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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Garstang firm is making it easy for businesses to hit the road to Net Zero while saving money too

With world leaders and their negotiating teams having now thrashed-out a deal at the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt, business leaders in the UK might be left wondering what it all truly means and how becoming more environmentally sustainable fits into their plans. A Garstang business has the answer.

How much businesses are even thinking about Cop27 when deciding their strategies is up for debate. A recent survey of more than 2,000 executives at over 660 firms in 12 countries, carried out by the Capgemini Research Institute, found that almost half (45%) of respondents believe there is no clear business case for improving environmental sustainability.

53% said that the costs of sustainability initiatives always outweigh the benefits, with the same portion agreeing that sustainability initiatives are “a financial burden” and that they approach them as a tick-box exercise in order to maintain a social license to operate.

A separate survey by the British Business Bank found that the biggest barriers to action on Net Zero among smaller UK businesses centre on concerns about costs (35% of respondents) and feasibility (32%).

Sam Coggin, director at Coggin Sustainable Office Solutions based near Garstang, Lancashire, has found a way to address these barriers and make the pursuit of sustainability both easily accessible and financially beneficial.

His family business helps divert redundant office furniture away from landfill either by repairing and repurposing desks and chairs to resell as better than new, or by breaking down furniture that is unfit for reuse into material form such as metal, plastic, wood and foam to be recycled. After a recent investment, it can now granulate the plastic it separates from redundant office chairs in-house and sell this back into the polymer industry to displace virgin plastics.

He said: “It’s obvious from the conversations we have with businesses that while they often want to go green, they can feel a bit overwhelmed by all the talk of sustainability and Net Zero, with many just baffled by what it means to them and how they can incorporate it into their business models while worrying about the potential cost implications.

“The thing is it doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Just by recycling unwanted office furniture instead of disposing of it, they can cut down on the environmental impacts they’re responsible for. Over the years, we’ve helped businesses divert more than 150,000 items of redundant office furniture from landfill, recovering components for direct reuse or recycling them. It helps avoid the emissions associated with manufacturing brand new components, many of which are made from plastics using fossil fuels, and the recyclate does the same downstream.

“We also work with businesses to avoid waste in the first place, reupholstering existing chairs so they can continue being used, or resizing and re-edging desks.”

The firm’s activities save money for businesses too, as Sam explained: “A business that sends unwanted office furniture direct to landfill will pay Landfill Tax of £98.60 per tonne on top of the ‘gate fee’ for disposal of around £30 per tonne, but it can avoid this tax by sending furniture to be repurposed or recycled instead.

“Our restored and repurposed office furniture is also significantly less expensive than the retail cost of buying brand new. For instance, we sell refurbished, high-quality ergonomic office chairs from £100 to £600 and desks from £80 to £150 that would typically retail at around four times as much when bought brand new. Our clients have collectively saved more than £13 million with us this way.

“It’s an easy win for any business that wants to become more sustainable or start the journey to Net Zero but doesn’t know where to begin, and one that makes good financial sense too,” said Sam.

Robert Kendall, project manager at energy giant E.On who engaged Coggin’s for an office clearance in Bolton, Greater Manchester, agrees. He said: “It’s great to know 1,909 items of redundant office furniture have been recycled and diverted from landfill. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve to match our ESG (environmental, social and governance) and sustainability goals.”

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