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Our target to be carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030

Written by Jack Rayner

8 Jun 2023

5 min read

We have already cut our natural gas emissions by 84.4% and electricity emissions by 40.8% since 2018, but that’s just the start. We’re aiming to be carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030. This exceeds the UN target of 2050.

How can this be achieved? By being as environmentally friendly as possible and looking at ways we can support the environment around us.

For everyday people, this could be walking more and driving less, recycling more and insulating your home, to using less heating. For businesses, this could be using energy-efficient lighting at premises, walking to work, and reducing waste/recycling more.

Our progress: the action taken so far

The Society has already made great progress towards hitting our target of becoming carbon neutral in our own operations, reducing our carbon footprint over the years. This includes already receiving recognition for environmental safeguarding. In February 2019 we were awarded a Suffolk Carbon Charter Silver Award in recognition of the efforts we have made in recent years at our head office, and we have maintained it since.

So, what exactly is it we’ve done so far to get our emissions down? Here’s a breakdown of just some of the things, and you can find the full details on our environment webpage.

  • Our Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on our head office roof generated 28,920kWh of electricity in 2022, which avoided emissions of 7.56 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • We installed low energy LED lighting within Freehold House. We’ve also added the same lighting across several branches.
  • Window film implemented at our head office to reduce heat loss/gain and increase the efficiency of air con units.
  • Installed two electric vehicle charging points that feed directly from our solar panels.
  • Replaced one of our company vehicles with an electric car for use of Society staff.

Our progress: the numbers so far

A breakdown of our 2022 carbon footprint compared to 2018 is available below.

  • 84.4% Reduction in natural gas emissions
  • 40.8% Reduction in electricity emissions
  • 3.9% Increase in waste emissions*
  • 20.5% Overall reduction in net emissions

Future plans to help Save Suffolk

We’ve made great strides so far, but we have many more plans on the horizon to reach our goal. One of our newest projects, Saving Suffolk, introduced our partnership with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, working hand in hand to help provide safe homes for nature. As part of our Saving Suffolk campaign, we’re helping Suffolk Wildlife Trust from now until 2025 to create Martlesham Wilds – a new 289-acre nature reserve.

We also recently carried out a staff beach clean at Thorpeness, approved by the Marine Conservation Society. You can read all about the day on our blog.

Here are just a few other steps we will be taking across the business:

  • Get an electric van to sit alongside our electric pool car.
  • Remove gas as an energy source from our Hadleigh and Sudbury branches.
  • Implement low energy lighting across all branches that don’t yet have it.
  • Review and plan changes to waste, recycling and paper use.

*A small increase in reported waste since 2018, from 11.1 tonnes in 2018 to 11.6 tonnes in 2022, thus raising the carbon footprint slightly.

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