Colwill and Co is a Social Enterprise. That means that our main objective is something other than making a profit. Ours is...
To positively impact the number of trees growing in the UK and thus benefit the local, national and global population by combating global warming and increasing biodiversity. We will make and sell furniture made from reclaimed wood and timber sourced from trees felled for non-commercial purposes and spend the majority of our profits on tree planting and reforestation.
The UK has one of the lowest rates of woodland cover in Europe, 13% compared to a European average of 38%. Only Ireland and Iceland (who have something of an excuse) fair worse and it is the lowest of the G8 countries. It is getting worse too. The Forestry Commission recently reported that 13,500 hectares of forest cover were lost between 1990 and 2010 with planting in England having fallen by 12.5% a year since 2000. There were only around 700 hectares of woodland planted in 2016, the lowest level in 16 years. The problem is not just national, every year between 46 and 58 thousand square miles of forest are destroyed globally, that is a football pitch every two seconds.
It is very hard to over emphasise the importance of trees. Out there in the woods, there are about 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide locked away. There are billions of tons of water circulating through them and into the atmosphere regulating rainfall and helping to stabilise the soil they live in and they are home to more than 50% of the plant and animal species on the surface of the planet. And lastly, trees produce about 10% of our oxygen. If we reduce the number of trees on our planet we make it less habitable. It is as simple as that.
We know that a small company like ours isn't going to reforest the world on its own but we can help. The wood in our furniture comes from one of three sources. Reclaimed wood, generally from the building industry but plenty of others too, and Urban Timber. Urban Timber is what we call timber that has been felled (or fallen of its own accord) for other than commercial purposes. The trees are generally felled because they have reached the end of their natural life, outgrown their environment or sometimes to facilitate development. They would generally, at best be destined to be firewood, at worst, landfill. Instead we use our mobile sawmilling capability to harvest the wood so that it can become beautiful furniture. As a result its carbon is locked away for at least the life of the piece of furniture and the demand for virgin wood has been reduced. As a side effect you get a much more interesting piece of furniture than you would from a comparatively characterless 'farmed' tree and often from much more unusual species. Lastly, when very straight, graded softwood is required (for bed slats mainly) we use FSC regulated sources as their larger scale processes mean that they can produce this sort of timber more efficiently and with a lower environmental impact than we can and they, very importantly, they are committed to replanting the trees that they harvest.
We are in our first year as a Social Enterprise and don't envisage making a profit this year. When we do though, we are committed by our Articles of Association to using the majority of our profits to plant trees and contribute to reforesting. We will publish a report on an annual basis that clearly states the impact we have had, the percentage of our profits we have used for tree planting and what that has achieved.