How Crystal Doors unlocked the key to sustainability success

Powering his Rochdale factory with SSE Energy Solutions’ 100% renewable electricity is Richard Hagan’s latest step towards net zero

Net Hero Podcast

As well as being the founder and Managing Director of manufacturing business Crystal Doors, Richard Hagan is a passionate environmentalist. Under his direction, Crystal Doors has become a national leader in sustainable manufacturing.

Ever since the company’s first carbon footprint assessment in 2015, Richard has been committed to reducing their emissions and inspiring others to do the same. Among an array of other sustainable technologies and initiatives, the Crystal Doors factory is powered with the SSE Next Generation tariff, which provides 100% renewable electricity traced to one of SSE’s UK wind farms.

“Switching to renewable energy reduced our company’s overall carbon footprint by 30%,” says Richard.

 

Key facts

Operations: Manufacturing

No. of employees: 31

The challenge: Crystal Doors is a manufacturing business with a large and diverse customer base. They supply bespoke vinyl wrapped doors to the public and private sector. Their factory uses a lot of energy to power their heavy machinery and specialist equipment.

The solution: 100% renewable energy with an SSE Next Generation tariff, which means Crystal Doors’ energy is traced back to Tangy windfarm. This tariff improves Crystal Doors’ already impressive green credentials and means they can report zero carbon emissions for electricity.

After being introduced to SSE Energy Solutions through a partnership with Zellar, an online sustainability platform for small businesses, Richard says he’ll never look back.

“I wanted to work with SSE Energy Solutions after researching just how much they invest into renewable energy and the way they help companies get to net zero. In my opinion, SSE’s Next Generation tariff is the best product on the market,” says Richard, who was recently awarded UK Sustainable Leader of the Year.

Switching to 100% renewable energy made the biggest impact on Crystal Doors’ carbon footprint. When the company moved to a renewable tariff, their overall carbon emissions reduced by 30%. And while this tariff plays a key role in their environmental profile, Crystal Doors understand that being a fully sustainable business extends beyond renewable energy.

“Sustainability isn’t about just one thing. It’s about the way we all live our lives. In business, sustainability is about saving money and the planet.”

Richard and the team at Crystal Doors have been working hard to make sure every aspect of their business is as kind to the planet as possible. From the 960kW biomass burner which heats the factory through their own waste, to the 640 solar panels on the roof, to the two electric cars and three EV charging points, it’s easy to understand why the small business has won so many sustainability awards.

Over the years, Crystal Doors has won 14 green business awards, including the prestigious Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development. They’re currently viewed as the number one sustainable small business in the UK, but Richard is eager to have some competition for the top spot. He’s now focusing more of his attention to inspiring and encouraging other businesses to join Crystal Doors in the race to net zero.

The green entrepreneur thinks: “In 2022, it costs more for businesses not to be involved in sustainability.” Especially now that it’s not just customers who expect small businesses to do their bit. Large organisations are demanding sustainability from their SME suppliers, so they can report on that and lower their own Scope 3 emissions.

When other small businesses approach Richard for sustainability advice, the business leader always tells them the same thing. Regardless of the industry or sector they’re in, Richard thinks every business should just pick a year they want to reach net zero, then carry out a basic carbon footprint calculation to understand their business’s emissions. When the business then has a good understanding of their hot spots, they should reach out to organisations like SSE Energy Solutions for more specific and bespoke advice.

Richard believes that reaching out to partners and joining the right networks made the biggest difference in his business and really elevated Crystal Doors’ sustainability journey. “Once people start their sustainable journey, there’s no going back. You’ll just start feeling so passionate and excited about it. And with a company like Zellar and their small business sustainability platform, you’ll be part of a small business community where everyone’s really encouraging and keen to share ideas.”

If you’ve been inspired by Richard and the Crystal Doors story and want to become a more sustainable business, visit SSE Energy Solutions’ small business hub for tips and advice.

To find out about renewable energy and other support for your business, get in touch with SSE Energy Solutions.