BioRegional Charcoal Company
The loss of natural forests around the world is a major environmental concern while here in the UK, many of our traditional woodlands lie neglected because there is little economic incentive to maintain them. The UK imports over 90% of its barbecue charcoal and so in 1995, BioRegional developed a new approach to local production of wood products in the UK and set up BioRegional Charcoal Company Ltd (BRCC).
BioRegional’s network production model involves the central coordination of a group of producers that allows them to act as a single supplier. The network supplies high quality charcoal, firewood and kindling to major retailers using the most local producer to each store.
The concept of establishing a network of wood workers to access national retail markets was suggested by BioRegional Development Group in the early 1990s working with the British Charcoal Group. This collaboration resulted in a contract to supply B&Q and the formation of BioRegional Charcoal Company (BRCC) in 1995.
BRCC currently has a supplier base of around 25 producers and sells on average 300 tonnes of charcoal per annum. In the last few years it extended its product range to include firewood and kindling, and is now selling approximately 1,400 and 135 tonnes per annum, respectively. The company has proved that it is technically possible to coordinate a successful supplier network of local producers and develop a domestic income stream that supports woodland communities.
BioRegional has also calculated that the CO2 emissions generated from the transport of charcoal from producer to store can be reduced by as much as 85% where local charcoal replaces imported. BRCC’s network of woodland workers across the UK, use wood feedstock from local coppice woodland and thinnings. The wood used is independently certified by The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent body that monitors internationally agreed standards for sustainable forestry management.
Today many conservation groups in the UK are promoting traditional coppice woodland – a sustainable forest management system carried out for millennia in Britain. It involves the regular cutting of timber from stumps (or stools) which then grow again. They are re-cut every 7 to 20 years, depending on the tree species and use for the coppice. Coppicing creates a complex pattern of woodland of different ages and varying amounts of light and shade. A great variety of wildlife flourishes in coppiced areas including many of the UK’s most endangered species, for example the pearl bordered fritillary (the UK’s fastest declining butterfly species), wood white butterfly, sable and argent moth, nightingale and dormouse. As the area of woodland being coppiced has declined over the last 60 years so have the populations of these and other woodland wildlife.
Butterflies need our help and buying HomeGrown Charcoal from BioRegional is a great way to BBQ whilst boosting local butterfly numbers. Butterflies and other wildlife thrive on active woodland management so your choice in charcoal can make a real difference to conservation.
- Dr Martin Warren
- Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation
- BioRegional Charcoal, New York Earth Summit
- 24th June 1997
- In 1997, BioRegional Charcoal Company was chosen as one of the eight e...