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A ‘tree-mendous’ effort in the fight against climate change

The journey to carbon neutral – the latest empassioned update from Alan Rance of Midas Pattern Company Ltd.

The #midasgreeninitiative has had a busy few months. In November we were thrilled to be selected winners of The Energy Institute’s Energy Management Award and in January The Carbon Trust carried out its Carbon Trust Standard audit to certificate our carbon neutrality, both of which are huge milestones on our green journey. January also marked the instigation of our relationship with The Forest of Marston Vale, probably the most significant step Midas has taken since we began our ‘green’ journey in April 2019. We embarked on our quest for two reasons: to make amends for our carbon intensive past and to make our business as ‘green’ as it could possibly be, but also to show employees, suppliers and customers what could be achieved when there was a genuine desire to make a business ‘green’.

This was a ‘zero greenwash’ initiative. We pledged to do all that we could, regardless of cost or inconvenience, to reduce our carbon emissions to zero, or as close as we realistically could, as quickly as possible. This would enable us to show the world, through our dedicated green initiative webpage, what we’d done and how we’d done it, including sharing all contacts facts and figures, after all the idea is to encourage momentum by highlighting all the advantages we gained, both principally and financially through that journey.

By July 2020 we had, by our own reckoning, achieved ‘carbon neutrality’ in process, or ‘Carbon Neutral in Scope 1 & 2 of BSI PAS 2060’. This means that all carbon emissions in the process of manufacturing our products had been negated, including all waste, all processes, all energy consumed and all delivery aspects; essentially every activity that occurs on our site has to see carbon emissions reduced to zero or as near to zero as possible. If ‘zero’ is not achieved the remaining balance of carbon must be offset by high quality certified carbon credits from an approved scheme. Of course, all of the carbon that resides in the products we make and sell, is the responsibility of the customer, all embedded carbon in our products must be ‘offset’ or ‘mitigated’ by that customer, thus if that customer was to go forward and become accredited to BSI PAS 2060 they would need to take responsibility for the carbon in our products by purchasing carbon credits from an accredited scheme; essentially the problem of embedded carbon in sold goods is ‘not our problem’.

However, as someone who genuinely cares about climate change and responsible manufacturing, this principle never really sat comfortably with me. It is all very well Midas being carbon neutral and claiming to be green, but if the customer does not feel as responsible there’s no pressure (currently) on them to offset the carbon which is their responsibility once our products are delivered. This means that indirectly Midas has still contributed to an increase in global carbon emissions by supplying the products in the first place. The fact that these products are typically medical device enclosures that contribute to saving lives and improving quality of life doesn’t compensate for the carbon they embody. I felt we could do more and, even though not obliged to, I felt we should do more. It was obvious to me that if we were going to do all that we could to be legitimately green we would need to take responsibility for the embedded carbon in our products by ‘offsetting’ that carbon ourselves, we couldn’t rely on our customers to do it. That began a search for available offsetting schemes that we could use to essentially buy enough carbon credits to mitigate all the embedded carbon in our products, for Midas our annual sales equate to 400-500 tons of CO2 per year.

A quick trawl of the internet revealed a plethora of schemes from ‘gold standard’ to ‘verified carbon standard’ and with many schemes claiming to meet The Carbon Footprint Standard’ and ‘PAS 2060 verifiable’ it looks easy to get a quick quote, pay your money and then be given a certificate that says you’ve offset ‘X tons of carbon’ and off you go with a clear conscience! I wasn’t happy with that. I may be ‘old school’ but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me to think my money will be passing through several organisations and could potentially end up being redistributed by a south American government body to indigenous farmers as an encouragement to ‘not cut down trees’ as they clear forested land for cattle production. On the contrary, I felt that even though these schemes are accredited and offer the prized ‘WCU’s (woodland carbon units – one WCU equals one tonne carbon) that are necessary for carbon offset accreditation, I wanted my investment to be made locally, to benefit locally and be truly invested in tree planting and not bureaucracy, I also wanted to be able to clearly see that investment grow.

We approached the Forest of Marston Vale (FoMV) in the autumn of 2020, negotiations began around what we needed and what they could provide. FoMV is a small community forest, one of twelve set up by the UK government in the early 1990s, it is literally on our doorstep. Just three miles away from Midas and covering 61 square miles, the FoMV has a very limited number of WCUs to offer, but does have a significant amount of PIUs (pending issuance units – one PIU equals one tonne carbon). It is important to remember when discussing WCUs and PIUs that it takes one broadleaf (hardwood) tree 100 years to sequester just one tonne of CO2! A PIU is essentially a promise to deliver a WCU in the future, that does mean a PIU cannot be used for carbon certification purposes in the same way that a WCU can, but it is a legitimately green equivalent to a WCU and therefore can be registered and retained as proof of carbon mitigation.

Midas became the first corporate partner of FoMV in December 2020, we signed a five-year contract to buy 500 PIUs per annum and in addition agreed to fund planting of a further 500 trees per year as a sign of our ongoing environmental intentions. This combination of PIUs and tree planting will ensure that we can be customer audited at any time and regarded as a ‘Carbon Net Zero’ business with a genuinely green business ethic. It follows that not only will the #midasgreeninitiative benefit the planet, but it will also encourage new business, as currently we are one of very few truly green manufacturing businesses. Our approach may not be totally orthodox, our product carbon mitigation may not be PAS 2060 certifiable, but our company is ‘tree hugger auditable’, truly green and truly carbon net zero and in the fight against climate change it is critical to go the extra mile and do the right thing, not the easiest thing. In terms of climate change, time is running out and we must all do our best to #ActNow

Contact: Alan Rance MICME, Midas Pattern Company Ltd,