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Bangor University partners with major timber firm on carbon calculator

The Biocomposities Centre Life Cycle Assessment team, Campbell Skinner (left) and George Roberts (right), both worked on the project.

One of the UK’s largest timber suppliers has teamed up with Bangor University to pinpoint the full environmental impact of its products and help place sustainability at the forefront of its distribution activities.

Timber and materials supplier James Latham has partnered with the university’s Biocomposites Centre to create a carbon calculator to provide customers with transparency, knowledge, and awareness of the carbon impact of its products.

The calculator details the footprint of the entire process, from the carbon contained within the wood’s structure to the manufacturing procedure, delivery, and storage in warehouses, with data provided for more than 70 per cent of Latham’s goods.

Bangor University’s Biocomposites Centre is behind the development of the dataset used to calculate the actual carbon score, as well as supplying a certification as to the accuracy of the data used to provide the figure.

For example, peer-reviewed independent data from a manufacturer such as an environmental performance declaration will hold the highest accuracy scoring in the system, while publicly published yet unverified figures will hold a lower score.

Environmental and compliance manager from James Latham Ewa Bazydlo said: “With major industries like construction placing an increasing focus on carbon efficiency and footprints, as a distributor we need to be able to communicate directly and simply to all our stakeholders on the products we sell.

“Working with Bangor University on this carbon calculator has been immensely rewarding as they immediately understood not only the business aims of the project, but how to best gather and present the information in a manner which would be easily accessible.

“Providing a clear message as to the level of confidence within the data will also help achieve two key aims of ours; encouraging those involved in the design process to use the most efficient products available, but also pushing the sector towards a higher standard of carbon measurement.”

Senior life cycle assessment analyst at Bangor University’s Biocomposites centre Campbell Skinner said: “Working alongside industry is crucial to help identify areas where additional sustainability practices such as carbon monitoring or increasing energy efficiency in the production process can be implemented to further support the global shift to a net zero economy.

“Latham’s calculator represents a great step forward as it allows customers to enjoy total transparency with regard to the carbon impact and scientific accuracy of what they are purchasing.

“By including a certification as to the accuracy and peer-acceptance status of the data, the calculator will also ensure that the impact is pinpointed to a much finer extent than using rough estimations, allowing for a better picture of the difference more sustainable products make on projects.

“This will benefit not only end users who will be able to research and select the most sustainable products, but it will also encourage suppliers to take greater steps to ensure resources and their carbon footprints are measured and peer-reviewed.

“It has been excellent to work alongside Latham’s to produce this vital tool which will help inform customers from invoicing to delivery, and we look forward to working with them to continue to expand the goods covered over time.”