A Sustainable Future for Funeral Directors

In recent months many funeral businesses, for good reason, have been focusing on the introduction of CMA regulated pricing. In the meantime, the global pandemic has continued to present ongoing challenges. In the midst we have growing concerns over global warming as highlighted by the recent 2021 COP26 event prompting us to consider a Sustainable Future for Funeral Directors.

In this article we will look at the ‘green’ business landscape and how business can be part of the sustainable solution as opposed to the being the problem and how positive action can enhance brands and PR. Links to further reading are included.

The aim of this article is not to provide a definitive guide to building sustainability into your business model but rather to provide ideas and stimulate feedback. Many funeral businesses are already ahead of the game concerning sustainability and I look forward to hearing about and learning from them.

I recently attended a marketing conference where Deborah Meaden was the keynote speaker https://atomic.site/atomicon/, the most telling feature of her talk was a Q & A session where she was asked about her investment approach. It’s no secret, from now on she is committed to investing in sustainable businesses. Find out more here:

So what can we as individuals and businesses do to make a difference?

We can search for and take positives wherever we find them, forward thinking and positive action can help us all to feel empowered against climate change whilst protecting our brand and future business security.

Whatever our personal feelings about climate change and our ability to make an impact, we can no longer ignore the growing sentiments of consumers to make purchases based upon environmental matters.

Recognising consumer trends and shaping a business to meet those is a smart future proof strategy.

The following statistic from the Sage blog explains current consumer motivation:

More than a third of shoppers have knowingly paid more for green products since the pandemic struck, and 51% think the eco credentials of a product are now just as important as the price they pay for it, according to Circular Online.

An Accenture report also found that customer motivations had shifted during the pandemic, emphasising that purchasing behaviour once considered ‘peripheral# has now entered the mainstream.

Full Article

Environmentally Friendly Coffins

This type of coffin is now an established choice and the market in the UK is well served with a range of products and suppliers. A growing number of families will now search Google for a specific type of funeral or coffin, if you discuss such topics and services on your website and social media you increase your chances of being found online and of ultimately being the funeral director of choice. We discuss this topic in more detail in this article.

Typical options are:

  • Bamboo Coffins
  • Banana Leaf Coffins
  • Cardboard Coffins
  • Seagrass Coffins
  • Wicker Coffins
  • Wool Coffins

Here are some suppliers, please get in touch if you would like to include links to other suppliers:

e-Coffins

JC Atkinson

Somerset Willows

Eco-friendly funeral options

  • A natural or green burial in a memorial ground or cemetery
  • A natural or green burial in a woodland
  • A natural or green burial in your home or private land

Vehicles/Transport – Electric Vehicle Sales Soar in 2021

More electric cars were registered in 2021 than in the previous five years combined, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59887024

Although there is higher initial purchase cost of electric vehicles running costs are much lower than internal combustion engine vehicles. Infrastructure is also growing at a rapid rate with more charging stations coming on stream every month. Costs of fuelling, whether at home, office or on the road are substantially lower than petrol/diesel and very little maintenance is required for an electric vehicle resulting in an economical proposition. (Electric vehicles have far fewer moving parts compared to petrol/diesel alternatives)

Tony Seba, a renowned Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Disruption and Clean Energy at Stanford University is quoted on the green energy website Clean Technica.

Technology disruptions already underway in the energy, transportation, and food sectors have extraordinary implications for climate change. These three disruptions alone, driven by just eight technologies, can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide within 15 years

Clean Technica – Tony Seba

Gridserve

Electric Hearse

Coleman Milne

Details of any other UK based manufacturers would be of interest.

Coleman Milne unveils new all-electric premium hearse for the UK

Prince Philip’s Electric Land Rover

Prince Philip’s “eco-funeral” to feature electric Land Rover

Coming Soon – Vehicle to Grid

The technology often referred to as “vehicle-to-grid” will enable a vehicle battery to store electricity generated by on site solar to return electricity to the national grid. Significant savings are also possible by charging a battery at off peak rates, potentially 25% of the peak rate, via renewable energy companies specialising in sustainable energy.

VW will switch to mass-producing electric vehicles with bidirectional charging next year

Car Sharing for funerals and more

https://liftshare.com/uk

Solar and Wind Renewables – Choose a Renewable Focused Electricity Supplier

‘The contribution made by renewables to UK power generation has more than doubled since 2014. Renewables (mainly wind, solar, biomass, hydro) accounted for 43% of the UK’s 312 TWh of domestic power generation in 2020. ‘

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/energy-transition/100421-uk-targets-power-from-100-renewable-sources-by-2035

Tree Planting for Business

Many businesses are embracing the movement of paying for the planting trees from revenue, this can be done at low cost whilst establishing a strong brand commitment towards sustainability.

Tree Planting

How much does it cost to plant a tree? The National Trust suggest a minimum donation of £5 as this is what it costs to plant one new sapling. No matter what the size of your gift, your donation to our plant a tree fund will help create beautiful green spaces for people and wildlife to thrive.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/plant-a-tree

Carbon Offsetting

Calculate and offset your carbon footprint through a monthly subscription.

https://www.wren.co/

 

Volunteering as a Commitment to Your Community and Environment

Starting an employee volunteer programme can be done with Neighbourly, you can create programmes of any size; year-round or as a one-off campaign; delivered remotely or face-to-face.

https://www.neighbourly.com/

A Sustainable Future for Funeral Directors – Green Credentials as a Key Part of Your Messaging

Funeral businesses who embrace green initiatives and proactively promote sustainability as a key aspect of their branding can establish an incredibly positive image. Green credentials can become a key part of your messaging at every touch point including your company brand image, website content, social media conversations, print and premises.