A business funded on sustainable ideals

Sustainable Innovation in Insulated Packaging for Pharma

Woolcool. Insulated Packaging. Naturally.

Woolcool® was launched in 2008 and the innovative, sustainable design has scooped an impressive haul of awards in the packaging, business and environmental arenas.

April, 2022

As a business funded on sustainable ideals, Woolcool® has tried to make the best decisions based on our impact we make on the planet, the environment and the community around us.

By harnessing the benefits of 100% pure wool to provide superior insulation for temperature-controlled packaging, we have created a viable alternative to polystyrene and other manmade materials, stopping millions of tonnes of pollutants from going into landfills.

As a certified B Corp we pledge to pursue purpose as well as profit. However we also recognise, after more than a decade of research and development into the benefits of using natural materials, that there are no short cuts to sustainability, and that staying true to ecological ideals is about more than box-ticking or branding your business with green emblems and eco slogans.

That’s why we have been working for more than a year to understand our carbon footprint, investing time and money into a detailed study of our ecological impact.

Calculating a carbon footprint is important for businesses, after the Government announced its intention to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Very basically, a carbon footprint measures the impacts of human activity on global warming – both direct and indirect – by calculating the greenhouse gas emissions released, usually stated in tonnes of ‘CO2e’, or carbon dioxide equivalent.

How? A carbon footprint is usually defined under three ‘scopes’.

Scope 1 emissions are all direct – they are emitted from the organisation’s owned or controlled sources, including things like heating, gas boilers, power generators or fleet vehicles.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organisation.

Scope 3 usually covers the largest share of the carbon footprint of most organisations, incorporating all other indirect emissions that result from activities performed by the organisation, from sources that they do not own or control. That means emissions from, for example, business travel, or goods or services purchased by the company.

We began our journey more than a year ago, partnering with Green Element, a fellow B Corp listed on the Digital Marketplace as a trusted provider of carbon calculation and benchmarking software to the public sector.

However, we wanted to go further in understanding how our use of natural materials impacts on our carbon footprint and, as a company with a long history of working with academia, we decided to team up once again with a top university to build valuable data that would benefit us and others.

The result is a partnership with Keele University, working with leading climate change expert Professor Sharon George and others, to fund proper scientific, independent research under a critical, academic eye.

What we have learned so far is that this process isn’t as easy as one figure or one measure suits all. It has become clear throughout this process is that, because we are using natural materials, we have needed to take a slightly different approach to calculating our carbon footprint, for a number of reasons.

Wool, as one of nature’s smart fibres, is recyclable, compostable, reusable and abundant. It breaks down in seawater. At the end of its life cycle, it biodegrades and returns nutrients to the soil. Unlike other materials, however, it is replenishable – wool is not a material that you have to cut down or destroy for, it has its own cycle.

The research has taken in the differences of wool farming practices across the world, as well as how we try to ensure our product can be used and reused before going back to nature.

This research is also helping us understand how this remarkable material, developed over millions of years of evolution, has a carbon cycle of its own.

Crucially, while we are excited to see and then share the initial results of all this research in the coming months, we know that this is an ongoing process and one where we can continually improve and evolve as we learn more.

Calculating a carbon footprint isn’t about earning a green badge that you can put on your business to prove your eco credentials, it’s about committing to the long-term sustainability of what you do.

It’s about continual assessment and continual improvements, and remembering no business is perfect, we can all do better.

Woolcool® is a company that has invested millions of pounds in research, working with top universities for almost two decades to improve the understanding of the value of natural materials. By working with Keele University on calculating our own carbon footprint, we’re looking froward to learning even more about the wonders of natural materials, and namely 100% sheep’s wool. We are really excited to be pioneers in this area, so keep an eye out as we share more and more of our findings.

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