Being Carbon Neutral

Being Carbon Neutral

21 Sep , 2021

The road to ‘Net Zero’ is paved with gold but there are lots of potholes too, so watch out! Here at Pines and Needles we feel a little smug but really that’s more down to serendipity. That said we are doing all we can to be a carbon neutral business and at certain times of the year even a carbon positive one.

Being Carbon Neutral with Pines and Needles

There are huge business opportunities for those who are on the road to or claim they have already reached net zero. First there is the inevitable adulation and business boost from an increasingly aware consumer, then there are the new connections we are already finding that we are making as a result. Many new industries will blossom and prosper in the coming years but beware with this comes much closer and penetrating scrutiny, don’t claim unless you can back it up with real facts and figures and demonstrate how you managed it.

For the cynics amongst you there is a need to be aware that there are still enormous forces at play here. Seventy one percent of global carbon emissions still come from the same 100 fossil fuel companies that have been driving up emissions for the last 50 or more years. Knowing full well that emissions were going to wreak havoc with our climate as far back as the 1970s they have spent the last thirty years blaming all of us for the parlous state that we are in. The fossil fuel industry wants to make climate change mitigation about the cars we choose to drive, the food we choose to eat and our lifestyle choices rather than the larger system and incentives. The fossil fuel industry and its adherents need to be confronted head-on and the world needs to bring about genuine systemic change to its energy supply. Enough, but if you want to find out more it is worth reading Michael E Mann’s excellent book “The New Climate War.

How come serendipity? Well, it goes back to 1995 when our then teenage founders Josh and Sam Lyle came up with a wizard wheeze. “Let’s load up this old horse box with some of the Christmas Trees we’ve got growing here on the family farm in Scotland and make a dash down to London to see if we can flog them quick.” ...and they did, kilted! As the years passed by they were joined by a merry crew of associates and Pine and Needles became established with outdoor stores dotted around London and regular deliveries to businesses, schools, town halls and people’s homes.

....and the carbon neutral bit?

Being Carbon Neutral with Pines and Needles

Ha! I knew you would ask. Well to keep the business sustainable and to meet increasing demand year on year Josh and Sam decided to plant two trees for every one they sold. Not only would this increase the range of trees the business could supply but also it suddenly became obvious that the more trees they could plant the more CO2 they would in tech terminology, sequester. So, during the post-Christmas season we are planting trees and those we planted in previous years are growing at a fair old rate making us carbon positive. Then as the Christmas season approaches, we start to cut trees. Being grown on our own sustainable plantations in Scotland there are no air miles and low emissions to get the cut trees to where they need to be. To transport our trees, we use diesel vehicles, but we have some that run on LPG and very soon we’ll have our first EV. Emissions are still a concern but all the while the trees in the plantation are still growing and we reckon that at least makes us carbon neutral during the season. It is getting easier to calculate and when carbon pricing becomes the norm, we’ll be able to report exactly.

We are increasingly switching to organically grown trees too which cuts pesticide use. Smug, no not really but thanks to the nature of our business and nature itself it has been relatively easy to claim that we are carbon neutral. It’s going to become something very important for business to move towards in the next ten years, mark my words!


British Christmas Tree Grower's Association
One more thing, Pines and Needles is also a proud member of the British Christmas Tree Growers' Association (BCTGA). Members of the BCTGA cultivate well shaped and sturdy trees specially for the Christmas festivities. All members of the BCTGA have to conform to strict standards in sustainability, including:

Only sources which are sustainable and do not present any threat to endangered species are used.

Planted area
The area of land used for the cultivation of Christmas Trees is subjected to a survey on environmental, ecological, or archaeological impact.

Cultivation of Trees
The growing of trees will be done in accordance with the best practice indicated by research in this country and overseas.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association will commission and encourage research into methods of dealing with pests and disease which reduce or eliminate the need to use chemicals.

Christmas Trees provide an excellent habitat for many bird species. British Christmas Tree Growers take account of the habitats of these birds in the cultivation of their trees.

The cutting of Christmas trees is done in winter and has little or no effect on breeding or disturbance of wildlife. Trees will be harvested and handled to ensure maximum freshness for the purchaser.

Leave a Reply

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing