Signs Express, the UK’s largest signs & graphics franchise network, has announced its certified Carbon Neutral status for 2023, as part of a much bigger drive to improve environmental standards across the UK’s signage industry.
The UK signage industry, by definition, has traditionally been creative and innovative, but the materials used, emissions created by machinery to make signs, waste management and logistics have seen it contribute adversely to carbon outputs. Signs Express is at the forefront of changing mindsets and making a change for the better.
Working in collaboration with Carbon Neutral Britain, Signs Express gathered data across a 12-month period, measuring carbon emissions from each centre’s operating activities, production machinery and power outputs, along with the floorspace, to determine a clear picture of their carbon footprint at each of its near-60 centres.
These emissions have now been offset by supporting a number of global reforestation projects, across Southwest Australia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and here in the UK. These projects go beyond offsetting and also support education, employment, and clean water as well as having a net positive impact on the local wildlife and ecology.
“This is a fabulous first step for Signs Express,” commented Aaron Davis, Director at Signs Express Limited.
“This carbon offsetting project helped to raise awareness of these important issues across our network.
“Far from being a token gesture, this is an important first step on a much longer journey and a broader set of environmental commitments, as we work towards Net Zero Carbon. We constantly monitor the supply chain for new products and ideas and share these across our network, to keep centre managers informed and up to date. We offer customers a growing range of greener products and services and reduce our waste to landfill through improved waste management systems (with trials already in place with Reconomy).
“We feel this is very timely as the UK signage industry and suppliers come to terms with regulation, the need for every business to be environmentally considerate and of course the growing number of customers who want more environmentally sustainable options.
“Attitudes and strategies are changing and on an almost weekly basis we are seeing products being launched, underlining our supply chain’s commitment to research and development and more environmentally considerate products and options.
“There is a myriad of areas where development is underway, including: PVC-free banners, improved recycling options for vinyl backing paper, use of electric vehicles, water-based printer ink, epaper technologies, LED lighting, sustainable wallpaper and adhesives, and many more innovations,” Davis continued.
Costs and quality of product, traditional objections to environmentally-friendly alternatives, are consequently less of an issue now for the signage industry.
There is also a human side to what is happening and the Signs Express family, a close-knit community, has many individuals, who wanted to see changes introduced. There is no hard-fast roadmap to achieve Net Zero, as no two centres are alike and the day-to-day operational requirements impact on each site’s layout. Teaching good practices and entrenching them to become the norm, also takes time.
“Many members of our team wanted to do something positive, and we feel it is our duty in our everyday lives, whether at home or work to make those subtle changes,” Davis concludes.
Signs Express are members of ISA-UK. For further information, visit: www.uksigns.org