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Green action not words: RedBook pays for clients’ projects to go carbon neutral

18 Feb 2022
Today, in a bold initiative, RedBook announces it will be paying for all its clients’ projects to be carbon neutral. Tom Adams, CEO, explains how this will work in practice for anyone building a new home or refurbishing an old one — and what inspired this radical green initiative.

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You are announcing a major environmental initiative. RedBook is going green. So what are you doing?

We have decided to ensure all our clients’ projects from now on are carbon neutral, and to cover the cost of this ourselves.

We can do this because RedBook has created a sophisticated tool to calculate the CO2 output of a property project. We will then pay to offset the impact of our Partners (e.g. architects & contractors) on our clients project. It is a huge commitment we are making.

Whether building a new house or a whole new town, or simply decorating and furnishing an apartment, our clients will feel confident that the impact their project is having on the environment is being offset by RedBook.

“…our clients will feel confident that the impact their project is having on the environment is being offset by RedBook.”

“…we can plug data into the calculator, giving the precise scale and specification for each project, and see how many cubic metres of gas is created in the construction of each square metre”

Why are you doing this?

We cannot rely solely on the world’s governments to address the growing threat to our planet from climate change. It is the ‘defining issue of our time’, in the words of the UN Secretary General. It is up to all of us to take responsibility and play a part.

RedBook itself can make a real difference.

This sounds like a grand ambition. But give us the detail.

First, we teamed up with One Planet, an organisation founded by the distinguished sustainability expert Pooran Desai, who chaired the UK government’s advisory committee on energy ratings.

And we commissioned Pooran and his colleagues to build what we call the ‘Carbon Calculator’, using official government recognised LETI guidelines to give us the most robust and credible figures on CO2 created by the manufacture, use and transport of materials used in building projects.

We then plug data into the calculator, giving the precise scale and specification for each project, and see how many cubic metres of gas are created in the construction of each square metre of the building.

This then enables us to offset exactly the right amount of carbon We use internationally accredited carbon-capture schemes to achieve this. And, as I say, we are paying for it. So RedBook will be responsible for planting hundreds of thousands of trees in the years to come, all absorbing CO2 as they grow, in supervised schemes around the world. We are proud to announce we have already planted over 18,000 trees on behalf of client’s projects since October last year, which is only circa four months ago.

You can see that ‘RedBook going green’ is much more than just fancy words.

How much difference can one small business make?

You are right. One business on its own can at best have a limited impact. But our business is fortunate in being at the centre of a huge ecosystem of highly influential clients and professional Partners—from architects to project managers, contractors and so on.

So we recognise the opportunity we have to be a ‘green influencer’, and we want to take our valued clients and Partners with us on this important journey.

Some clients will be happy just to create a carbon-neutral project, knowing which of the accredited schemes for carbon capture we have invested in on their behalf. Other clients will want take a more active role in delivering a sustainable project, for example by choosing greener design- and build-partners, more sustainable materials and investing in green energy sources to power their homes.

We also know that you must live by the principles you espouse. We have set up a ‘Green Council’ to review all our business activities regularly with respect to their environmental impact. This includes the simple things like monitoring the use of paper, steering clear of non-recyclable packaging and off-setting any carbon emissions generated by car- or plane-journeys.

Image: one of the carbon reduction schemes RedBook are contributing to – Peatland restoration and conservation in Indonesia 

So what next?

I can foresee already that ‘regenerative design’ is set to become an increasingly common buzz phrase. This describes design that goes beyond mere sustainability — keeping to the status quo, in other words — and extends to delivering positive environmental benefits. It is clear, too, that whole new ranges of environmentally safe building products are coming onto the market and that will become common currency in the near future, revolutionising construction.

As far as RedBook is concerned, we plan to keep you posted in the coming months as our green agenda develops.

What inspired you to do all this?

I am a 34-year old who adores nature and being among it. And I am simply looking ahead, deeply alarmed by the scientific consensus on the accelerating effects of climate change, yet equally excited by the potential of making a commitment as a business to a more sustainable future.

 

This initiative chimes with my own life experience, too. I was born in rural Somerset, schooled in the countryside, and have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Africa seeing first-hand the devastating destruction of the natural world.

I have also been inspired by working with our two recently appointed Advisory Board experts on sustainability, Pooran Desai and Sir Charles Burrell—one of the world’s leaders in rewilding.

Lastly, we know from speaking to many of our clients on this subject that they feel just as strongly as we do about taking active steps to protect the planet’s future.

Image: another example of a carbon reduction project RedBook are supporting – wind power generation in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam

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