Charcoal and the Environment
UK produced charcoal has a massively lower carbon footprint than that of imported charcoal!
Imported charcoal creates so much destruction!
Added to this can be the effect on climate change of the oil resources used in shipping such a bulky product all round the world.
More than 3.28 billion tonnes of timber is needed to make the amount of charcoal imported into the EU every year, roughly equivalent to 11 million hectares of forest per year!* That's almost half a football pitch per second!
*(To put that into context, England's area is 13 million hectares!)
Over 90,000 tonnes imported to the UK each year often from unregulated sources.
Where does all this imported charcoal come from? West African Rainforest, Asian Tropical Rainforest, Brazilian Rainforest, Asian Mangrove Woods and African Bush Clearance.
Charcoal can be the main driver of forest degradation, sometimes deforestation, and lead to desertification and erosion.
Beatrix Richards, WWF-UK's forest expert, said: “In 2012, the UK implemented a regulation to make sure wood products are made from legally logged timber. It is astonishing that charcoal falls outside of this regulation. The UK is importing large quantities from countries with a high risk of illegality and high rates of deforestation.”
The Dorset Charcoal Company are currently trying to change UK law to see this corrected!
Educating UK purchasers about imported charcoal...
Recently we had some large information boards printed to display to the public just where the charcoal they are using comes from and the harm that it causes. They feature various articles from from the net and examples of the good and bag product to look out for. Unsurprisingly the usual bags you find at supermarkets and on forecourts are not keen to advertise where the charcoal originates from. Quite often the charcoal these bags contain has been shipped from different sources and then mixed before being packaged and sold on.
In our 20 years plus of business, The Dorset Charcoal Company has been inundated with enquiries from companies wanting us to import their charcoal. (They clearly haven't read our website!) In the last seven years alone we have saved over 1000 emails offering charcoal from every corner of the world.
We feel this puts us in a very good position to explain to UK purchasers of imported charcoal exactly which eco-systems and habitats they are complicit in helping to destroy!
How can you help? Buy British & Burn British!
The benefits of British Hardwood charcoal:
Coppice restoration & preservation.
Regulated forest thinning.
Use of sawmill off-cuts.
Supporting wildlife by preserving their natural habitats.
Restoring and maintaining woodlands for future generations.
British charcoal has 85% less CO2 emissions than imported charcoal.
Coupled with all this is the high quality of British Charcoal.
The Earthworm Trust has been doing wonderful work in this field, analysing charcoal bags sold in Europe to verify their wood species and origin. Their findings showed that many products contained undeclared tropical wood, leading to field work to verify retailers’ supply chains and to find solutions to resolve identified issues.
Please read their fantastic report from 2019