Not all sustainability terms are carbon copies!

May 12, 2021

For those that have been in and around the timber industry for many years, the drive for sustainability isn’t a new thing. The inherent properties of using timber from well managed forests has always felt like a good space to be in and creates a sense of doing the right thing for the planet. As the interest and demand in behaving this way quite rightly increases, the hardest bit can be keeping up with the latest terminology!

Firstly, we start with the obvious need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt global warming. In amongst the bigger subject of sustainability we have gone through terms such as carbon footprint, embodied carbon (the same thing – embodied carbon is the carbon footprint of a material), sequestered carbon and now zero carbon and net zero carbon. All are terms with carbon in them but with differences either nuanced or radical, none with international or even national definitions, formulae or algorithms.

The best way forward, and what a number of companies and organisations have done, is to define the terms internally so they are understood and can set improvement targets appropriately.

The carbon agenda is heavily related to energy efficiency and in that context zero carbon and net zero carbon become useful terms within a green energy programme and electricity generation. Zero carbon is the ultimate goal; energy generated without the need for carbon emissions, easily defined through wind, solar, wave and hydro power. Net zero carbon introduces the concept of offsetting but also the generation of electricity from burning biomass, on the basis that specific amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere is offset and absorbed with the planting of replacement biomass fuel stocks.

Each organisation will settle on what they believe is the right solution until inevitably the world will settle on some standardisation of terms. In the meantime, with our knowledge of sustainable forestry, responsible procurement processes and efficient design engineering, our path is focussed on a net zero carbon goal, in which the likes of biomass and offsetting play a significant role in our success.  Our sustainability strategy focuses on the future challenges facing our business and the actions we are taking to ensure a positive effect on our people, our planet and our product.

The language may follow but our role is to lead and do our bit for the greater good.