Wood for Good delivers powerful message with its Build With Carbon: Don't Emit It! campaign

A series of videos communicates the increased use of timber in construction as a crucial way of making the UK more sustainable.

Commended in the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015

The background

Wood for Good, the timber industry’s sustainability campaign, launched its Build with Carbon: Don’t Emit It! campaign in September last year to communicate the increased use of timber in construction as a crucial way of making the UK more sustainable.

The campaign was a natural progression from the launch of Wood for Good’s Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) database, which includes detail on every aspect of the life-cycle of timber products. Its research showed that all timber products have a beneficial carbon footprint – they absorb and store more CO2 than they emit in the supply chain.

Over the course of 40 years a typical tree in the UK will have sequestered 742 kg of CO2. Over the same period a hectare of forest would store 483 tonnes of CO2. The management of commercial forestry, and the cyclical process of harvesting timber and planting more trees – leading to a continual storage of CO2.

What did we do

The campaign delivered an impactful core message: by embracing timber-frame construction in the delivery of new-build homes, the UK could capture and store nearly 4 million tonnes of CO2 every year if annual housing targets were met. The decision to partner with Carbon Visuals was critical in delivering an effective campaign, enabling Wood for Good to go way beyond normal corporate animation to deliver this powerful message.

A series of videos were produced using Carbon Visuals unique volumetric approach to bring to life the quality research gathered by Wood for Good. Each video contained an underlying positive narrative with engaging visuals illustrating how CO2 is captured by trees and stored thereafter in wood products. This combined scientifically accurate data with key campaign messages in an exciting way.

The resulting videos enable people to really understand the information and the potential for timber based carbon capture in UK construction industry.

The result

The videos were publicised across construction, environment and timber trade press – with news and opinion article in print and online publications with a combined reach of 282,579 readers and an equivalent advertising value approaching £20,000. Similarly the response via social media saw the Build with Carbon videos tweeted from profiles with a combined follower-base of over 60,000.

Dave Hopkins, Wood for Good’s Head of External Affairs, also took the videos to decision makers at numerous architectural seminars, conferences at Westminster, and briefings in Brussels for European Commissioners.

The videos saw an excellent response both in the timber industries and in adjacent sectors like construction and housing. In addition to being an easily accessible format for those outside of the industry to understand, they also were a key example of how data from the Lifecycle Assessment database can be used to map out large scale construction projects to deliver new developments sustainably.

The personal pitch

The UK government has started to make investments from the a £1 billion pot it has set aside to fund Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects in an effort to lock-away CO2 emissions. Wood for Good estimates that using mixed woodland forestry to capture and store the greenhouse gas costs roughly £25-30 per tonne of CO2. While the development of new green technology should always be welcome, wood’s role has significant merit as a cheaper tactic in meeting the UK’s climate change objectives.

We are delighted that this creative campaign conveyed so clearly and beautifully the significant benefit of using timber in construction. It is exciting to see those inside and outside the industry responding to the campaign and we expect to see a significant carbon benefit ensuing for the UK as a result.

Suppliers, contractors and solutions providers used

Antony Turner, CEO at Carbon Visuals

Links to relevant supporting materials

Chapter 1: The tree story:

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrGBNP5xqHg

Chapter 2: The hectare story:

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AA8B73Zgbk

Chapter 3: The house story:

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvXA-eEGwYM

Follow the tree - Client Discussion:

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLyXN6f102I

This article forms Citypress's submission into the External Communications category of the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015 on behalf of Wood for Good. It was written and submitted by Christopher Olley, senior account executive, Citypress.