Crystal Doors: Closing the Door on Carbon 2020

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CLOSING THE DOOR ON CARBON EMISSIONS Our journey to sustainable manufacturing // 2020

Published December 2020

Contents Foreword


The Race to Net Zero


The Plan


Sustainable Development


Progress So Far


Influencing Change


Looking Forward


“Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Interpretation of Mahatma Gandhi


In 2015, Crystal Doors was in trouble. A crucial planning application for a biomass burner, which would use our wood waste to heat the factory, was refused. The impact on the Rochdale Canal just outside our front door was deemed too high. I immediately got in touch with advisors at Greater Manchester’s Business Growth Hub to see what I could do to reduce our environmental impact. I received a 26-point plan of action to transform my business, and that’s when our journey to becoming one of the greenest manufacturers in the UK began.


Pressure from policy makers, activists, customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, investors, and the changing climate itself, mean business as usual is no longer an option. Building back from Covid-19 has to take us somewhere new. A world where people and planet no longer play second fiddle to profit, and where it doesn’t take the words of a Swedish teenager to make us act like adults.

What I hope to show over the following pages is that businesses can turn things around rapidly, and it doesn’t require endless resources or an enormous budget. Crystal Doors is a small manufacturer of vinyl-wrapped doors in Over the last five years I have learned a huge Rochdale, employing just over 30 people. But in amount about our impact on the planet, not just less than two years’ time we’ll be fully carbon as a business but as an industry and as a neutral and a UK leader in climate action. society. Our current economic model is not If I can do it, anyone can! sustainable. The amount of resources we consume globally has quadrupled in the last 50 years, yet less than 9% is reused. The climate emergency and other environmental crises threaten our very existence.

Richard Hagan Managing Director Crystal Doors

The Race to Net Zero


We believe those with the ability to lead the way have a responsibility to do so. THE BEGINNING


Failing to gain planning permission for

Inspired by the global climate emergency movement, we declared our

our 980kW biomass burner was the

own climate emergency and brought forward our carbon neutral target

catalyst that kick-started our journey to

from 2030 to 2022, making us one of the most ambitious

net zero. We conducted a systematic

manufacturers in the UK.

environmental review of the whole business and got to work on a 26-point plan to turn things around.


2020 2022






We have spent the last five years radically transforming our operations, investing ÂŁ1.5 million in self-supplied biomass heating, LED lighting, rooftop solar PV, electric vehicles and cutting-edge smart machinery.

Over the next two years we will take action beyond our own operations. We are engaging with partners, suppliers and customers, and pledge to no longer do business with companies who cannot demonstrate progress on sustainability by the end of 2022.







Putting off the target date for net zero doesn’t increase the amount of carbon that we can emit. Climate science shows we have a finite ‘carbon budget’ to spend; every year of inaction means more of that budget disappears. That’s why we’re acting now.

The Plan


We have taken a unique and radical approach to sustainability. By 2022 we’ll be carbon neutral, and we want to bring everyone with us on that journey. WHAT MAKES OUR PLAN UNIQUE 1. Despite our modest size, we are not aware of anyone else in our industry that is taking action at the speed and urgency we are.

2.We do not believe in purchasing carbon

WHAT WE MEAN BY ‘CARBON NEUTRAL’ By 2022 we will have a net zero impact on the climate through our own operations and our wider value chain. This means all three ‘scopes’ of greenhouse gas emissions: Scope 1 The direct emissions from sources we control, including our factory and fleet. Scope 2 The indirect emissions from the electricity we consume. Scope 3 The wider emissions we’re responsible for through our upstream and downstream supply chain and the commuting of employees.

credits to cover up a failure to take action ourselves. We will only use carbon offsets as a last resort, once all other avenues are exhausted. Any offsetting we require will be delivered as locally as possible to benefit our region.

3. Including the climate impact of our full supply chain in our calculations is an incredibly difficult undertaking for a small organisation, but we want to show others that it is possible.

4. We are also taking the unique action of

offsetting the personal carbon footprints of all of our employees. If staff can demonstrate a lower than average footprint each year they receive a cash reward in their salary.

5. Most importantly, we want to bring

employees, customers, suppliers and our whole community with us on our journey. All of our employees are Carbon Literacy trained and we work through our partners to offer advice and support to other organisations.


BRINGING OTHERS WITH US Starting in 2021, we will begin a proactive engagement programme with suppliers and customers to encourage and support environmental commitments in our supply chain. We plan to offer all of our stakeholders training and resources for carbon reduction. However, if we deem a customer or supplier is failing to make progress on carbon reduction by 2022, we will no longer do business with them. Business as usual is no longer an option.

BALANCING PEOPLE, PLANET AND PROFIT We are embedding the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals throughout our business strategy. We provide stakeholders with full environmental disclosure in our annual company accounts. We will meet the highest standards of accountability and balance purpose with profit by becoming a certified B Corporation.

PUTTING OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS We are spending at least 10% of turnover over five years to deliver on our goals. We have invested ÂŁ1.5 million to date in smart energy saving assets, renewable energy generation, training and other improvements. We are increasing annual R&D spend year-on-year to support sustainable product development. Most of our capital investments are cashflow neutral or cashflow positive, allowing us to deliver radical measures with minimal financial risk.

Sustainable Development


Our strategy is fully aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. OUR PRIMARY GOALS We’re supporting the transition to clean energy by generating our own solar power and adding electric vehicles to our fleet. Our rooftop solar produces three times more energy than we import from the grid annually We’ve taken radical measures to improve our energy efficiency. Our building’s energy performance is A+ rated, making it one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings in the UK All remaining electricity we use from the grid will be sourced from renewables from 2021

All of our timber products are sourced from FSC and PEFC certified forests 99% of our waste is now recycled or recovered. Our biggest waste material is MDF, which is recovered as biomass for heating our factory We’re investing in R&D to find and develop alternative low impact materials for our products. From 2023 we pledge to introduce circular economy products into our portfolio

By achieving carbon neutrality by 2022 we’re doing our part to limit the global temperature rise We’re putting pressure on our suppliers to play their fair part. We will refuse to work with companies who cannot demonstrate any progress by 2022 Managing Director Richard Hagan has committed to dedicating significant time and resources to help other small businesses follow in our footsteps


SECONDARY GOALS We create decent, rewarding jobs for local people. All our staff live in the local community within 3 miles of our factory.

We support the Sanctuary Trust, a local charity that supports homeless people in Rochdale.

Richard Hagan is a vocal advocate of Industry 4.0 and supports other small manufacturers to adopt digital technology as a Fellow of the IN4.0 Group. Our Wellbeing Fund offers employees an annual payment of up to ÂŁ150 towards their own personal development and wellbeing.

Richard Hagan is an enterprise advisor at our local college where he promotes STEM education and sustainability for future generations.

We advocate sustainable development in Rochdale by promoting active travel for staff and supporting local community projects.

We have joined forces with local leaders and business organisations to promote sustainable development beyond our own network, including Rochdale Development Agency, GC Business Growth Hub, Chambers of Commerce, IoD, IEMA and many more.

Progress so far




We have made absolute reductions in carbon emissions year-on-year and are well on track for carbon neutral by 2022.

Our factory is now among the most energy efficient buildings in the UK. Electricity consumption is 75% lower than it would have been if we had made no improvements.


TONNES COâ‚‚E (scopes 1&2)

290 2016

980kW biomass burner providing 100% self-supplied renewable heating 246kW solar PV system, generating 3x more electricity than we import World-first Ecogate smart dust extractor that autonomously minimises energy demand Two 100% electric company cars

261 2017

100% LED lighting with intelligent sensors Energy efficient motors and compressors

218 2018

202 2019




*inclusive of 100% renewable electricity supply from 2021.

246kW solar PV array, installed by Perfect Sense Energy 2019-2020


RECOGNITION Our radical transformation has already been recognised in a number of prestigious regional and national award schemes.

ENERGY & CARBON TRANSITION 2020 IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards

980kW biomass burner, installed 2016



We have minimised waste generation, maximised recycling and invested in ongoing R&D projects to develop new sustainable products. FSC and PEFC certified wood supply All wood waste recovered for biomass heating


Zero waste to landfill 100% cardboard/plastic recycled 3D scanning spray robots to improve glue and paint efficiency Bespoke press machinery to reduce material wastage First UK company to trial 100% post-consumer recycled plastic vinyl wrapping


Influencing Change


We are proof that small businesses can lead the way to sustainability. We’re encouraging as many people and organisations as we can to join us. OUR SUPPLY CHAIN


Despite our size and limited resources, we’re driving change in our industry. Our business model is communicat ed to all customers and suppliers, and we’re reaching out to the rest of our sector through industry press and events.

We’re working hard to encourage sustainable development and climate action in the Rochdale community. All of our staff are trained in Carbon Literacy and many have enthusiastically adopted this ethos in their personal lives as a result.

By the end of 2022, we will no longer work with suppliers or customers who cannot demonstrate progress on sustainability. We’re developing an online platform so companies can share their progress with us, and access advice and guidance if they need it.

Richard Hagan promotes our mission to the local business community in partnership with the Rochdale Development Agency and Rochdale Ambassadors. He also engages with local schools and colleges to promote sustainable lifestyles and careers.

“What Crystal Doors have achieved has inspired us to follow in their footsteps. We’re planning to install solar, purchase electric vehicles, train our staff in carbon reduction and become a B Corp as a result of their achievements”

“Seeing these positive changes to the company I work for to ensure a better future is amazing to see. I’ve certainly taken them on and changed the way I do things”

Mark Reed Managing Director, Stellafoam

Chris Woodworth Operations Director Crystal Doors


WIDER INDUSTRY & OTHER STAKEHOLDERS Over the course of 2020 we were showcased as an example of environmental best practice at countless events and workshops. We have worked with Greater Manchester’s Business Growth Hub and Chamber of Commerce at the local level to promote sustainability to their memberships. At the national level, Richard has been invited to speak at numerous events for prestigious organisations such as the Institute of Directors, IEMA, CIWM and The Manufacturer. Our core message is that you don’t need to be a large business with a significant budget to go net zero. Richard now dedicates around two days a week to supporting other organisations and we actively encourage people to visit our factory to see it for themselves. We are also working closely with the University of Liverpool and other academic institutions across our region to incorporate postgraduate learning into our sustainability plans.

Rebecca Chedd Environmental Business Advisor, GC Business Growth Hub

“Working with Crystal Doors towards their carbon neutral goal has been one of our biggest success stories. They’re without doubt one of the most ambitious companies I’ve come across, and we regularly point to them as an example of best practice”

“Over the years Richard and Crystal Doors have been on an amazing journey to ensure they are carbon neutral by 2022. Richard’s passion for all things green is outstanding Carol Hopkins and he is continually Business Development looking for new and Manager, Rochdale innovative ways to Development Agency support this agenda”

Looking Forward


From 2021, we’ll be ramping up our engagement activities to new levels and working with our supply chain to finalise our route to carbon neutral. 2021 will be our busiest year yet for nurturing action beyond our own walls. Richard will be teaming up with a range of media, industry and educational partners to share his experiences and the lessons we’ve learned over the last five years. We aim to expand our offer of support to organisations through training resources and guides developed specifically for smaller organisations. For our customers and suppliers, we will develop an online stakeholder platform ahead of our commitment to remove poor performers from our supply chain by the end of 2022. Next year we also hope to achieve the world-renowned certified B Corp status– the first in our industry to do so.

By the end of 2021, we will have measured our full scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions and introduced them into our annual carbon footprint. Any emissions we cannot eliminate ourselves will be offset as locally as possible by the end of 2022. We are currently exploring our options, which could include extensive tree planting in and around our region. We will also be continuing with our progress to develop alternative materials and more sustainable products. We have built productive R&D partnerships with key suppliers and academic institutions and have already trialled a UK-first recycled consumer waste PET vinyl, developed by our supply chain partner Bonlex. We are also exploring opportunities in 3D printing, lower impact alternatives to MDF and near-field communication (NFC) stickers that provide customers with product sustainability information.


Together we can beat the climate crisis. Join us

What we’ve achieved as a small business is amazing, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg compared to what we can achieve together. Visit our website to learn more about our journey and what you can do:

Or get in touch with Richard Hagan directly:

Thank you to every organisation who supported our journey in 2020: City of Trees CIWM GC Business Growth Hub Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce IEMA IN4.0 Group Institute of Directors KBB Review Laurence Adams Perfect Sense Energy Rochdale Development Agency The Manufacturer and many more

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