The main product of global company Interbuild has by third party auditor South Pole been declared to be Climate and Carbon Neutral. This means that the greenhouse gas emissions caused during the life time of the product, from sourcing its components to disposing of the product until disposal after end of use, balance to a net zero impact on global warming and climate change.
Interbuild is a globally leading supplier of kitchen worktops (countertops, panels) in solid acacia wood. The type of acacia wood chosen contains a range of resins and oil, giving it similar characteristics to those of teak wood (except for price).
THE AUDIT; LCA, REDUCTION PLAN AND COMPENSATION
Third party auditing company South Pole was engaged to perform an LCA, Life Cycle Analysis, of Interbuild’s acacia worktops. The audit meant analyzing GHG (GreenHouse Gas) emissions caused at all phases and activities relating to the solid wood worktops, from harvesting of the acacia trees, through production, all transports and warehousing up to the disposal of the product after final use. The LCA is also called Cradle-to-Grave-Analysis.
In the LCA it was concluded that the component being the most important contributor to GHG emissions caused was the energy required in the production phase. The plan set for efforts to reduce emissions caused therefore focused on the conversion from using fossil fuels in production to using sustainable energy sources such as solar and/or wind-power.
Following the performing of the LCA and setting the plan to reduce GHG emissions caused, Interbuild was to select in which project to invest (to buy Carbon Emission Reduction Credits from) in order to compensate for remaining GHG emissions caused.
The plan set to reduce emissions caused will in time reduce the corresponding need to pay for compensation. This is an important part of being declared as Climate and Carbon Neutral, to besides compensating for remaining emissions also actively reduce emissions caused. This procedure leads to less overall emissions – decreasing from year to year.
COMPENSATION PROJECT IN METHANE EMISSION REDUCTIONS
The project chosen by Interbuild for compensating emissions caused is to reduce methane emissions from a wastewater plant In Thailand and generating sustainable electricity from the energy released when oxidizing the methane emissions. The project is specified as being a ”Gold Standard Project”. This means that it includes bringing social benefits to local villages in need of development support.
The choice of supporting a project reducing emissions of methane is of special interest since methane per ton of gas emitted is significantly more powerful as GHG than CO2. While in atmosphere, methane retains much more of the warming energy of the sun, after being reflected from Earth. Compared on a 20 year basis, a ton of methane has 86 times higher (than CO2) effect on Global Warming, according to latest assessment (se AR5, Assessment Report #5, published in 2014) by the IPCC. An updated assessment is scheduled for October 2021.
Whereas the formal conversion factor applied is considerably lower (based on comparison to CO2 over 100 years and on an older and more careful assessment), methane in the shorter perspective gives a substantially higher impact on reducing effects on Global Warming.
The surface treatment and pigmenting of the worktops is done by using Interbuild’s own hardwax oil, which contains no solvents (thereby no headache for the user and no emission of VOC’s – Volatile Organic Compounds). This oil, which is separately offered to market by Interbuild, was earlier in 2021 audited by South Pole and declared to be Climate and Carbon Neutral. Also for the oil, Interbuild has chosen a Gold Standard Project reducing methane emissions.
STEPWIZE BECOMING CLIMATE AND CARBON NEUTRAL
Different global regions apply different terminology. The most widely used term in North America is Carbon Neutral, while in Europe the term most widely used is Climate Neutral.
”By choosing to stepwise audit main products to see the market reaction is an excellent way to evaluate the maturity of the market to take real climate action”, says Richard Mattus, Global Sales Director at Interbuild.
He continues:”The customer should be able to not just compare quality and price for a product. He/she should also be able to choose products with comparatively little or no climate impact – and that at no or only marginal effect on price. This practice should spread globally to all products in all fields of business. We find that these climate friendly actions are today totally in line with the policies and ambitions of our major retail and eCommerce customers”.
Richard finishes by concluding that: ”There is a jungle of different definitions and climate labeling out there, confusing the market and the end customer. Some vendors do not even involve an accredited third party auditor. Interbuild has chosen to have the audit done in accordance with the global standard PAS 2060, published in 2014 by British Standards Institution. By this standard, LCA (covering the full cycle cradle-to-grave) can be performed for single products or projects, and of parts of businesses/activities. This is a well defined standard that, when widely applied, would provide the customer with the clarity and comfort of a climate wise good choice of product.”