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81k tonnes of CO2 released from cremations in 2020, reveals report

The report revealed that clarification is required to provide a ‘more focused’ approach on how to improve sustainability in the bereavement secor.

A recent report by the Environmental Stewardship Group (ESG) revealed that 81,406 tonnes of carbon emissions were released from cremations in 2020, along with 6079 tonnes of embodied carbon having been used in granite headstones. 

The report also revealed that three million single-use plastic coffin handles were used in the bereavement sector, and that over 80% of cremators run on natural gas.

ESG’s report looks at the increasing environmental awareness of early sustainable churchyard burials and current funerals to increase collaboration and sustainability across the bereavement sector.

It identified that improved legislation was key to unlocking an array of improvements, and that to move forward, it was “essential” for the sector to identify where it currently stands in relation to the environment.

The report said that clarification is required to provide a “more focused approach” on how to improve sustainability in the sector, and improved communication would be required for the ESG to represent all within the sector, including the government, owner operators, funeral directors and suppliers.

Additionally, it revealed that the biggest challenges faced by funeral directors are environmental legislation, environmental focus, regulatory changes, public private expectations, new site remediation, paper proliferation, greenwashing issues, and increased competition.

Meanwhile, the biggest challenges for suppliers include data requests, conflicting advice, legislation changes, end user increased costs, clarity of expectations, raw material supply, consumer pressure, and import costs.

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