River Usk Flood Defence Scheme
Between the summer of 2017 and the spring of 2018, the Welsh Government has been improving the flood defences of the River Usk, right outside our office. It's a reflection of how they feel there is a heightened risk of flooding in some areas of the country. Inevitably, it led to a discussion about climate change in the office.
Before too long we came around to discussing the impact we have on our environment here at Niche Pens. After all, we're an online business that sells products all over the world. That means a lot of deliveries going out by van, lorry, train and air. Not to mention the energy we use here at the office on heating, lighting, electricity and even fuel for travelling around the country and beyond to various pen shows.
Our carbon footprint
Overall, we calculated our carbon footprint to be around five tonnes of Carbon Dioxide each year using a calculator on a carbon reduction website. It sounds a lot, but in the grand scheme of things is relatively modest. Still, there's always room for improvement, so we spent some time thinking about ways in which we could offset the impact our business is having on our environment. Here's a few ways in which we think we are adding to our carbon footprint:
- Electricity consumption at the office in the building - on heating, lighting, computers, and other appliances
- Travel and fuel to pen shows throughout UK and abroad
- Carbon footprint created by manufacturers
- Fuel and emissions created by delivery companies we use
Offsetting our carbon footprint
We want to achieve the target of offsetting twice as much Carbon Dioxide as we consume. That means we're aiming to save 10 tonnes of CO2 per year. We realised there's quite a few ways we're already helping to save on our footprint, but there's also a couple of things we're going to put in place to go even further.
Currently, we have a car share scheme going, whereby Sophia and Rhys share lifts where they can. We also have a scheme that encourages taking up cycling... I ride in to work with my father, Ray on the days which allow it. Not only does that help with the CO2 emissions- it also helps me shed some of those extra pounds as I head into my 30s!
We also recycle the packaging our deliveries arrive in; we use the cardboard that items are delivered in to create insulation for sending out fragile items such as glass ink bottles. We also use fully carbon-neutral aroFOL packaging for all the orders we send to customers. This has helped us make our order fulfilment process as environmentally-friendly as possible.
We use DHL to send parcels to some overseas customers and select the GoGreen option which sees DHL neutralise the carbon used to deliver that parcel. Our main suppliers also use DPD for UK deliveries which offer a carbon-neutral service as standard.
Going forward however, we want to go even further. That's why we've decided to become a group member of the Woodland Trust, which sees us paying a monthly subscription to help safeguard UK woodland habitats and planted more trees. We have tried to give an amount which will allow for enough trees to be planted to offset our carbon footprint twice over. In addition to the little things we do to help reduce our impact on the environment around us, this should help us reach surpass that 10 tonnes per year saving.
We have recently also joined the RSPB and pay a monthly subscription which also protects habitats and helps to set up and run conservation schemes for UK wildlife.
Recycling & Single use Plastics
We have been phasing out the ink cartridges we offer as they are generally less environmentally friendly as bottled inks (as well as being less cost effective) and we now offer around 1000 bottles of inks meaning there is an ink (or 10!) for every taste.
We have used a local waste collection company which actively sort through out waste to ensure that everything which can be recycled is and we have used them for over 10 years.
We are proud to be from Wales and are equally proud that Wales has consistently has a very high rate of recycling and is currently the 2nd in the world, behind Germany (news article links below)
If you too are making changes to your daily routine to offset your own carbon footprint, why not let us know on social media? You can find us on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-41037531 - Wales National Recycling Rates
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/wales-household-waste-recycling-england - Wales 2nd in the world for recycling rates