Pedal to Net-positive

News  |  Sep 01, 2022  |  Tim Goodall
Sustainable future image

We’re joining the charge on environmental culpability and releasing our first Impact Report.

We have led the way in human-centred bicycle design since 2006 and are now also joining the charge on environmental culpability by releasing our 2022 Impact Report.

Read the full report here
How did it all start?

Seven years ago, our founder Isla Rowntree was travelling home from a sustainable manufacturing conference when she began imagining how her business could make and supply bicycles to families in a more sustainable manner. Thus, the aptly titled “The Imagine Project” was created to ensure that Islabikes could operate in a way that’s viable for the future and addresses our negative impacts on the environment in the face of climate crisis. Since then, we’ve taken more and more steps to address immediate sustainability-related responsibilities and take action in areas where a rapid impact can be made. While we have a relatively low environmental impact, and bicycles can promote more environmentally sustainable behaviour, that does not absolve us of culpability.

What’s the current state of play?

Now, we’ve released our 2022 Impact Report to analyse our emissions, supply chains and future commitments to further understand where to focus our efforts. We also aim to encourage others in the cycling industry to better understand their environmental impact and encourage individuals to make more environmentally sustainable transport decisions. We’ve shared what we know about our supply chain and environmental impact so far. When analysing the supply chains of various bicycles, the primary outcomes we found were:

  • Rothan 14 (balance bike) – The materials and transport involved in making a Rothan 14 are responsible for more than 35kg CO2e alone
  • Cnoc 16 (first pedal bike) – The materials and transport involved in making a Cnoc 16 are responsible for more than 51.8kg of CO2e alone
  • Beinn 26 (multi-purpose bike) – The materials and transport involved in making a Beinn 26 are responsible for more than 79.8kg CO2e alone.

To continue forward progress, we’re committed to lobbying for change amongst our supply chain, sunsetting UK suppliers not achieving their net-zero Scope 1 & 2 emissions, and any Asian suppliers not disclosing their emissions - we will provide resources to help support the transition if suppliers don’t know how.

How will Islabikes move forward?

We have less than eight years to make significant and demonstrable reductions to our carbon emissions, and subsequently we’ve pledged to cut all emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to our 2020/21 baseline. This aligns with the Shift Cycling Culture's Climate Commitment which we’ve signed. We’ve identified a range of initiatives to help us achieve our targets, including but not limited to, open collaboration, sunsetting, reviewing material consumption, responsible transport, localisation and using the eco-cost methodology to inform business decisions. As it pertains to UK operations, a list of objectives has also been formalised:

  • Waste disposal – Remove all single-use plastics from the packaging and phase out suppliers still using them (already in progress)
  • Business travel – No airfreighting of goods, to use public transport where possible, stop flights within the UK or EU and work with factories remotely to limit trips to Asia
  • Electricity – Explore options for 100% renewable energy – currently it’s 32%.