Our journey to net zero
The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed some words on our website about environmental sustainability and net zero. In fact you might be seeing this kind of thing much more often from a range of companies across the world. To the okoHaus team, these are not just words. When we started the business we genuinely wanted to build something that would help the environment rather than hurt it. Though, with the day to day pressures of building and running a business it is very easy to lose sight of any big ticket objective. We have therefore decided to outline what we are actually doing to get closer to our objectives, challenge ourselves and hold ourselves, and our suppliers, accountable for environmental matters. This can also be a place where you can feed back to us on ideas you might have on how we can improve or to hold us accountable.
We have already set out an ambitious but achievable Environmental Policy, focussed around five key deliverables:
1. Supplying products that have a positive impact on the environment
2. Using the principles of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ to minimise our negative impact on the environment. We reduce waste as far as possible as a priority and recycle as a last resort
3. Working with suppliers who hold similar values, and who actually live by those values
4. Aiming for 100% responsible sourcing – every choice we make as a business should be the best choice for the environment
5. Aiming to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2025, earlier if possible
6. Constantly challenging the status quo - if we spot a better way to do something we are not afraid to try it
7. Engaging with our local community to find ways to make a positive difference
We are making progress on all these points, but in this blog post we will specifically focus on point 5; aiming to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2025.
Introducing C Free!
We are pleased to announce that following an introduction by our friends at Box Clad, we have started a partnership with C Free. C Free are specialists in accurately calculating the amount of carbon we are using, as individuals and a business and suggesting improvements to get the amount we produce down. They also research and find high quality Gold Standard certified projects to offset unavoidable emissions.
They have three basic programmes;
1. Tree planting
2. Carbon neutral workforce
3. Carbon neutral business
As of June 2021, we are engaged with them on their tree planting and carbon neutral workforce initiatives, whilst we actively work towards achieving the carbon neutral business standard.
This means two things: we can now genuinely claim to have a certified Carbon Neutral Workforce and, for each window or door sold from June 2021 onwards, we commit to plant one tree. Actually, just by signing up with C Free they have planted 100 trees for us already!
Buy one, get one tree😊
As we work from home, our employees day to day lives make up quite a substantial amount of our emissions. To achieve Carbon Neutral Workforce certification, we have calculated the carbon footprints of our employees lives at work and at home, provided information on how to reduce, and are offsetting the emissions that they cannot reduce by supporting Gold Standard certified projects.
Eddie at C Free said “We’re really excited to start working with okoHaus, it is rare that we come across a company so committed to doing good for the planet and we are happy to help them on their journey to Net Zero”.
As UK woodland cover stands at about 13%, compared to the EU average of 38%, we have plenty of scope to increase woodland on our own shores before considering projects abroad. This gives us the added benefit of supporting relatively local companies and economies. So, with the help of C Free we have decided to support The Future Forest Company with their Brisbane Mains planting project in Scotland. You can find out more about Brisbane Mains in the video below.
In this project, The Future Forest Company are using a range of techniques to maximise the impact of their work. Reforestation combined with biochar and enhanced weathering technologies allow them to sequester up to 10 times more carbon per hectare of land. You can find out more detail at www.thefutureforestcompany.com.
Additionally, to achieve our Carbon Neutral Workforce certification we are supporting the Vichada Reforestation Project in the Orinoco river basin, Colombia. It combines reforestation with biodiversity protection and ecosystem restoration, whilst contributing to the mitigation of the climate crisis. The rain forests of South America have been in retreat for centuries. This project is changing that. In addition to the reforestation of the savannah, the project protects the remaining patches of native vegetation and creates additional conservation areas on the banks of rivers and other watersheds. The project will plant more than 80 million trees (offsetting more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2) to: offer a natural habitat for native animals and plants, protect and enrich the soil, save and filter water, and contribute to the mitigation of the greenhouse effect.
We will be back to update you on progress towards our net zero target, but for now I’d like to leave you with a quote from Greta Thunberg, which we’ve found inspiring:
‘The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change’