What's going on Our blog GUEST BLOG: Our journey to a carbon net zero business We all know life can change in a moment, usually when we say that its because something bad has happened, but in my case something incredible happened - I decided to change everything and make my world as ‘green’ as it could possibly be… By Alan Rance ǀ Managing Director, Midas Pattern Company Ltd At 8pm on the 18th April 2019 I watched a BBC1 programme called ‘Climate Change – The Facts’, presented by Sir David Attenborough and featuring Greta Thunberg, in the space of an hour my entire world changed forever: it was an epiphany, truly it was monumental for me. I realised that even though I’d always considered myself to be an animal lover who was interested in nature, flora and fauna, I was just as responsible for Climate Change as anyone! I ate meat, fish and dairy; I drove a petrol car; I drove a diesel car; I took flights; I bought cheap energy; I was materialistic - I didn’t think about climate change and I ran a successful business that made products from oil! It sounds ridiculous now, but in those 60 short minutes I realised that I was part of the reason this wonderful planet we all depend on was dying. I was one of the people killing it with my CO2 emissions - CO2 emissions that were substantial - and I hadn’t even thought about it. I was ashamed of my total lack of awareness! As the credits rolled and I was wracked with emotion it dawned on me: I had to act. I had to try and do things differently. I had not only to live a better life going forwards, but I had to try and make amends for my carbon intensive past... But how to do that? I’m an engineer; a businessman; some would say an entrepreneur. In those moments after the programme ended I realised I could use my skills, my focus, my energy to put this right. I was completely motivated to step aside from the mainstream and prove to myself, my loved ones and anyone else that would listen that we don’t have to go forward in the same way as we’ve lived our past. With global warming we do not have the luxury of time - it is essential we all act now. I sat and thought about what needed to be done, then I acted: Within one day I became vegetarian and within a month 95% vegan. Within a week my electricity supply had changed to a 100% green provider and my gas was 10%BioGas / 90% carbon offset (I now buy 100% biogas). Within 3 months my petrol/diesel cars were sold, and I was driving an electric car (EV). I began installing secondary double glazing and upgraded my heating system. I replaced all my lighting with LED’s and I’m proud to say I haven’t flown since... I think my personal household carbon footprint went from around 15 tons per year to under 2 tons in the space of 3 months. In parallel with these personal changes, I was thinking about my professional world. I knew the biggest difference I could make was not only to "green" my business, but to use my platform to encourage others to do all they could as well. I decided to start the #midasgreeninitiative – not only would we document our journey towards carbon neutrality, but we would share all of the data and contacts we made. In addition, as a local businessman and Liveryman I would use my personal platform to encourage as many people and businesses to do as much as they possibly could and as quickly as they possibly could. Once again we changed the source of our electricity and gas to 100% green power and 100% biogas. We eradicated single use plastics, and began making all our packaging from recycled paper and cardboard. We replaced inefficient compressed air systems, ‘greened’ our working practices, stopped using our diesel van and installed EV charging points. We installed LED lighting throughout the business and sensor switches in communal areas, then in June 2020 we installed 650 solar panels on our roofs. Alongside all of this CO2 reduction and environmental improvements, we put together a ‘green team’ of motivated ‘green’ employees and we built a webpage to showcase our journey and achievements. In the 14 or so months between April 2019 and June 2020 - in spite of a global pandemic and an economic recession - we took our world leading polyurethane moulding business to carbon neutrality, and proved that with effort, dedication and an honest belief in ‘doing the right thing’ we could become carbon neutral. If a plastic moulding company could do that why couldn’t anyone? Our efforts were recognised late in 2020 when we won environmental awards from MakeUK & The Energy Institute, our #midasgreeninitiative overcoming global competition and even beating an oil company en route! Winning awards is nice but it’s the platform for PR that really matters: real kudos for our efforts that we hope inspires others to do more to negate and eradicate their carbon footprint. Where are we now? Well in classic Midas style we are never satisfied, even though we achieved carbon neutrality mid 2020 and we are now certified as ‘Carbon Neutral’ by The Carbon Trust, we wanted to do more! The way the carbon calculation rules work means that Midas is responsible for all the carbon used or generated in our process BUT all the carbon in the products we sell (plastic enclosures for medical devices) is the responsibility of the customer. Even though we had developed tools to calculate the carbon content of our sold products so our customers could offset that carbon, we knew most wouldn’t - after all most companies will put profit before planet - so we took the huge decision to take responsibility for that carbon as well as our own. Through the autumn of 2020 we identified the Forest of Marston Vale as a potential carbon partner. Midas’ premises and the southern edge of the Forest are just 3 miles apart: it was a perfect match. We negotiated a working relationship that recognised the potential of a genuine partnership between manufacturing business and the Forest. With effect from the 1st January 2021 Midas and the Forest of Marston Vale signed a 5 year agreement that would not only mitigate ALL of the carbon in the products we sell but would also see in excess of 2500 additional trees being planted. Starting 2021 as a truly ‘Carbon Net Zero’ manufacturing business, its only been 20 months since we began the #midasgreeninitiative. Surely that’s proof enough that manufacturing doesn’t have to cost the earth, and that rapid positive change is possible when planet is put before profit and we all #ActNow! Talking the talk AND walking the walk - Alan's also been getting stuck in... On Thursday 25th February 2021 Alan joined our Forest Director James and Mayor Dave Hodgson to plant 10 trees at our Shocott Spring site to commemorate the start of the 5 year agreement between Midas Pattern Company Ltd and the Forest of Marston Vale, and celebrate their Corporate Friends support. If you're a local business and are interested in supporting the work that we do please get in touch - email our Fundraising Officer Robina for more information.