Policies In Action
J C Atkinson’s aspiration is to ensure that they can provide customers with the most environmentally conscious and responsible options with a view to reducing their overall impact on the environment.
In the course of the last 30 years, the business has ensured all their mahogany style wood coffins come from a named sustainable source, pioneered the use of waste wood in chipboard, secured FSC-certification for their coffins, harnessed the power of rainwater and biomass heating.
We then launched Greener Goodbyes to make it easier for people to have a greener funeral, became a Carbon Trust Standard Bearer, planted over 10,000 trees, launched a plastic-free range… and supported environmental initiatives on a local and national scale.
Our Environmental Goals
We are committed to the ethical sourcing and manufacturing of the products we supply. Our environmental standards are the highest in the trade and we are proud of what we have achieved so far. We will continue to champion the environmental cause with funeral directors and put innovation, respect, and social responsibility at the heart of all we do.
J C Atkinson has introduced many environmental initiatives over the years, for which we have picked up several awards along the way, among them The Sunday Times Best Green Company Award and a special Good Funeral Guide award as the supplier doing the most to move the funeral business forward to make greener options the norm. Below are three of our ongoing projects.
J C Atkinson saves 165 tonnes of CO2 by harnessing the sun’s power. Installing solar panels into their factory roof has already saved between 165 to 180 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) from being released into the atmosphere.
The Solar Photovoltic (PV) system at the factory in Washington saves approximately 15 to 20 tonnes of carbon per year and has been powering the day-to-day electricity needs of the building since 2010.
All of J C Atkinson’s factories run on biomass renewable energy heating using waste product from their manufacturing processes as sustainable fuel registered on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) for the boilers.
J C Atkinson will continue to progress their initiatives in line with government policy and the commitment made in the United Nations COP 26 Conference, which decided on a reduction of Carbon emissions of 45% by 2030.
Greener Goodbyes is a web-based application which estimates the carbon footprint of any given funeral arrangement. It allows customers to make informed choices, including opting for a greener funeral if they wish to do so.
J C Atkinson has independently researched and developed Greener Goodbyes using accredited life cycle analysis to understand most accurately what the impact on the environment is of any chosen funeral arrangement.
Plastic Free is an internal accreditation launched by J C Atkinson to provide additional information to ecologically minded customers. Where a coffin carries the ‘Plastic Free’ or the ‘Plastic Free option available’ symbol, the product is either entirely plastic free or comes with the option of being entirely plastic free.
It is another part of our increasing commitment
to ensure our products excede market expectations.
Our Supply Chain
J C Atkinson understands how important it is to positively impact the communities where it operates. One way it does this is by ensuring its supply chains for natural materials are sourced ethically.
J C Atkinson is a member of SEDEX one of the world’s leading ethical trade membership organisations, working with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Through SEDEX, J C Atkinson are committed to ensuring their labour management standards cover a number international standards as outlined in the Ethical Trading Initiative’s (ETI) Base Code, and aims to improve the standards and conditions that people around the world work under.
J C Atkinson are very proud to be working with local community interest company Climate Action North East working with local schools and communities across the North East.
Below are a number of projects we’ve are proud to be involved with.
J C Atkinson for some time has had a policy of planting a tree for every solid coffin that we have sold. To date we have planted well in excess of 10,000 trees.
We are very proud of our tree planting initiative and we believe that planting trees is a good and responsible way to show our commitment to improving the environment that we share. This activity is our key commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SNG) No. 15 – Life on Land and SDG No. 13 – Climate Action.
J C Atkinson supports the newly rebranded Global Wilders® programme with local community interest company, Climate Action North. J C Atkinson previously funded a project to encourage environmental education in schools, and continue to support this work with more projects planned locally.
Global Wilders® contributes to SDG – 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, and 15 as the activities delivered achieve all areas of these sustainable goals.
Beach Cleans & Litter Picks
Through our our work with local community interest company Climate Action North, J C Atkinson has have supported a number of Beach Clean/Litter Pick events with local radio station Sun FM.
We continue to support their North East Action for Rivers (NE4R) project enabling river clean ups on the water, on the land, mudflats and rocks and providing opportunities for staff volunteering. NE4R is a project with a key commitment to UN SDG 14-Life Below Water.
School Education Projects
JC Atkinson supports the newly rebranded “Global Wilders®” programme with local community interest company, Climate Action North – JC Atkinson previously funded a project to encourage environmental education in schools, and continue to support this
work with more projects planned locally.
Global Wilders ® contributes to SDG’s 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, and 15 as the activities delivered achieve all areas of these sustainable development goals.
JC Atkinson has sponsored a number of community projects including the Dare to Dream Library Train – a project refurbishing two carriages into a library and quiet space for the children at Kirk Merrington Primary School in County Durham.
The funding contributed to the installation of solar panels onto the roof of the train and creation of a wildlife friendly garden for the children. We continue to sponsor Climate Action North and are working with them to deliver projects in local schools as part of their Global Wilders® programme.
One of the practices that the business aspires to follow is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, be that in the reduction of packaging by blanket wrapping coffins out for delivery, reusing rainwater for non-human consumption applications or recycling off-cuts of wood.
JCA produce around 800 tonnes of wood waste a year, which consists of off cuts and saw dust. All wood waste is recycled on site, processed to give JCA heat used in process and ambient heating. Surplus in the warmer summer months is made into wood pellet, certified by the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) for use as our own Biomass fuel. No wood is sent to landfill.
JCA have developed a range of single use plastic free products and are working on replacing as much of its packaging as possible with more sustainable options, such as paper packaging tape, biodegradable and eco-friendly bubble wrap, and packaging. The company uses about 6000 tonnes of chipboard a year and throughout the manufacturing is cut in such a way to minimise waste.
JCA is in the process of removing all cardboard skips from the three premises, having recently installed a cardboard baler to compress cardboard waste, making this a more efficient way to process and store waste on site.
This will also reduce waste disposal from the business by approximately 4500kg per year. The first baled waste will be leaving the factory during December and will be processed less than 3 miles away from JCA head office in Washington.
JCA are now purchasing PVA glue in a 1000 litre Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) as opposed to the one litre white plastic bottles previously used, instead existing 1 litre bottles are refilled on site from the IBC. This significantly reduces our single use plastic waste (6000 bottles per annum). As well as the reduction in waste through the bottles being retained to be reused, there are significant environmental benefits and savings of around £6500 per year.
Plastic Handy Wraps
We have recently changed supplier and are now buying handy wraps with a higher (50%) recycled content.
EV Charging Points
JCA has recently installed Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points at our premises in Washington. The EV chargers and the electric vehicles are far more
In August 2022 JCA developed a new product carton with our supplier Oasis Coffins which resulting in the paulownia urns no longer needing to be ‘double boxed’. This change has brought about many advantages to the business, including a significant reduction on cardboard waste.
Material coverboards within JCA are donated to a local art charity enabling them to reuse.
As a company owned by Newable, JCA are fully committed to their ESG strategy in particular the following: –
Social: Driving inclusive economic growth; being a great workplace for employees; promoting equality, diversity, inclusion, health, and wellbeing.
Environmental: Optimising our inputs, reducing our outputs and being an advocate for sustainability.
Governance: Maintaining transparency across our business; operating responsible supply chains and actively managing risks and opportunities.