Forest Sofa – Carbon Reduction Commitment

We understand the impact business, big or small, can have on our climate, and we are committed to doing what is needed to become Carbon Neutral.

We support the Greater Manchester plan to be Carbon Neutral by 2038, but in fact aim to be Carbon Neutral Scope 1&2 by 2026 and scope 3 by 2035.

Here is a timeline of our journey so far, and our work to date on our framework outlining plans to become Carbon Neutral by 2035:


Great Manchester Council outlined how it recommends business should be changing:

  • Install renewable energy generation at your premises and partner with community energy groups  
  • Switch to a renewable energy supplier  
  • Access energy related business support from the Growth Company  
  • Plan now for when you are next due to replace your heating system

As a result of the GM plan, Forest formerly began the journey, which started with assistance from The Growth Company. 

  The Growth Company

Over a three month period we carried out an environmental audit looking at our current; heating, lighting, waste recycling, packaging and vehicle use.  The Growth Company was able to produce calculations on our consumption and carbon emissions as well as suggesting alternative heating and lighting sources that could not only reduce our environmental impact but would also reduce our operating costs.  The report was eye opening, and the management team knew there was a considerable amount of work ahead, but a number of quick small changes could be big difference, and so the work began.


  • Lighting upgrade – We began replacing inefficient lighting in our Salford factory, this process will take 5 years to complete due to the scale and accessibility of the lighting throughout our two sites.  
  • New Heat Source – Blackburn Factory – We identified our gas use was a major contributor of Co2, and had been operating two industrial gas heaters at our Blackburn site and the age of these heaters was unknown but estimated to be 15-20 years old, and therefore likely to be highly inefficient.  From the planning following our environmental audit we were able to reduce our gas consumption in our Blackburn factory by 75% through the introduction of a wood burner, the fuel for our heating is now coming from timber offcuts generated through the normal course of manufacturing (the wooden frames that we make for our sofas).  In addition to the reduction in the use of gas, we have also reduced the waste we generate as the wood waste is now the main source of heat for the factory and staff.


  • New Heat Source – Salford Factory – Continuing to reduce our reliance of gas, we extended the ducting in our factory to better distribute heat through our premises and removed the need and use of an inefficient legacy gas blower.
  • Lighting upgrade continued in parts of the factory.


  • As a business we had an understanding of our Carbon footprint, but we were keen to learn more, and so the Managing Director, Ryan Mohieddin, completed a 7 Week Workshop – Journey to Net Zero, delivered by The Growth Company.  The workshops helped local business leaders or influencers, better understand the impact their business was having on the environment, but also importantly, how to calculate their carbon footprint, and what could be done to reduce it, or neutralise it.
  • A Net Zero plan was developed with input from a small management group consisting of senior Forest employees from a mix of operational rolls including Sales, Finance and Production, guest invitations to join the group were also issued to key stakeholders including Forest’s primary retail partner, and the Managing Directors of Forest’s four key suppliers.

Action Plan

Our plan below highlights some of the key areas we will tackle on our journey to become Net Zero, but before we could develop our plan we first needed to define what Net Zero meant to us. 

Put simply; We wish to have no negative impact on the climate, through our internal operations, and also through our consumption of materials as part of our wider value chain.

Our priority will always be to reduce emissions, and we will always do this before we consider offsetting, but as a business we must also work around a number of operational constraints such as the limitations on what we can do to our rented premises, for example roof solar panels are not currently permissible under our current building lease, so offsetting is a requirement for our medium term plan. 

Having defined our goal, we also needed to clarify what we count, and how we count it.  The Journey to Net Zero programme helped us consider the broad range of actions and activities that contribute to our total Carbon output, and once able to measure our carbon output, we were able to manage, control, reduce and report on changes.  This means including all three ‘Scopes’ of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Scope 1 – Direct emissions from sources we control, such as our vehicles and heating.
  • Scope 2 – The indirect emissions we are responsible for through our electricity consumption.
  • Scope 3 –  This will include emissions from the onward distribution of our finished goods, as well as the consumption of raw materials in the production of our goods and any waste generated by our business.

Net Zero Plan Of Action – Scope 1 and Scope 2


  • Continue lighting upgrade in both sites
  • Reduce travel between sites with the use of remote working.
  • Reduce the frequency and movement of raw materials between sites with better stock management.
  • Introduce new company wide policies to actively reduce energy consumption.


  • Replace two old commercial vehicles, with one, larger duel fuel, or fully electric vehicle.


  • Fit draft excluders / self closing doors, bay door limiters or similar devices to reduce heat loss and energy consumption.


  • Introduce Solar panels to self power the Blackburn site and remove the last use of gas in the Blackburn factory.


  • Switch to a renewable energy supply for any outstanding energy needs (current contract ends 2026)
  • Offset any remaining carbon

Net Zero Plan of Action – Scope 3

Scope 3 is the hardest to calculate as we rely on information provided by third party suppliers, and currently information on the environmental impact of a component in many cases is not provided or not known at this stage.

Our strategy to achieve Net Carbon Zero including Scope 3 starts with our basic principle:

Design To Last, Build Well, Build Quality.

We plan to extend the product life cycle and prevent our furniture from being discarded through quality of build and craftmanship.  Our current 15 year frame guarantee and selection of quality leather and fabrics ensures our products are not considered as ‘throw away purchases’.  Loose seat and back cushions can be exchanged or replaced when worn, and we commit to keeping design patterns for 25 years on all models introduced to enable future service and maintenance.    

This alone clearly won’t be enough, we have outlined a few examples of our short term, medium term and long term activities that we will undertake to minimise our Scope 3 environmental impact.

Immediate Actions:

  • Digital Pattern making and templating to reduce excess / waste fabric and leather.
  • Recycle / upcycle leather and fabrics offcuts – through sale or donation to craft makers, or through product innovation such as patchwork products, scatter cushions etc.
  • Develop supplier selection criteria model for purchasing consideration and work with existing suppliers to gather carbon Co2 information on their products.
  • Trial and test alternative materials to replace any high carbon components identified in the current supply chain.

Medium Term:

  • Adopt a new ERP system, reducing print and paper consumption through the use of bar code scanning.
  • Replace components as identified in the trial and testing stage.
  • Review packaging and move to cyclical process of package, return, reuse.

Long Term:

  • New premises with self generating electricity through solar, and multifuel heat source to adequate heat and power the entire site from waste by-products in the frame making process.
  • Develop a policy to accept back old / used Forest Sofa furniture, which would be repaired / reupholstered and then re-sold, reducing the number of new units manufactured, with a target of 25% of all output being from fully recycled / upcycled returned orders.
  • Remove poor performing suppliers and customers, from the supply chain.

Our investment Strategy

With the support of the East Lancs Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Low Carbon Grant offer, we were able to partially fund the replacement of our primary gas heating system in our Blackburn factory with a wood burner which has reduced our waste generation and massively reduced our gas consumption.  This was introduced in 2020 and has a payback period of 3 years allowing for a period of closure due to Covid.

Our waste reduction and technological advances have continued through the digitization of our product patterns and this has resulted in considerable fabric and leather reductions in material requirements and therefore waste.  We partnered with Lectra, Europe’s leading fabric cutting tec specialists and in 2021 began the tedious process of digitizing all 10,000 products and SKU’s.  This will be an ongoing process for all new developments, but we expect it to take to 12-18 months to back catalogue existing products.  The initial investment of £40,000 was part funded through The Growth Company, and with annual fabric savings we anticipate a 2 year payback net of funding or 4 year full cost payback. First quarter 2022 shows a fabric annual saving estimate for digitised products to date to be: £3,200 and covers under 25% of the product range.