Content in this section includes excerpts from the Accsys Technologies PLC Sustainability Report 2020
Accsys offers the world a choice to build more sustainably, and we are committed to improving the positive impact we can make in the world, and in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) areas.
Read more about Accsys’ activities, strategy and performance in sustainability and ESG here and in our published reports and documents.
Sustainability is not just a trend, it is a global imperative. Accsys – our people, our technology, and the products we create – has had this at heart for years. We know that what we offer is a more sustainable option for developing the built environment, that our products are grown from renewable sources, that they sequester carbon and lock it in to a useful, recyclable and non-toxic building material.
We know that our products not only offer competitive advantages compared with other materials, but also open new opportunities and enable creative, innovative design and construction – all while fitting into a sustainable circular economy bio-cycle, reducing embodied carbon costs, and without risking environmental contamination through the leaching of chemicals or microplastic pollution.
That is why we feel a responsibility – an obligation – to fulfil our purpose: “Changing wood to change the world.”
Our approach to sustainability
This past year has seen many challenges on a global scale: to nations, to businesses, to societies, and to the people that comprise them, support them and depend on them. Because we know sustainability is not just a passing trend though, we have kept our focus on this important issue and conducted a thorough review of our overall sustainability and ESG issues, impacts and opportunities. Even as we work hard on growing our business in size, scale and profitability, we have developed our sustainability strategy and refined and reframed our commitment to improved monitoring, management and reporting of ESG issues.
We engaged a specialist sustainability consultancy to make sure we approached this in the right way, taking guidance and input from best practice methodologies and independent, respected reporting guidelines and frameworks. We engaged in thorough initial research of our markets, our industry and the wider global sustainability landscape, and we refined our list of material issues through interviews, focus groups and surveys with our stakeholder groups.
It is reassuring that there is very strong overlap in our resulting materiality matrix with our previous existing priorities and successes, confirming where we can and should focus our efforts while also highlighting and expanding some new areas of opportunity.
There is an increasing focus from our investors and other stakeholders on ESG performance. It is important that we are transparent about our priority ESG matters and their impacts on our key stakeholders. The findings of the materiality assessment are also central to the development of fully informed ESG strategies.
Our goal is to maximise the positive impact of what we do and what we make, capitalise on opportunities for improvements, and minimise any negative impacts or risks from the way we create those products and operate as a business.
We aim to grow our business in a sustainable way: sustainable environmentally, and able to sustain long term success and growth. The Accsys Sustainability Report 2020 is an initial output from our ESG review and strategy development work this year, and marks the start of a new chapter in Accsys’ growth and evolution as a force for sustainable change in the world.
As the business grows and prepares for further global expansion, it is always with the consideration that the impact we can have is growing too.
Our Corporate Vision
We want to ensure that our business is not only a commercial success, but also run in a responsible fashion as we continue to advance technologies for a better world.
Accsys has already developed and is commercially producing Accoya® solid acetylated wood. We have developed the process for the production of Tricoya® acetylated wood elements, used for the production of panel products.
Accoya® wood is Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold. As part of that certification, our supply chain, production processes and procedures have been examined and scored on categories including: Material Health (Platinum), Material Reutilisation (Gold), Renewable Energy & Carbon Management (Gold), Water Stewardship (Gold) and Social Fairness (Gold).
Accsys aims to reduce the use of environmentally unfriendly building materials and products through our propriety technology and the introduction and uptake of our products around the world.
The planet continues to consume endangered materials like tropical hardwood and non-renewable, high emitting building materials such as plastics, concrete and metals at an alarming rate.
Our acetylated wood products offer alternative, sustainable new materials that resolve many of the environmental limitations that commonly used building materials have, whilst not compromising on performance.
In fact, Accoya® is the only building product perfectly fitting in the bio-cycle of the circular economy while having the same performance as typical techno-cycle building products such as plastics and metals which cannot be renewed and have a high carbon footprint.
Accsys is also committed to continuing R&D concerning our products (applications and new wood species) and processes. This ongoing development is designed to increase the use and improve the environmental and efficiency benefits of our products.
This will ensure we continue to respond to the growing global ambition of consumers to live sustainably, reduce the growth of plastic pollution and tackle climate change and in turn will benefit many of our stakeholders.
Our products and the environment
The main environmental benefit of our Accoya® and Tricoya® acetylated wood products is their use as a substitute for other environmentally damaging products including chemically treated woods that use toxic preservatives, unsustainably sourced tropical timbers and materials produced from energy intensive or nonrenewable resources such as metals (for example, steel and aluminium) and plastics (such as PVC).
During their growth, trees convert carbon dioxide (CO2) through photosynthesis into cellulose and lignin and emit oxygen in the process. As a result, during their lifespan trees act as carbon sinks, as CO2 is captured from the atmosphere and makes up approximately half of the dry weight stored in the wood of the tree.
The carbon is stored in the living tree, but will also remain stored once the tree is felled and the wood of the tree is used for products such as Accoya® and Tricoya®. As a consequence, CO2 is locked out of the natural carbon cycle during the lifespan of the wood or wood product.
Through decay or incineration, the carbon will eventually be released again into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. In producing Accoya® wood, we improve this carbon capture mechanism in two ways.
Firstly by using fast growing softwood species, such as radiata pine, as input for our acetylation process. Per hectare, more cubic metres of radiata pine can be grown (10 m3 /ha/ year) compared to other wood species. Consequently, a larger amount of carbon is sequestered compared to slow growing wood species in the same time period.
Secondly, through the acetylation process the dimensional stability and durability of a wood species are improved considerably, lengthening the product lifespan. Thus Accoya® wood (durability class 1 according to EN standard 350) is able to act as a carbon sink for longer and requiring less additional care than other woods.
These unique properties allow us to provide a warranty on Accoya® wood for 50 years above ground and 25 years below ground (please see our Certificates of Warranty for full details), usefully trapping carbon for decades while new trees are grown.