These Chichester businesses are striving to reduce their carbon footprint – this is how

When we consider the enormity of the climate crisis, the damage caused by carbon emissions and plastic pollution, it is easy to be left feeling helpless.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 1:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 1:49 pm
Staff at Buzzword Branding and Design Agency

But these Chichester businesses believe we can all take action and do our bit to reduce our impact on the environment.

They are all striving to minimise their carbon footprint – and want to encourage other businesses in the city to do the same.

Here, they describe some of the actions they are taking to help them tread a little more lightly on the planet.

The team from Big Wave who are striving to go carbon neutral

Big Wave Productions, an award-winning documentary making company based in St Pancras, has set itself the ambitious target of becoming a carbon neutral business.

Sarah Cunliffe, executive producer, said: “All of us at Big Wave believe we are at critical tipping point in climate change. We are urging businesses in Chichester and beyond to do more to help the environment.

“If everyone does something, it will make a difference.”

Outlining some of the actions they have taken, production assistant Rhiannon Burton said: “One of our biggest impacts on the environment as a company is flights, so what we are going to do is offset the carbon emissions from those flights by donating to charities that will be replanting trees in areas of deforestation.

Kay Mawer at Cloth Kits delighted with her certicate illustrating the deduction in the reduction of the carbon generated by Drapers Yard and Cloth Kits

“Our electricity in the office is already provided by 100 per cent renewable sources, but for our gas bill and staff travel to and from work, we will also be donating to the Sussex Widlife Trust’s Help Our Kelp campaign.”

When asked to share their top tips for other businesses in the city, they suggested using an online calculator like the one provided by the World Land Trust to work out your carbon footprint so that it could then be offset.

The company also recommended using search engines like Ecosia, which plants trees every time you use the web.

A spokesman at Buzzword Creative, an independent creative agency which is also based in St Pancras, said the company was conscious of the need to work in ways which were not detrimental to the environment.

The co-founders of Mossy Earth, Matthew Davies and Duarte

“Where possible, we upgrade or buy new equipment every four or five years,” the spokesman said.

“Desktop devices such as Macs become slower as they age, using more power and more energy. The accumulation of dust can damage components and cause devices to overheat, meaning more power is needed for cooling.

“We rent a water cooler for use by both our staff and visitors. The large bottles supplied for dispensing water are recycled, and 12 months ago we stopped receiving the single-use plastic cups, opting to use glass tumblers or our own reusable water bottles.

“The cooler is fitted with an anti leak valve to sop water being wasted.”

The business has also installed a macerating toilet which uses minimal water to flush. Staff travelling to meetings take the train rather than drive.

Kay Mawer, who owns Cloth Kits in The Hornet and also runs Draper’s Yard – which is home to businesses including Refilled Chichester and the Nourish Cafe – switched to a renewable energy supply for her electricity two years ago.

According to a certificate she received from energy company Bulb, this has helped lower the carbon impact of the business by 11,030kg of CO2.

She said it was important that consumers ‘put our money where our mouths are’ and ‘follow through with our beliefs’. “I have a choice, and I would much rather support a forward thinking green energy company than one that’s using fossil fuels,” she said.

Sarah Wickens, the managing director of Store Property, said that the company carried out a carbon audit to measure its environmental impact for the first time this year.

The company, a commercial property investor and developer based in central Chichester, then donated funds to offset the amount.

Ms Wickens said: “We are going to try and reduce our carbon footprint by at least ten per cent this year.”

The company is changing company cars and personal cars to electric where possible, and installing electric car charging points at its offices.

It is also installing solar panels and switching to LED lighting, as well as generally ‘thinking a bit more carefully about the choices we make’.

Mrs Wickens said environmental concerns were ‘on the agenda everywhere you look now’.

“It would be nice to see more businesses getting on board and nice if, as a city, we could have a few more recycling bins,” she said.

When it comes to offsetting their carbon footprint, several businesses are turning to Mossy Earth, a social enterprise co-founded by former Chichester High School student Matthew Davies.

Mossy Earth helps people and businesses offset their carbon footprint by planting trees and rewilding environmentally and socially impoverished land.

Matthew said he had always been interested in the environment and spent much of his youth outside, running around the South Downs or surfing at the Witterings.

After teaching English abroad for several years, he started to become more worried about the environment and decided to do something about it. Mossy Earth was born, and during just three years of existence, it has seen reforestation and rewilding projects in Ireland, Scotland, Romania, Portugal and Slovakia. To date it has planted just over 75,000 trees – and aims to plant one million by the end of 2021.

Matthew said it was key that the offsetting process was made as transparent as possible. Mossy Earth sends each recipient a photo of tree planted with their donation and its GPS location.

Its website also includes videos, podcasts and articles on how to live more sustainably.

Matthew said: “It’s not just about offsetting their guilt, it’s about being proactive.”

The 38-year-old said he was proud to be working with companies from Chichester who were voluntarily signing up to offset their emissions.

“It’s interesting to talk to these companies who are not doing it as an obligation, it’s people within the organisation that want to make a change.”