In 2019, the UK became the first country to declare a climate emergency, and in the following year, the Government set targets to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Companies across the country in all industries have been examining their own environmental impact, and LEAP is no exception. We have been implementing changes to ‘green’ our business, and we are proud to say LEAP is now operating in a way to exceed the UK’s long-term Net Zero aspirations.
Our goal is to achieve net zero by 2025.
In particular, as the owner of a printworks and manager of print services across our client-based studios, it was crucial to find ways to mitigate the environmental impact of print production.
As Printweek acknowledged:
Print, by virtue of being a manufacturing process, is a consumptive industry. Whether it’s raw materials in the form of paper and ink, utilities such as power and water, or fuel used to transport goods, print needs to consider its position and take a stand.
For many years, ethical print providers like LEAP have been moving in environmentally friendlier directions by increasing the use of recycled paper products and incorporating recycling into the production process. Our own HP Indigo digital printing press is waterless and uses a closed-loop system which ensures the absolute minimum of ink wastage. Any waste is then collected by a specialist firm which recycles it for the printing industry.
Always on the lookout for ways to improve the environmental impact of our operations, LEAP decided to take bolder climate action.
Switch to Renewable Energy
One of the major transformations we have undertaken in our net zero ambitions was changing to 100% renewable energy suppliers across all our sites – our production base in Clerkenwell, our Woolwich Printworks and our Creative and Digital studio in Chichester. LEAP’s electricity is entirely powered by solar, wind and hydro energy (we don’t use any gas).
Shrinking Transportation Carbon Footprints
In addition to addressing the issue of energy consumption, LEAP have built a worldwide network of managed print partnerships to shrink the carbon footprint of ‘delivery miles’. For more than 25 years, our Client Service Managers have worked alongside our international clients to build a network of trusted print partners to deliver locally to their worldwide offices and media owners, all controlled from our central London hub. Not only does this satisfy the need for speed and value, but it also leaves a far smaller carbon footprint than conventional print and distribution methods.
For local deliveries, we use couriers that utilise pedal power or electric powered vehicles. Furthermore, for those who commute, we encourage staff to use clean or public transport, walk or cycle to work by our inclusion in the government’s cycle-to-work scheme.
Paper Consumption and Carbon Offsetting Partnerships
Trees play a key part in our environmental management commitments. As a company, we are FSC accredited and all our paper comes from FSC or PEFC approved suppliers. Furthermore, we purchase carbon credits against our paper product usage with Antalis, our major paper provider. Looking beyond raw material usage and examining all areas of our business, we partnered with Forest Carbon to set up and maintain a system for calculating and purchasing carbon credits. Forest Carbon is one of the UK’s leading organisations for developing woodland creation and peatland restoration projects that provide carbon capture and ecosystem services.
To begin the carbon offsetting process, we made a thorough analysis of the business activities and used a carbon footprint calculator to come up with best estimates of our usage across the group. The calculations use the UK government Greenhouse Gas conversion tables, which tell you the footprint for pretty much anything a business might do. From this information, and the ongoing gathering of data, we aim to establish our base year for carbon footprint calculation as 2021.
For LEAP, carbon usage includes things such as business miles and data management and other day-to-day office-based activities. Fixed costs are reviewed annually; other costs evaluated every three months. Our paper products are covered separately, as this is a variable part of the business, so we calculate carbon usage monthly, or for very large projects, on a project-by-project basis.
With the calculations tabulated, we purchase carbon credits through payments for the corresponding level of Forest Carbon’s Carbon Club Membership. The ‘credits’ are not traded further; their purpose is to recognise the anticipated carbon sequestration within Woodland Carbon Code certified UK woodlands. As the trees grow over the coming decades, these woodlands will capture CO2 and contribute to biodiversity, flood amelioration, water quality improvement as well as providing local employment.
Although this carbon capture is not immediate, investing in woodland creation is vital for the UK to adapt to the effects of climate change as well as help to meet the country’s long-term net zero aspirations.
Some of our clients choose to obtain their own certification for carbon offsetting, particularly for large-scale print projects. We have been providing carbon cost estimates to facilitate carbon credit purchase and offsetting through Forest Carbon or other organisations including the World Land Trust.
By working with The Office of National Statistics and their agency to use carbon balanced paper for The National Census 2021, we helped to balance the equivalent of 10,000 kgs of carbon. This also enabled the World Land Trust to protect nearly 7,000 square metres of critically threatened tropical forest.
Corporate Social Responsibility and our Supply Chain
LEAP takes corporate social responsibilities seriously. We are committed to a programme of best practice in environmental sustainability and management, and the influence we have in our supply chain is no exception to this. We use this to promote the adoption of modern and cleaner technologies by actively assisting our suppliers in minimising the environmental impacts of their operations. Additionally, we encourage our clients to adhere to the same principles and values that we adopt ourselves.