hagan, managing director of Crystal Doors, says forget carbon neutral, the race to net zero is the new holy grail and that it’s no longer enough to rely on offsetting emissions

Carbon neutral is dead


OVER THE past year, ‘net zero’ has become the buzzword of choice in the fight against climate catastrophe. Terms like ‘carbon neutral’ are outdated – it’s not just carbon dioxide emissions we need to cut, but all greenhouse gases. Pound-for-pound, other gases like methane (think livestock and landfills) and nitrous oxide (think car exhausts) have a stronger warming effect on the climate. They need cutting out, too. For too long, large companies have simply totted up their CO2 emissions, spent a few thousand on offset credits and boasted that the job was done. This has always filled me with anger – those companies had not done anything of value to clean up their own mess. My tiny company was investing more than half a

year’s turnover to take responsibility for our emissions and reduce them directly, while large companies, with much larger footprints, played pretend. Greenwash and lies were making me green – not with envy, but with rage! Thankfully, things are changing. Many of those dubious ‘carbon neutral’ claims have been withdrawn as the world embraces the new reality of the ‘race to net zero’ – to account for all greenhouse gases, minimise them as much, and as quickly, as possible in line with climate science, and use offsets to balance out what remains. Now it’s my tiny company and others like us who are reaping the rewards. Gone are the days where you can just offset and forget.


companies spent a few thousand on offset credits and boasted that the job was done

Under the definition set by the United Nations, net zero means companies must priori- tise reducing all emissions as soon as possible and report annually on their progress. That means it is now much

easier to find out how committed a company truly is to sustainability.

I look for the following key indicators: the company’s pledge to net zero; their last carbon footprint report; and a strategy that follows a scientific approach, matching efforts and targets with what climate science says is needed. All three can be achieved even by small companies. Appoint your most enthusiastic employee as chief sustainability officer (CSO), pledge to reach net zero by 2050 and halve your emissions by 2030, and develop a strategy that will lower your carbon footprint every year. There are many reporting templates and resources available online. It’s about starting your journey, learning and having fun. That’s worthy of recognition in itself, so start the conversation with your customers and community and let the world know that you have joined the most important race in history.


Brookmans by Smallbone aims to set ‘industry standard’ in sustainability

REDUCING OCEAN plastics, minimising carbon impact and decreasing waste to landfill through a trade-in scheme all figure in the Brookmans sustainability plan. With the help of the Used Kitchen Exchange (UKE)’s independently accredited ‘Kitchen Sustainability Calculator’, Brookmans by Smallbone was able to see how much carbon was generated during the manufacture and installation of one of its kitchens. Brookmans will be encouraging their customers to sell their old kitchens through UKE. They will be repurposed via their recycling scheme if the kitchens are not suitable for a trade-in. If the old kitchen is in so bad a condition that neither of these options is viable, then Brookmans and UKE are partnering to fund the correct recycling or conversion to biomass. Brookmans brand director David Reid said: “Sustainability has always been key for us. We have worked with UKE since our launch to resell customers’ outgoing kitchens, but by taking this next step to pioneer the use of its Kitchen Sustainability Calculator, we hope to set an industry standard.” Helen Lord, founder and director of UKE, commented: “We are delighted that Brookmans by Smallbone has wholeheartedly embraced UKE as an integral part of its business. Brookmans is also trailblazing a gold standard for a sustainable approach to buying a new kitchen.” It was found that to make and install one new kitchen by Brookmans produced on average 5,000kg of carbon and so for every kitchen sold, Brookmans will plant 100 trees as a way to help global reforestation. It will also work with 4Ocean to remove 5kg of waste from the oceans for every new kitchen sold, which is the equivalent to 500 plastic bottles.

· August 2021

Nine out of 10 in UK believe it’s vital to help the environment

THE MAJORITY of people in the UK (88%) feel a personal responsibility to help the environment, according to a recent survey by Beko.

The home appliance brand ran a survey across the UK and some of its other major European markets to see what the public felt was important in terms of sustainability. The survey revealed that the majority of people have implemented eco practices in their everyday lives, including minimising waste, water or energy use. Others said they were trying to help the planet by buying sustainable products, fighting food waste, reducing air travel and eating less meat.

Human environmental damage was flagged up as the most critical threat to the planet, followed by plastic waste, infectious diseases, natural disasters, natural resource crisis,

biodiversity loss, food waste and water stress. The UK was seen to value recycling more than all the other countries. In the survey, 80% of people practised recycling in their daily lives, followed by Italy at 78% and Germany at 66%. Beko has tackled some of its customers’ concerns by setting environmental targets – such as achieving zero emissions by 2050, and releasing a new range of eco-friendly appliances that are made from recycled plastic. Teresa Arbuckle, managing director of Beko UK and Ireland, said: “Beko’s purpose is empowering future generations to live healthier lives, which is only possible by living more sustainably and working towards a healthier planet. We are eager to adapt existing technologies to make our appliances more environmentally friendly. For Beko, this is only the beginning.”


Champion Change

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