Climate positive business
Dodds & Shute are a business that is passionate about making a difference and creating change in our industry. We aim to be market leaders for sustainable ideas as well as beautiful design so we asked ourselves, what can we do as an intermediary to hold ourselves accountable for the global impact of our sector?
In August 2018 we implemented a new initiative to become a climate positive business, delivering fantastic projects whilst also giving back more to the environment than is taken away through the processes of material extraction and manufacturing associated in our industry.
We believe that climate change is a very real and serious threat and it is the responsibility of businesses and individuals to address their behaviour and tackle this issue. We hope you’re here because you support our cause, please continue reading for more information of the problem, our investigation and solution.
With thanks to the support of our clients since August 2018 we have achieved the following.
13,306 trees protected
384 tonnes of carbon emissions avoided
23.75 hectares of forest protected
The problem: climate change
Climate change is one of the most critical environmental challenges facing the way we live. Greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere absorb heat and keep the planet’s atmosphere warmer than it otherwise would be. It is widely acknowledged that human activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests are increasing the levels in the atmosphere and causing our climate to change. To address this governments and businesses around the world have agreed targets for the reduction of green house gasses.
Calculating the carbon footprint of furniture
FIRA have undertaken a feasibility study that benchmarks the carbon footprints of furniture products. The full list of emissions assessed are detailed below:
1) Raw materials and components entering the premises.
2) Delivery of raw materials from the first supplier.
3) Energy usage e.g. fuel, electricity.
4) Manufacturing processes onsite.
5) Manufacturing service consumables.
6) Outsourced activities.
7) Business and administration support activities such as sales, operation of the premises, cars and travel.
8) Packaging materials, both temporary and permanent
9) Storage of products on site or an associated facility including transport on site.
The total footprint (including utility bills and business travel) is divided by the number of products manufactured and the end result is a carbon footprint of each individual product.
This chart illustrates the carbon footprint of each product type and the variation in emissions, demonstrating the discrepancies in our industry.
To account for this in our emission calculations Dodds & Shute assume the worst case scenario for each products output. Ie. for a sofa we use the top end figure 117.9 kgCO2e and add 10% to these figures to ensure what we offset is higher than our actual carbon footprint.
Using this data we get an approximate idea of the entire carbon footprint of our projects and therefore know how much we need to offset to ensure we are giving back to the environment more than we are taking away.
The solution: carbon markets
Forest conservation is
recognised by scientists as one of the most immediate schemes to tackle climate change and reduce emissions. In fact, analysts estimate that stopping deforestation, restoring forests and improving forestry practices could cost-effectively remove 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Purchasing forest conservation carbon credits was identified by Dodds & Shute as an ideal solution to rebalance the emissions of their projects.
Our forest conservation project
Dodds & Shute has currently aligned itself the Cordillera Azul National Park project in Peru.
The forest is under threat of deforestation and our money goes towards action on the ground to help address this. In doing so we are offering impoverished communities a more sustainable way of making a living and protecting habitats for 28 High Conservation Value species such as the Spectacled Bear, Jaguar and Harpy Eagle.
The Cordillera Azul project focuses on developing sustainable livelihoods and a community-driven programme is helping tens of thousands of local people gain access to basic services such as sanitation, health care and education.
Conclusion: Uncertainties and issues
Carbon footprinting is a complex subject and setting product benchmarks for the furniture industry is still a work in progress. However, even considering these uncertainties FIRA have made an important contribution to the understanding of furniture carbon footprints. As greater volumes of products are calculated with new and improved methodology this accuracy will only improve.
In the meantime Dodds & Shute believe it is essential that as a society we act before it’s too late. We take our responsibility seriously to revolutionise our industry and believe in the power of collective effort when it comes to addressing climate change. We hope all our suppliers and clients understand and support the reasons for us implementing this model and hope it might encourage you to take further action yourself as a business, as an individual or by simply choosing to work with us again.
If you want any help facilitating change please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading.
Nick & Stefan