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22 October 2021

Sustainability with Darius

When Warwick first started LKC, he focused on the ethics of fashion. Some shocking things were happening (and still do) in fashion. Sweat shops, local environmental vandalism from fabrics and dies, massive water consumption in manufacturing to name just a few. Since then the global movement against fast, unsustainable fashion has picked up pace but there is still a long way to go.

True to their values, LKC has implemented strict governance procedures for what’s become known as “ESG” - Environmental, social, governance. Under this framework, LKC has been really strong on the ethics behind their products. But Warwick wanted to go a step further.

Which is why when he contacted me about assessing their energy impact I knew I could help. Warwick's printing equipment (which required a special 3 phase power connection in the warehouse) is quite energy hungry. Apart from being a significant business expense, its also associated with significant carbon emissions (almost 5 tonnes last quarter!).

So for LKC’s energy sustainability assessment I started (as one always should) with energy efficiency. The best energy usage is the one that doesn’t even happen. But Warwick had already done a good job on this one. He doesn’t have any conditioning (they use a fan in the summer) and never leave the printing equipment running when they don’t need to.

Next I looked at onsite renewable energy. The cleanest unit of energy is the one which comes from the roof. Unfortunately in this case LKC rent their warehouse. So Warwick will continue to ask the landlord to invest in rooftop solar for the warehouse, but it’s not in their control.

Finally, I looked at carbon offsets and supporting utility-scale renewable energy. This is the best option to manage the energy component of LKC’s sustainability efforts. This is important for Warwick so LKC now pays extra to offset every kg of CO2 emitted by their operations. This goes to fund carbon abatement projects like planting trees and renewable energy certificates from solar and wind farms. The offsets are certified by Climate Active to make sure the projects are real and so is the impact. One day Warwick Leah hopes to have his own warehouse where he can put solar panels on the roof and go directly renewable. But for now he’s going net-zero emissions by fully offsetting LKCs energy impact.

There’s still a ways to go in the delivery network which relies on fossil fuels to get LKC products to you. So next we’ll be working out how to manage those emissions too, with our delivery partners, with the goal of having zero environmental footprint for all LKC products to your door.

- Darius Salgo

To read more about Darius and his work, you can explore his LinkedIn.

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