At DD Hammocks we are committed not only to being ardent supporters of the great outdoors - encouraging as many people as possible to get out there and explore - but are also staunch advocates of the clear and unequivocal emergency that is our climate change.
We spent the last few months of 2019 meticulously researching our carbon footprint, and using the best available online sources, are now eager to offset this and become at the very least carbon neutral or, ideally, carbon negative by sometime in 2021. It has been an interesting learning curve on our part. As a company making our own products, our largest carbon usage is, as expected, in fabric production and manufacture. We have been surprised at just how much carbon is produced per person per flight when calculating the few flights we take and, too, that the gas used for heating the office over the winter months exceeds our year round electricity emissions.
We have calculated our footprint taking into account everything that’s involved from the above mentioned production and manufacturing, flights, additional transport emissions, etc., to the lesser secondary emissions including utilities, equipment, stationery, etc.
To this end we are looking to focus our energies on a not-for-profit charity whom we believe does significantly valuable work, rather than making small donations to assorted charities and those seeking sponsorship. We will, however, still continue to help some smaller charities whom we have helped over the years, and a small number of people who apply (we receive many, many requests) for sponsorship who can show that they are doing amazing things for charities.
We spent time last year researching the most creditable charity with whom to plant trees and offset our footprint - even looking at the option of planting a wood ourselves - lovely idea but unfortunately a little impractical at this point in time! Nick looked at tree planting schemes overseas in Africa and Asia although feels somewhat dubious about this - unsure as to how long any trees would survive without being chopped down in certain countries that are running tree planting/carbon offsetting schemes, change of governments and their respective policies, etc. Hence our preferred choice of the Woodland Trust - the UK's largest and foremost woodland conservation charity who have achieved much success since their formation in 1972, having planted over 47 million trees, saved thousands of woods and revived thousands of hectares of ancient woodland.
We had hoped by now (March 2020) to have become a Corporate Member of the Woodland Trust. We were looking to invest in their Woodland Carbon project, with the aim to put money aside each month during 2020 with the hope of becoming (at least) carbon neutral by the end of the year. We have, however (and with communication having been somewhat slow) now been advised that due to unprecedented demand they have suspended their Woodland Carbon Scheme due to having reached their capacity of land available for 2020, so we are currently back to the drawing board.
By planting, restoring and protecting woodlands, at the same time offsetting our carbon emissions, we hope to do our bit to promote and help protect the environment for all. Trees, after all, are essential not only for survival generally, they are also somewhat fundamental for hammocks!
We are aware there are many areas of our business we can improve on from a sustainability perspective, and we aim to spend time this year looking at different areas of the business, and steps we can take to improve things to lower our overall carbon footprint in the future (alongside off-setting it).
Over the years we have worked to considerably cut down on waste, including packaging, and the majority of our main products are now packaged in only their respective product stuff-sacks. Some smaller products, without their own stuff-sacks, are packaged in plastic to hold instructions etc. together, but if we can find a way to improve this we will. Any (substandard) product seconds are either sold at reduced prices in a seconds sale or donated to Scout groups, assuming they have only minor issues and are safe to use. If/when a product is not suitable for sale or donation we try, where possible, to re-use the material in the factory for new product samples or product stuff-sacks, etc. We re-use all boxes where we can and re-cycle any that are unserviceable. All boxed packaging for larger orders is in boxes that have prevously been used.
Currently we send out single orders in plastic jiffy bags. There is some debate over whether it is better to use these or paper bags (which then need to be sealed by (quite a lot of) tape or glue if we are to ensure any parcel, and the product inside, arrive in good, sealed condition and are not damaged by rain water etc., hence making them hard to recycle and depleting trees in the process). We have seen/read articles relating to this point and if a product was to arrive in damaged condition then the emissions for the return and replacement of that product would far outweigh the carbon footprint of the jiffy bag. We will, however, continue to look at ways to improve this.
Climate change has rapidly moved up the agenda – the debate is long over as to its’ authenticity - with the effects having become ever increasingly more apparent and urgent. Fighting climate change is not just about creating new and protecting standing woodland - it's also about uniting for bolder climate action, using energy wisely, getting charged up with and investing in renewables, eating for a climate-stable planet, greening commutes, and consuming and wasting less, focusing on life’s simple pleasures.
Nick has witnessed stark changes during his global travels over the years, and Penny, who spends much time on the west coast of Scotland, has witnessed first-hand the toxicity that ends up on some of the UK’s most remote and (otherwise) glorious beaches, and is actively involved in clearing the plastic and general debris from them.
Ewan is a huge advocate of sustainable travel, his chosen mode of transport to and from work being his faithful Cyclocross bike, one of three he owns in place of any four-wheeled, carbon-emitting vehicle. He regularly supports sustrans who both funded and built the UK’s National Cycle Network (on which he spends much time).
The majority of the DD team travel to work by either bike, on foot or on public transport.
We’re very keen to see stronger environmental protection, vastly increased tree cover and better protection for our ancient woods and trees – and a lot more besides; we know most of you feel the same way! We look forward to witnessing very many other companies and individuals aiming for carbon neutrality. And now. There is no question – time is running out to save the planet for future generations.