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Where possible, lessons learned from carbon consultancy projects will be shared here.

By Lucy Harbor, Sep 10 2015 01:43PM

The Great Ormond St. Hospital (GOSH) Sustainability Team and arts programme "GoCreate!" have worked with Cool World Consulting (CWC) to launch a project that promotes cleaner air around the hospital to make it a better and safer environment for patients.

The project tackles two issues. Firstly, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has a significant patient travel footprint; it receives around 240,000 patient visits per year. Most patients travel from outside London and are accompanied by several family members. Secondly, many drivers waiting to pick up and drop off patients idle their engines unnecessarily outside the hospital.

Cool World Consulting conducted rigorous background research to find out which measures would be most likely to lead to improvements in air quality. Most respondents who were idling their vehicle engines said that they would be most likely to change their behaviour if asked to by the patients themselves, rather than the hospital staff.

Patients and siblings on our respiratory wards were asked to explain how dirty air affects their condition and give suggestions on how they felt we could improve air quality around the hospital. The team asked children to portray their thoughts in a creative way by drawing pictures and we created this animation.

Their images have been put together to create fun walking maps from all the major stations in the area to GOSH, including places of interest, playgrounds, museums, and child-friendly cafés to enjoy on the way. The hope is that the maps will encourage people, where possible, to use public transport and finish their journeys to the hospital by walking rather than taking a taxi.

To reduce the incidence of vehicle idling, GOSH has worked with CWC and Camden Council to turn the street into a ‘No Idling Zone’, using street signs which have been designed with the help of some of our respiratory patients. Medical Services ambulance drivers attended a workshop on air pollution and health with CWC, and the drivers have all now pledged to switch off their engines while waiting outside of the hospital. We have additionally changed our taxi providers to Thriev and Yellow Cars so that we are served by companies with electric and hybrid fleets. Over 90% of the taxis ordered through GOSH will now be hybrid or electric.

Brendan Rouse, Energy & Sustainability Manager at GOSH, says: “Reducing air pollution decreases the negative health impacts on everyone, but it’s even more important at GOSH where we see hundreds of patients with cardio-respiratory conditions at the largest paediatric cardio-respiratory unit in the country.”

“We hope the project will improve the air quality on Great Ormond Street and encourage more visitors to use low or zero-emission forms of transport, improving the environment for our staff and everyone who lives and works nearby. It also has the benefit of creating a more serene and pleasant welcome to the hospital.”

Susie Hall, Head of Go Create! says: “I am always amazed how articulate and passionate our patients are on issues that are important to them – if you listen to the animation voice-over you can hear how strongly they feel and they are able to make the case for improving air quality so much better than we could!”

By Lucy Harbor, Nov 6 2014 01:46PM

Cool World Consulting has developed the world’s first carbon calculator for beer and breweries. This calculator offers breweries a quick and affordable way to measure the impact of their organisation and products.

This calculator is based on the learning from an in-depth research project with The Kernel Brewery, which assessed and compared the whole life footprint of its Pale Ale in different packaging types, and looked in particular at the brewery’s emissions and how they compare with industry averages.

Evin O'Riordain, the owner of The Kernel Brewery, said: "Assessing the carbon footprint of our beers was important for us. It allowed us to see which elements of the life of our beers have the biggest impact on climate change. Lucy tested the impact of different variables - such as recycled content and glass colour of the bottles, reusable vs. one-way kegs, and distribution methods and distances - so we could clearly see which potential changes to our processes would significantly reduce our impact, and which would have little impact. "

Why is this carbon calculator needed?

The climate change impact of the production and consumption of alcohol (the majority of which is beer) is significant – it is responsible for an estimated 1.5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions .

Some legislation exists which requires large companies to report their carbon emissions. However, as Tara Garnett of the Climate Food Network points out,: “there is a mismatch between government policies - mainly the Climate Change Agreements which seek to address brewing and malting emissions - and the most problematic areas of concern, these being transport and the hospitality sector.” By assessing the whole life footprint of products, this problem can be overcome.

Most big breweries have established sustainability strategies and commitments to reduce emissions over the coming years. However in the UK the number of breweries is currently at a 70-year high, and most of the recently-established breweries are classified as ‘small breweries’ . While environmental sustainability could be said to be one of the central ethics of a small, independent brewery – creating local jobs and helping to boost the local economy – many small breweries do not have the resources to trawl through international standards for carbon footprinting and take on the challenge of finding appropriate Government greenhouse gas conversion factors and carbon reporting guidance.

With Cool World Consulting’s carbon footprint calculator, most of the hard work has already been done.

So why is a carbon footprint useful?

A carbon footprint is good for businesses as well as for the environment. It can help organisations to:

• Identify cost saving and efficiency opportunities;

• Make more sustainable decisions by testing how different variables (e.g. packaging types, distribution method or distance) impact on the overall footprint;

• Compare their performance to industry averages;

• Align their commercial and environmental goals; and

• Enhance their brand by demonstrating environmental and corporate social responsibility.

By guest, Oct 23 2014 01:42PM

The first published carbon footprint assessment of a beer by a small craft brewery – a Pale Ale produced by The Kernel brewery – has shown there are many carbon-saving benefits of drinking a local beer, such as the Kernel Pale Ale, as opposed to a big-brand lager.

This news is unlikely to sway the average lager-drinker to preferring craft beer. However, craft beer environmentalists can be assured that the climate change impact of a bottle of The Kernel’s Pale Ale can be around 27% lower than the average European bottled beer . Better still, choosing to drink a pint of draught Kernel beer rather than a bottle reduces emissions by 48% over the life of the beer.

Unsurprisingly, with The Kernel Brewery’s focus on local distribution and selling direct to the customer where possible, emissions from distribution are low compared to the European average (BIER 2012) and other well-established breweries . Only 20% of The Kernel bottle sales are outside of London and 26% of sales are direct to the customer, which have zero emissions for the brewery.

However some other findings of the report may be more surprising. For example:

More than half the emissions of the Kernel’s bottled Pale Ale come from the production of the packaging, despite packaging only being one of the eight life cycle stages of the beer.

The footprint of The Kernel Pale Ale could be reduced by around 13% if the bottle was made of green glass instead of amber.

Brewery emissions at The Kernel are lower than industry averages – in fact they are in the top 10% for brewery energy efficiency – going against the general trend for smaller breweries to be less efficient .

Cool World Consulting's report on The Kernel’s kegged Pale Ale also found that switching from disposable ‘one way’ kegs (which are currently used) to stainless steel kegs for all distribution apart from export would reduce whole life emissions by around 5% .

So why is a carbon footprint useful?

Many companies do it voluntarily to gain the knowledge to develop more sustainable products that can stand out from their competitors or to enhance their brand. Some do it to measure their company energy use and work out where savings (in cost and energy) could be made. Larger companies have to audit their energy to comply with legislation.

But some companies like The Kernel brewery are just genuinely interested in the impact that their product has environmentally, as well as commercially. Commercial success is not the be-all and end-all for every company. Once you have a clear idea of the climate change impact of your business or product, you can try and align your commercial and environmental strategies.

The owner of the Kernel Brewery, Evin O'Riordain, said: "Assessing the carbon footprint of our beers was important for us. It allowed us to see which elements of the life of our beers have the biggest impact on climate change. Lucy tested the impact of different variables - such as recycled content and glass colour of the bottles, reusable vs. one-way kegs, and distribution methods and distances - so we could clearly see which potential changes to our processes would significantly reduce our impact, and which would have little impact. "

Whatever your reasons for doing it, understanding the climate change impact of your carbon footprint can be enlightening – and comparisons with industry averages and other carbon footprints can show you where and how changes could be made to improve your company’s or product’s footprint.

Carbon footprint of The Kernel beer, compared to a random selection of other things*

25g = ironing one shirt

145g = disposable nappy

203g = a pint of draught Kernel Pale Ale

340g = a large latte (coffee)

368g = Kernel 500ml bottle Pale Ale

500g = big dairy ice cream from a van

710g = an average car driving one mile

1.04kg = bottle of wine

12kg = 1kg cheese

38kg = leg of lamb

13.5 tonnes = flying first class London to Hong Kong return

* Footprints of other things taken from How Bad are Bananas? The carbon Footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee

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