As a British based company that is passionate about the environment and sustainability, we were delighted when the government made the UK the first major economy to pass a law committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. These targets obligate the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero through a combination of reduction and carbon offset. In this blog, we will discuss our own commitments and strategy to achieve Net Zero 2050 as a business.
Charnwood is a privately-owned, family-run business on the Isle of Wight. Founded in 1972, by Alfred J Wells and his two sons, sustainability and environmental considerations were at the forefront of their principles from the start. Amid an oil crisis and with Dutch Elm Disease prevalent, the 3 founders saw an opportunity to produce a small wood burning stove as an alternative way to help people heat their homes and directly reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Our product’s environmental credentials
Our stoves are among the most environmentally friendly appliances available on the market, using the very latest combustion technology. The majority of our range now meets the new EcoDesign regulations coming into force in 2022.
• 90% more efficient than open fires
• They can produce heat 24/7 allowing them to work in conjunction with wind and solar energy.
• Carbon neutral fuel
• Ability to source fuel locally and without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling
• A good quality stove can last many decades and comes with the right to repair
• The materials used to fabricate a Charnwood stove and its packaging are fully recyclable
The Truth About Wood Burning Stoves and Air Quality Click here to read more
A company-wide approach
The idea of being ‘green’ extends beyond the products and to every aspect of the company; from choosing raw materials, recycling packaging and even how we transport our materials and products. It is our view that it is environmentally unsustainable to transport heavy materials around the world, on the grounds of small savings, when the world’s finest materials are available here in the UK. With this in mind, Charnwood strives to buy British whenever possible. We are ISO 14001 accredited, Fors Bronze (A fleet Operator recognition Scheme), and working towards ISO 45001.
We have invested in our plant and equipment over many years to reduce our carbon footprint and be more sustainable. Across our site, there is currently 135kW of solar PV systems that have generated nearly 1000MWh to date. The vast majority of this energy is used on-site which equates to a reduction in CO2 of 368 tonnes. The rest of our electricity is sourced from a supplier providing renewable energy; however, we are planning to apply for further solar panels in due course.
By monitoring our half-hour data, we identified usage outside of working hours. By ensuring machines and compressors are turned off during these times we have achieved many thousands of annual savings.
When investing in machinery we always consider energy consumption. As a result of this objective, we have invested in 4 variable speed drive compressors, each reducing energy consumption by up to 50% when compared to fixed drive compressors.
Our investment in the latest fibre laser technology has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption of our metal cutting facility of over 500kWh per day due to advancements in technology.
Our sustainable network
Our supply chains get evaluated on their environmental credentials. A recent example is our steel supply. We have placed a large forward order for 750 tonnes of hot rolled steel with our supplier who produce the material in South Wales. We have chosen to buy our steel with them here in the UK, as we feel they play a big part in making the steel industry more sustainable. We have agreed to pay a £10 per tonne carbon surcharge, which will be used to reduce their carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and help them be carbon-neutral by 2050.
Since 2008 we have run a scheme, marketed internally as the “Green dog”, encouraging our employees to be environmentally friendly. This ranges from reducing energy consumption by switching off lights and keeping air-con between certain temperatures, to using the compost bin and offering them locally sourced fruit and milk.
We are part of the cycle-to-work scheme which has proven popular and provide showers to facilitate this. We avidly discourage printing in the office and have invested in a digital solution that delivers order information to the factory floor, thus cutting out the paper trail. We are looking to extend that solution throughout the company.
We also have a policy of investing in electric company vehicles and have multiple charging points at the factory available to all staff and visitors.
At the customer level we are taking our commitment to greener packaging to a higher level by sourcing innovative, alternative solutions to pallet wrapping and reviewing every aspect of the packaging, right down to the tape, labels and documents enclosed. We have used recycled stationery throughout our offices since 2012 we are now looking to swap to even more eco-friendly, more visibly recycled versions so that our efforts do not go unnoticed by our customers.
Whilst the Net Zero 2050 initiative is currently the only formal sustainability initiative we are part of, many of the projects we are involved in, especially for Transport for London require us to commit to reducing our environmental impact. In recognition of this and other achievements, we were awarded the Green Business of the Year Award by our local chamber of commerce.
We believe Net Zero 2050 is an inevitable step for all companies and we are committed to leading the way in a domain that we are passionate about. We will continue to analyse our approach and actively seek ways to improve the business’s environmental credentials. Factoring in our interventions to date with our plans for the future, we are well placed to reach ‘carbon-neutral’ status before 2050.