COP26: Making Crucial Changes at Adexon®

“Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change. It is with ambition, courage, and collaboration as we approach the crucial COP26 summit in the UK that we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.”
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of The United Kingdom, 2021.[1]

Boris Johnson pointing at the audience while delivering a speech at COP26

[2] COP26

COP26 has outlined in more fervent terms than ever before, for the need for drastic change, in our current and immediate futures. Gone are the halcyon days of innocence, the scales have been removed from our eyes, and the future state of the world has been demonstrated to us with alarming clarity.


In case you missed it, ‘COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, […] and brings together ‘almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs.[3] […] Climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority,’[4] with countries, governments, and businesses coming together to discuss how we can limit global warming to 1.5°C- agreed during the 2015 COP21- since named the Paris Agreement.


It became essential for countries to implement changes to cease any further global warming due to planetary symptoms such as:

  • Warmer temperatures across the globe, making temperature countries significantly warmer, and arctic/ cold climates significantly warmer.

  • Risk of water stress and droughts.

  • Extreme precipitation.

  • Flood risks.

  • Loss of species and extinction.

  • Fires, extreme weather, and an increase in invasive species.

  • Biome shifts.

  • Deforestation: the loss of rainforests and boreal forests.

  • Increase in sea levels, due to polar and sea ice loss.

  • Changes to sea temperatures, acidity, and oxygen levels.

  • Marine and coastal ecosystem loss.

  • Increased chances of Heart-related illness and mortality.

  • Increased Vector-Borne diseases, such as Malaria.

  • Food security risk. [5]

Unfortunately, this is looking increasingly likely to continue. The Emissions Gap Report 2021 outlined that the total of submitted 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs[6]) is sending us towards an increased 2.7°C of warming, nearly double the target from the Paris Agreement. Similarly, Carbon Brief found that there is only a 50% likelihood of achieving the outlined CO2 emissions trajectory of 2030 expected figures.[7]


Climate has no borders COP26 poster

[8] What are Adexon® doing?

Due to testing constraints, no fire, or smoke curtain of the market can be described as truly sustainable- yet! However, here at Adexon®, we strive to effect change as soon as possible, to lighten our carbon footprint, and one day, remove it from the sand altogether.


Increased sustainability can be reached in the short term with close control over business operations, and enables us to affect change, albeit on a smaller scale, much faster. It also enables the company to create the blueprint for how to run this, and future offices, more sustainably, from the outset.

No more single-use plastics

The average person in the UK will use 150 plastic water bottles every year, with 175 per person, per annum in London,[9] and one of the easiest, most cost-effective methods to stop this is with the addition of a water-cooler.


Water coolers remove the need to recycle plastic bottles entirely and allow us to move over one of the finer issues recently addressed by the PM on ITV News. Referring to recycling as a ‘” red herring”’ Boris Johnson reiterated the need for households and offices across the world to ‘” stop the production of plastic, stop the first use of the plastic.”’ [10] Reiterated by WCL earlier this month, who stated:


‘Recycling has a role to play in our waste system and at present, it’s certainly preferable to sending items to landfill or incineration. However, moving forward, the climate and biodiversity crisis necessitate grasping the nettle and addressing the root causes driving our high consumption, high waste economy.’[11]

Adexon® offices have been using a water cooler since 2005 and to-date will have removed the use of over 12,000 drinks bottles from use, and therefore from going out to be recycled.


Any other recyclable goods used within the office, for example, soup tins, toilet tissue tubes, and milk bottles are rinsed and set out for weekly council recycling.

Print-free office

According to recent data, ‘one office employee consumes 10,000 sheets of paper every year,’ with 7,500 of those 10,000 sheets ending up as waste.’ As the world consumption of paper has ‘increased exponentially since 1980,’ [12] we are proud to be a generally paperless office, with average consumption tallying at 1 ream, around 500 sheets, per month.


The very small amount of paper that is disposed of is then shredded and composted.


Company Transport

In October 2021, the company fleet started, as we gained a Tesla fully electric model 3, complete with an EV charging point. This negates the need for around 10,000 fossil-fuel miles per year for the member of staff who completes most of the business-related travel.


Three out of the five remaining full-time office staff travel to and from work using exclusively public transport, which produces a carbon output of around 12.70kg C02e less per week than travelling in three small-sized cars; saving nearly 600kg C02e per year, equivalent to 660 pounds of coal being burnt per year![13]

White electric care charging with a yellow charging cable

Upcoming Green Energy

Adexon® made the decision to permanently remove the use of gas from our office building in 2015 and have been electricity-only since then. As a company, we are now looking at lessening the impact of our electricity usage and have committed to using 100% renewable sources only by 2023.

Transporting Goods
“We have reached a tipping point in the transition to clean road transport. It is inspiring to see governments and industry come together, to decarbonise road transport within a generation.”

Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, Department for Transport, UK


With our manufacturing partner on the continent, Adexon® are striving to lower the impact of importing Fire and Smoke Curtains. To enable this, the product is to be imported with transport that uses renewable energy, for example by electric trucks, rather than those who rely on petrol or diesel and removes the need for further airfreight. By utilising ferries, which are also expected to dramatically reduce their CO2 and Sulphur Oxide (SO) emissions by 2035, ‘through a combination of technical, operational and policy measures.’[14]


This can then be continued across the UK, where delivery to site can also be assured using electric vehicles. This fits alongside the COP26 and UK Government’s Accelerating the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition: A One Way Street initiative, and in conjunction with haulage companies across the UK, we can make serious leaps to address the emissions generated by commercial road usage.

Packaging of Goods

All Adexon® packaging is to be recycled and recyclable to reduce the impact of packaging necessary when transporting our fire curtains. As the Fire Curtain itself is constructed from fabric, it requires careful packaging, so it does not get damaged in transport, but we want to ensure moving forward, that the impact of this packaging is as negligible as possible.


Provisional government data from 2020 suggests that around 67.2% of UK packaging waste is recovered and recycled, with the highest figures of recovery coming from metals such as steel (78.7%) and glass (75.8%) with currently only 47.4% of plastic meeting recycling and recovery targets. [15] This is a figure that we as a company wish to change, with future changes going toward removing as much plastic from the packaging system, and what cannot be removed being made from recycled, and/ or recyclable plastics.

The Journey is Just Beginning

As with all journeys, everything begins with small steps. At Adexon® we acknowledge that although we have a long way to go, we are determined to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gasses, restore the planet, and resist further effects of climate change.

Clean air; clean rivers; clean cities: for today and tomorrow.

__________________________________________________________________________

[1] Boris Johnson, quoted from COP26 Explained, <https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/COP26-Explained.pdf> 08.11.2021

[2] Image from BBC News, ‘COP26: Glasgow's UN climate conference opens with key speeches,’ <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-59118835> 19.11.2021

[3] Conference of the Parties abbreviated to COPs.

[4] UK COP 26, ‘What is a COP?’ <https://ukcop26.org/uk-presidency/what-is-a-cop/> 08.11.2021

[5] Finding from IPCC, Special report on the impacts of Global warming at 1.5°, <https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/SR15_Full_Report_Low_Res.pdf> 08.11.2021

[6] NDCs- Nationally Determined Contributions.

[7] Dr Zeke Hausfather and Professor Piers Forster for Carbon Brief, ‘Analysis: Do COP26 promises keep global warming below 2C?’ <https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-do-cop26-promises-keep-global-warming-below-2c> 19.11.2021

[8] Climate has no Border COP26 campaign poster, taken from BBC Newsround, ‘COP26: What is it and why is it happening in Glasgow in 2021?’ <https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51372486> 19.11.2021

[9] UK Parliament, Plastic Bottles: Turning Back the Tide, <https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm#_idTextAnchor008> 08.11.021

[10] ITV News, ‘Boris Johnson criticised after telling children recycling doesn’t work,’ <https://www.itv.com/news/2021-10-25/boris-johnson-criticised-after-telling-children-recycling-doesnt-work> 09.11.2021

[11] WCL, ‘Ahead of COP26, Boris Johnson has recognised the flaws in our recycling system, now he must rapidly act to tackle the waste crisis,’ <https://www.wcl.org.uk/ahead-of-cop26,-boris-johnson-has-recognised-the-flaws-in-our-recycling-system,-now-he-must-rapidly-act-to-tackle-the-waste-crisis.asp> 09.11.2021

[12] Conserve Energy Future, ‘The Real Figures of Paper Usage in the UK,’ <https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/real-figures-paper-usage-uk.php> 09.11.2021

[13] Image from Pexels.com, courtesy of Rathaphon Nanthapreecha.

[14] European Commission, ‘Electric ferries and joined-up shipping to turn sea travel green,’ ,https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/electric-ferries-and-joined-shipping-turn-sea-travel-green> 15.11.2021

[15] Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ‘Packing Waste figures,’ Table 4.3 Packaging waste and recycling/recovery, split by material, UK 2020 (Provisional), <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002246/UK_stats_on_waste_statistical_notice_July2021_accessible_FINAL.pdf> 15.11.2021

Cover image from Pexels.com, courtesy of Felix Mittermeier.

1 view0 comments