Together to Zero carbon emissions
Beirholm shares its climate smart purchasing strategy to accelerate the industry's journey to carbon neutrality
» What are the CO2e emissions of the textiles I purchase?
» What can I do to reduce those emissions?
» Where should I start? And what will it cost me?
Those are the most common questions that we get from our laundry partners and their purchasing departments.
In our industry, climate change is becoming one of the top priorities on the sustainable agenda. More and more of our laundry partners start to measure their CO2e emissions and set reduction targets. Some even take it a step further by commercialising on the opportunity to offer their customers climate neutral linen.
With textile purchasing being amongst the main contributors to a laundry’s total CO2e emissions, Beirholm has decided to share its own Climate Smart Purchasing Strategy with the entire industry – from laundry partners to competitors – much like what Tesla did back in 2014 when they released their patents to advance electric vehicle technology for the common good. We call the strategy Together to Zero. The strategy is simple. It includes 3 recommendations, which are prioritized according to their CO2e reduction potential and potential to reduce your purchasing spend. That way, the journey to carbon neutrality becomes economically interesting as well.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before jumping into our Together to Zero strategy, let us first be transparent about the rationale behind. The strategy is based on 2 key insights from our CO2-Report and lifecycle analysis, which was prepared in collaboration with Bureau Veritas.
Scope 1 and 2 emissions are all direct and indirect emissions of Beirholm (e.g. office-related emissions). Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions (e.g. textile purchase, transportation & distribution etc.). See below for more exact definitions
Insight 1: on the left-hand-side, we provide our total scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions for Beirholm’s operations. Scope 1 and scope 2 emissions relate to our own direct and indirect emissions such as heating and electricity for our office and our company car fleet. These only contribute about 1% to total emissions. In contrast, scope 3 emissions, which mainly comprises our textile purchase, contribute 99% to total emissions.
Hence, Beirholm, and companies alike, must go beyond our own company boundaries if we are to make an impact that actually matters for the climate. A one-sided focus, such as going CO2-neutral within ones own company boundary, risks making us blind to where our efforts should actually be focused; namely on collaborating with our manufacturing- and laundry partners to reduce scope 3 emissions.
Insight 2: on the right-hand-side, you will see that not all scope 3 emissions are created equal. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of emissions (67%) occur in the manufacturing process – spinning, weaving, processing, and stitching – as opposed to raw material extraction (28%) such as cotton farming. Transportation and packaging barely contribute to total emissions (5%).
Based on these 2 insights, we have formulated our Together to Zero strategy, which we are now sharing to promote Climate Smart Purchasing within our industry.
How to implement Climate Smart Purchasing the smart way
Our 3 recommendations are as follows:
Recommendation 1: Focus on manufacturers using clean energy for production
With manufacturing contributing 67% to total scope 3 emissions, this is the place where you can generate the most impact. In addition, it does not necessarily cost you extra. Why? Clean energy technology has improved immensely over the last decade. Today, clean energy can be as cost-effective as conventional, fossil fuel-based energy.
Recommendation 2: Focus on textile performance technologies which extends product longevity
The best way to reduce emissions is to prevent them from happening. To do so, consider purchasing textiles with performance technologies which extends longevity. For instance, our innovative BeirTex® quality Q784, which has been tested at a real laundry on a sheet-program, still looks brand-new after 300 wash- and ironing cycles. This is not only an environmentally friendly option but also an efficient way of reducing your overall purchasing spend.
Recommendation 3: Focus on preferred raw materials like recycled polyester and the like
With raw materials contributing about 28% to total emissions, shifting to preferred raw materials will surely reduce emissions. For instance, recycled polyester emits 36% less CO2e than virgin polyester. But be smart about which, how, and when you shift to preferred raw materials. Some raw materials are relatively expensive while others are not. Hence, if your budget is limited, our advice is to work on recommendation 1 and 2. When you are ready to implement recommendation 3, reach out to us for a consultation and impact analysis so you can make an informed decision.
Interested in recycled polyester? See how we combine recycled polyester with our BeirTex® performance technology here.
The journey ahead
We see performance and sustainability go hand in hand. After all, performance textiles - like BeirTex® - last longer and have the potential to increase output in the laundry while reducing energy consumption.
Knowing that only 1% of Beirholm’s emissions occur at our office while 99% of emissions occur in our supply chain – from raw materials to the laundry – it is clear to us, that real impact is to be achieved by forming strong partnerships between Beirholm, our laundry partners, and manufacturing partners. We basically must work like One Company.
Therefore, we have divided our Together to Zero journey into 3 steps:
1. Work closely with our partner manufacturers to implement more clean energy technology to fuel their production processes
2. Keep on innovating performance technologies, like BeirTex® that last decades
3. Work closely with our partner laundries to implement smart cost- and climate effective purchasing decisions
Through this strategy, we go beyond our own company’s operational boundary to create real impact that matters. And we welcome our partners and industry to join us on this exciting journey.