Lowering the timber sector’s carbon footprint

Following the publication of the TDUK Net Zero Roadmap, TDUK members are working hard to reduce their carbon emissions and make their companies more sustainable. TDUK reports on some of the latest changes.

The industry has long talked about the need for more sustainable construction, and why it’s so important to encourage builders, contractors and designers to engage with low-carbon construction products.

But equally important is that manufacturers and suppliers play their part, by looking at how they can make their own companies more sustainable.

The Timber Development UK (TDUK) Net Zero Roadmap, published earlier this year, outlined some of the ways in which companies can reduce their carbon emissions, such as by using renewable energy sources for their production processes and by switching to electric fleet transport options.

TDUK Sustainability Director Charlie Law says: “There are some really quick wins for businesses which can be put into practice now. And if you reduce your carbon, you reduce your costs.

“The most important first step is to m ake sure you can accurately count your carbon emissions. This is why the Roadmap is being rolled out with both free, and recommended, tools to help businesses better understand their emissions profile.”

Scotts’ commitment to a greener planet

Scotts Timber Engineering has recently been awarded a Carbon Footprint certification from Go Climate Positive, a provider of carbon management and offsetting services.

This certification shows that Scotts is currently producing one-third less carbon per unit of activity compared to others in its industry sector.

Scotts uses PEFC-certified wood and promotes the use of timber in construction and the built environment. But Managing Director James Scott says this is only the beginning.

“Going through this process of certification has taken a lot of time and attention to detail to truly understand where the main carbon impacts are in our business,” he says.

The Carbon Footprint certification process required Scotts to measure the greenhouse gas emissions from all aspects of its operations, including its supply chain, products, and services.

The emissions were calculated using the GHG Corporate and Value Chain Protocol Standards, and targets that aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) guidelines, with independent guidance from Go Climate Positive.

James continues: “We believe that reducing our carbon footprint is not only good for the planet but also good for our business, as it helps us improve our efficiency, reduce our costs and enhance our reputation.”

Scotts has also developed a carbon reduction plan that aims to lower the level of emissions produced by the company even further.

Some of the actions Scotts is taking include eliminating oil usage – instead, the company uses waste wood in a new biomass boiler at its Thrapston headquarters to provide heating for the office – and investing in renewable energy by installing solar panels for its Redditch site to reduce Scope 2 electricity usage.


Hanson goes electric

Hanson Plywood is currently building a brand new warehouse at its site in Halifax, and has worked hard to incorporate sustainable construction processes, as well as installing renewable energy sources to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Hanson’s new electric HGV will help to transport its OSB, MDF and plywood products to customers across the UK.

Joe Walshe, Operations and Systems Director, says: “The whole construction process has carefully considered environmental aspects and attributes. As an example, we have been able to recycle a lot of the stone that was within the site groundworks to make the gables that surround the warehouse.”

Solar panels added to the warehouse will help to power the entire facility, and the Hanson team is currently looking at battery storage options so that they can maximise the use of the energy gathered by the solar panels.

Transport is a key area in which companies can lower their carbon emissions, and Hanson has recently taken ownership of an electric HGV vehicle that will significantly lower its transport emissions – the company’s biggest source of emissions, Joe says.

“We distribute our goods throughout the UK, and our new electric HGV will be able to travel around 300km on a single charge.”

In this initiative the company is partnering with Volvo in operating one of the first HGVs of this kind in West Yorkshire, and now providing customers with an environmentally preferable delivery option for their goods.

The HGV will help the company deliver plywood, OSB, MDF and all related products to customers across the UK, as well as bringing imported timber to site from the various UK ports of arrival.

Taking its quest to lower emissions even further, an order for five new electric forklift trucks has also been placed, which are due to arrive in early 2024. These trucks will be charged through the solar panels that are already installed on site, and the next set of company cars for the sales team will also be electric.

Hanson has a working partnership with Planet Mark – a business that offers sustainability certification.

Joe continues: “We reported our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions to Planet Mark and have received a carbon footprint score along with our certification.

“To maintain our certification, we have pledged to reduce our carbon footprint score by 5% every year. Planet Mark have specialists on hand that are supporting us in finding new ways to reduce emissions and complete our journey.

“As a business, we’re keen to be responsible and try to offset and reduce any impact we’re having with our emissions by looking at our processes and seeing where we can make gains and improvements.”


Sustainability fact sheets

Metsä Wood has created a new series of fact sheets with information about Nordic forests.

Metsä Wood has created a series of new fact sheets that offer information about Nordic forests, forest certification, carbon footprint and life cycle assessment (LCA) in a concise format, to help customers better understand forestry and biodiversity.

Carbon footprint calculations and LCAs are widely used to demonstrate the carbon emissions and environmental impacts of a product.

The sheets are available on Metsä’s website at www.metsagroup.com