27th January 2020
Human activity has released increasing levels of carbon emissions into the air as we continue to burn fossil fuels to meet our everyday energy needs. The emissions released from burning oil, coal and gas absorb solar energy, trapping heat close to Earth’s surface and preventing it from being released into space. This creates what is known as the Greenhouse effect, which has triggered many complex shifts in our planet’s weather and climate systems. Such implications range from rising average temperatures (global warming) and extreme weather events, to rising sea levels and shifting wildlife populations and habitats. Sir David Attenborough has warned that “the moment of crisis has come” in efforts to tackle climate change, and with recent devastation such as the extreme fires experienced in Australia, we know we must all act now.
At Harrison Spinks, environmental integrity is crucial in what we do, for improving sleep and protecting the world. We understand the importance of doing our bit to minimise our carbon emissions, and offset any unavoidable emissions we do produce. That’s why we have undergone an assessment by sustainability experts at Carbon Footprint Ltd to be awarded our Carbon Neutral+ status. Read on to learn more about the steps we have taken throughout every stage of our vertically integrated supply chain to secure our carbon neutral future.
Harrison Spinks has partnered with British Steel to develop a new grade of steel rod which allows a finer gauge wire than traditional wire drawing methods. This produces lighter spring pads and results in a weight saving of 54% of steel per mattress compared to those with standard components. Finer wire allows us to use less raw material and in turn results in less carbon emissions released in production and delivery. Harrison Spinks has also opened a wire-drawing line at British Steel’s plant in Scunthorpe which means that steel waste from the wire drawing process can be immediately recycled on-site, creating closed loop production.
We bought our farm in North Yorkshire in 2009, allowing us to rear sheep and produce our own wool. We source any additional wool from carefully selected British Wool approved farms within a 200 mile radius of our factory, ensuring we support local farmers. This allows us to further reduce our carbon footprint as it eliminates the need to import wool from countries far afield such as New Zealand.
On our farm we grow 800 tonnes of fillings a year, including hemp and flax crop fibres. These are not only used as resilient and absorbent fillings in our mattresses, but also have a positive impact on the environment by absorbing 300 tonnes of CO2 a year. For every acre of hemp grown, 1 tonne of CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere by the plant! The farm is powered by over 100,000 bio-fuel briquettes made using waste from the hemp and flax production, saving over 35,000 litres of fossil fuel each year.
Through producing and manufacturing our own materials we are able to save over 1,300 tonnes of CO2 every year. This is because we develop and build our own ultra-fast machines on-site, which are patented and unique to the industry. The machines are faster but use 70% less power as we have removed the need for heat treatment, due to steel grade development from British Steel. Using traditional craftsmanship and handmade expertise means we are able to save further machine energy.
Our in-house development department is a team of engineers that have nothing really to do with beds. Their sole focus is to continuously innovate and improve our machinery, spring systems and products. Our latest development – Cortec™ has been 5 years in the making and has completely eliminated the use of glue making this the world’s first ever spring system that is 100% recyclable at end of life. Glue is traditionally used to hold spring systems together but it causes huge issues with recycling. By changing all our spring systems to Cortec™ means that all of our products are much easier to recycle than other mattresses, and reduces our impact on landfill. In fact our mattresses are becoming circular, it means they can be taken apart at end of life and the components recycled in to new things, for example the wire can become new springs and the pocket cloth will be melted back down to make something new out of polyester.
We are in the process of upgrading our transport fleet to ensure we have the lowest possible impact on the environment. Our sophisticated route planning systems ensure we maximise the fleet efficiency at over 90%, while the reduced weight of our springs and consequently final products enables us to increase fuel efficiency and minimise carbon emissions in delivery.
We have also launched an urban tree‐planting scheme involving schools and community groups near our South Leeds headquarters. The scheme involves planting one‐year‐old trees – known as ‘whips’ – which are all native broad leaf varieties. The tree planting follows our offsetting of 3,824 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide by supporting the Solar Power Generation Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) project in India.
At Harrison Spinks we are constantly looking for ways to develop a more sustainable future when it comes to all things sleep. Our current total CO2e is 3566.84 tonnes, which we are committed to continuously reducing year on year through our ongoing support for environmental initiatives. John Buckley, Managing Director of Carbon Footprint Ltd said “In these times of climate emergency, Harrison Spinks has taken the responsible step of having a robust measurement of its own green‐house gas emissions completed and energy audits done across its sites. The business has a solid plan in place to reduce its own emissions. Alongside this, they are supporting carbon offset projects that fund solutions to climate change.” These efforts to minimise and offset our carbon emissions have been recognised with not one but two Queen's Awards for Sustainable Development, and with our new Carbon Neutral+ accreditation we hope to continue championing sustainability in all we do, as well as lead the way for positive change in the industry.