Bangor University partners with major lumber company on carbon calculator

One of the UK’s largest timber suppliers has partnered with Bangor University to identify the total environmental impact of its products and help put sustainability at the forefront of its retail business.

Wood and materials supplier James Latham has partnered with the university’s Biocomposites Center to create a carbon calculator to provide customers with transparency, knowledge and awareness of the carbon impact of its products.

The calculator details the footprint of the entire process, from the carbon contained in the structure of the wood to the manufacturing process, delivery and storage in warehouses, with data provided for over 70% of Latham’s goods.

The Biocomposites Center at Bangor University is behind the development of the dataset used to calculate the actual carbon score, as well as providing certification as to the accuracy of the data used to provide the figure.

For example, independent, peer-reviewed data from a manufacturer, such as an environmental performance statement, will score the highest in the system for accuracy, while publicly released but unverified figures will score lower.

James Latham’s Head of Environment and Compliance, Ewa Bazydlo, said: “With major industries like construction placing increasing emphasis on efficiency and carbon footprint, as distributor, we must be able to communicate directly and simply to all our stakeholders about the products we sell.

“Working with Bangor University on this carbon calculator was extremely rewarding as they immediately understood not only the business objectives of the project, but also how best to gather and present the information in an easily accessible way.

“Providing a clear message about the level of confidence in the data will also help us achieve our two key objectives; encourage those involved in the design process to use the most efficient products available, but also push the industry towards a higher standard of carbon measurement.

Campbell Skinner, Senior Life Cycle Assessment Analyst at Bangor University’s Center for Biocomposites, said: “Working alongside industry is crucial to help identify areas where additional sustainability practices such as carbon monitoring or increasing energy efficiency in the production process can be implemented to further support the global transition to a net zero economy.

“Latham’s calculator is a big step forward because it allows customers to have full transparency when it comes to the carbon impact and scientific accuracy of what they buy.

“By including certification as to the accuracy and acceptance status of the data by peers, the calculator will also ensure that impact is identified to a much more precise extent than using rough estimates, allowing for better image of the difference that more sustainable products make on projects.

“This will not only benefit end users who will be able to research and select the most sustainable products, but will also encourage suppliers to take greater steps to ensure that resources and their carbon footprint are measured and peer reviewed.

“It has been excellent to work alongside Latham to produce this essential tool that will help inform customers from invoicing to delivery, and we look forward to working with them to continue to expand the goods covered over time.

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