Sustainability and Carbon Offsetting

by Sammy Bishop

If you've followed previous posts, you'll know that I'm always looking for ways to make Paraffle a more sustainable and environmentally friendly embroidery business. Part of this also involves being transparent with you guys - in talking about not only what we've achieved, but also how far we have to go!

More recently, there's been a couple of great developments - so I thought I'd give you a round up of what's been done so far!

What has Paraffle done so far to offer a more Environmentally friendly embroidery endeavour?

When I made the decision to be proactive in making Paraffle environmentally friendly, there were a few basic changes that needed to be made: I switched the plastic embroidery hoops for wooden ones; changed all of the postal packaging to recycled paper mailers; and switched to a company that can supply recycled kit boxes, made in the UK.

Then, I took a closer look at more of the materials inside the kits. When I released my range of cushion embroidery kits, I was careful to source cushion covers that are Organic and Fair Trade; and I took a look at my range of tote kits, too. Some of these were a little harder to change - at the moment, the cream tote bags (for the bee design) are Organic and Fair Trade, while all of the other totes are ethically sourced.

As the Stitch Guide booklet and instructions are a key part of every kit, I changed from using an 'at home' printer, to a printing company that uses FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper and environmentally friendly ink. 

A close up of a wooden embroidery hoop, showing a small metal hanging hook attached to the outer hook

And so to the latest change...

Paraffle is the first carbon positive embroidery business in the UK!

I'm super happy to say that Paraffle is now offsetting carbon emissions from all of your orders - making us the first and only carbon positive embroidery kit business in the UK!

That means that whenever I post something to you, the carbon footprint of its delivery will be calculated. Then, at the end of the month, I'll pay to offset all of the orders for that period.

Plus, I've gone one step further!

I will also offset all supplies that go on a journey to get delivered to us at Paraffle, too! This includes hoops, fabric, thread... and everything else that we receive before putting them in your kits. So, our carbon footprint is offset each step of the way!

As of September 2020, I can claim to be the first and only carbon positive embroidery kit business in the UK - possibly globally! If you are reading this and either own or know of any other environmentally friendly embroidery kit business in the UK or anywhere, do get in touch and I'll rescind my claim! I'm also more than willing to offer guidance to any other business on how to go about becoming carbon positive - so do get in touch if you'd like to do so but not sure how to go about it.

Two hands holding an embroidery hoop displaying a sloth design on green fabric against a light wooden background
One hand resting on an embroidery hoop containing navy blue fabric and a bright yellow and green pineapple design

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Offsetting is the process of using 'carbon credits' to compensate for your carbon footprint.

Simply put, for each tonne of CO2 created by us (e.g. through deliveries or producing materials), we donate to funds that help the environment by reducing carbon emissions - often through reforestation projects.

All of this is being done in partnership with Pachama - a brilliant initiative which protects forested land and works toward reforestation in the Amazon and Central Africa.

Does that mean I'm going to stop working to make Paraffle more environmentally friendly?

Never! I'm currently working on a Transparency page, which will show what I've done so far, and what I know still could be done.

The idea of listing what still could be done is scary - not only because it reveals the scale of our task ahead; but also the idea of holding up Paraffle's (and my own!) shortcomings in this area is pretty terrifying. 

As always, I welcome any and all suggestions about how I can keep improving - the work is never done!

Sammy Bishop

Founder & Owner of Paraffle

Sammy set up Paraffle as a side-venture in 2017 whilst she was doing her PhD at Edinburgh University. After finishing her PhD in Religious Studies (specifically Hinduisim and the New Age movement of Tantra), running Paraffle has become her full time hobby and job!

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