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Small steps towards Net Zero

17th May 2022
Net Zero written in the sand on a beach

The built environment accounts for nearly 40% of the UK’s annual carbon footprint and every UK business, large or small, must do all it can to help reach the Government’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

A quick visit to the sustainability pages of the TRA’s website will remind you that working in the timber industry means you are already playing your part towards achieving this goal by manufacturing products made of wood  –  the world’s most environmentally-friendly raw material.

But there are lots of other ways in which you can make small additional changes to the way you operate to make efficiencies which will not only bring your company closer to Net Zero, but in the longer term, create cost savings.

TRA chief executive Nick Boulton, says there are resources available that will help you plan how to take the next steps in minimising your emissions:

“At our recent AGM we heard about several ways we can get to Net Zero. We were encouraged to visit the Government’s SME Climate Hub which helps small to medium size businesses calculate their emissions so they can understand the tools available to reduce them.  Members should also take a look at Construct Zero, the construction industry’s zero carbon change programme. You can find out about the priorities to focus on in transport, buildings and construction activity and sign up to become business champions.”

Small behavioural changes can make a big difference. It’s recommended that businesses identify a climate champion within their team who can keep the subject high on the agenda and ask questions about what initiatives their company could put in place to reduce emissions.

For example, what about your power consumption? Could you install solar panels on your factory roof? Creating your own renewable energy could save your business money in the long-term. Can you invest in more efficient heating systems for your offices and factory? Can you improve your building’s insulation and in turn lower your heating thermostat? Have you switched to LED light bulbs and energy efficient appliances? These are all changes that could make a big difference.

Look at your travel policy. Can you encourage your team to use greener methods of getting to work and meetings? From 2030 all new vehicles will be electric so has your company installed EV chargers and have you started making the change towards electric fleet and plant vehicles? Could you introduce a cycle to work scheme?

Charlie Law, Timber Development UK’s (TDUK) sustainability director says the timber industry as a whole is working hard to identify opportunities for decarbonisation.

“As an industry we all need to adopt circular economy principles to ensure we reduce material and energy waste in our processes, which in turn will reduce our embodied and operational carbon footprint. The industry Net Zero carbon plan we are currently working on will help to identify these reduction opportunities. Once all reduction options have been exhausted, we can then consider carbon removal offsetting though approved schemes such as the Forest Canopy Foundation”.

As part of the work TDUK is doing on the industry Net-Zero Roadmap, they are working with an organisation called Energise, who will shortly be requesting emissions data from TRA members. More on this soon…

In the meantime, Charlie recommends visiting the following websites to help your journey towards Net Zero:

Net Zero and Sustainability Consultancy | Energise

Ambitious corporate climate action – Science Based Targets

Greenhouse Gas Protocol

INVESTMENTS CARBON – Forest Canopy Foundation

We’d love to hear what members are doing to reduce their carbon emissions so please give us your tips and we’ll share them in future newsletters and on social media. Send them to

…And don’t forget that you can find the Wood for Good lifecycle assessment of trussed rafters here.


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