Further to our announcement previously about reducing our carbon emissions by 39% in 2021, we are proud to announce that we have achieved Carbon Neutral Plus status.
Having commissioned Carbon Footprint Ltd to conduct an independent audit of our carbon footprint, although we managed to substantially reduce our carbon emissions down to 214.5 tonnes in 2021, we still wanted to offset the remaining carbon emissions.
However, as an environmentally responsible company we felt it wasn’t enough just to offset the emissions we produced and just be Carbon Neutral. We therefore decided to go further and offset additional carbon from the atmosphere.
Carbon Neutral Plus
To achieve Carbon Neutral Plus status, you are required to offset 125% of your carbon emissions, meaning that you are offsetting 25% more than the carbon you are producing. We believe we are the first timber window and door company in the UK to achieve this status and to offset more carbon than the amount we emit.
When choosing which projects to support to reduce carbon emissions, we felt it was important to choose projects that would make a real difference. Unfortunately planting trees in the UK wouldn’t actually help offset our carbon emissions, as it would instead go towards helping the UK Government meet their carbon emissions target. As this is a pledge that the Government has made to do anyway, we didn’t feel that this was the best way to help.
With the assistance of Carbon Footprint Ltd, we therefore set out to invest in carbon offsetting projects. We wanted to ensure that the offsetting projects were of a high quality, so only considered those that were Gold Standard CERs, Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified.
Carbon Footprint Ltd is certified under the Quality Assurance Standard, which independently audits their carbon offsetting to ensure the offsetting has been made and meets these standards.
After assessing the different projects, we decided to invest in two offsetting projects, one on reducing deforestation in the Amazon and the other to help provide improved cookstoves in Uganda.
Preventing deforestation in the Amazon
The largest remaining rainforest on our planet, the Amazon is known for its biodiversity. The project works to prevent unplanned deforestation in native forests, which has occurred due to logging, squatting and attempts to implement pastures.
The project provides legal land-use permits for villages that actively participate in forest protection. Through funds raised, the project can continue to improve food security through agroforestry techniques, while introducing sustainable livelihood alternatives to local communities.
In partnership with local non-Government Organisations, the project provides capacity building to local families to develop and submit business plans and apply for funding to start small sustainable businesses that take advantage of non-timber products in the area, such as selling Acai fruit.
The project is expected to help avoid over 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 40-year period by managing the land to reduce deforestation, through rigorous monitoring and enforcement.
From 2012, the project has also started employing and training local villagers to help monitor and enforce the prevention of deforestation.
Improved cookstoves in Uganda
Wood fuels for cooking is one of the major causes of deforestation in Uganda. Over 95% of the population of Uganda rely on fuels such as wood or charcoal for cooking. The traditional cooking stoves consume a lot of fuel while cooking, resulting in a high level of carbon emissions being produced.
The cookstoves project helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by distributing fuel-efficient stoves. The improved stoves help reduce fuel consumption by having an insulated combustion chamber which increases combustion efficiency and helps retain heat.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, they also help reduce costs by reducing the amount of fuel they need to buy and improve health by reducing pollution.
The improved stoves also help create employment opportunities for the local community in manufacturing, distributing, retailing, and maintaining the stoves, in addition to business development, management, and technical skills.
Poor families therefore benefit greatly from the lower fuel costs and the job opportunities created.
The Sash Window Workshop: Improving our Sustainability
As we continue to work to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our sustainability, we will continue to carry out independent yearly reviews of our carbon emissions and offset the carbon we produce.
Richard Dollar, Managing Director at The Sash Window Workshop, commented:
“We are proud to have achieved Carbon Neutral Plus status, reflecting our company ethics and belief in the importance of giving back, in addition to helping protect and preserve things for future generations.
We are proud to be leading the timber window and door industry in reducing and offsetting carbon emissions and hope to encourage others in the industry to follow our footsteps and become more environmentally friendly.
In the future we hope to reduce our carbon emissions further still and, as the technology continues to improve, we will look to make the necessary changes to achieve this.”