“When John Smedley 2nd (1803-1874) assumed responsibility for running his father’s factory, Lea Mills, in 1825 the idea that his activities, and the activities of other industrialists, were having a negative impact on the environment was not a consideration.
When my Grandfather was born in 1901 (see the Figure above), the global population was 1.6 billion people, we emitted 2 billion tons of CO2 each year, and the average planetary temperature was hovering around the historic mean. Should I be blessed with a Granddaughter of my own, she may be born on or around 2033. At that time, the global population will be c.8.5 billion people, we don’t know how many tons of CO2 we will be emitting, and the average planetary temperature could be rising beyond 1.5 degrees C above the historic mean. While there are of course many positive legacies resulting from industrialisation, the relentlessly rising emissions of CO2 and the unintended consequences of this will be our greatest negative legacy. The UN Climate Change Commission is telling us that the planet is on fire, and they are right. We need to put that fire out fast.
I entered the workforce in 1990. The Figure 2.18 above (from the UN’s Global Environmental Outlook 6th edition) shows that my entire business career, and that of my generation, has been to both create and manage our way through economic globalisation. Since 1990, China’s CO2 emissions have grown from 2.4 Giga Tons emitted each year, to over 12 Giga Tons today. This massive industrialisation and modernisation process has been paralleled by de-industrialisation in the West.
When my daughter enters the work force in 2023, her and her generation’s challenge will be entirely different to mine. The Figure 2.19 above (also from the UN) shows that if her generation are to stand a chance of limiting global warming, then they will need to bring global CO2 emissions down to zero within less than a 15 year period.
It is mind boggling to consider the scale, scope and speed of this challenge. It is almost incomprehensible how much collective effort will be required to make it succeed. To give them a chance, we cannot delay in playing our part in this critical task. We have to act now.”
- Ian Maclean, Managing Director, July 2019
Our Local Spring Water
The water we use to create John Smedley knitwear comes from three underground springs that rise from the millstone grit of the Derbyshire Peak District National Park...
The Rumour Mill
This film is not just about energy, it is also about community, living life to the full, British manufacturing and most of all coming together to talk about and bring about change...
Our Recyclable Packaging
When our garments are despatched to our customers in-store and online we feel it is imperative that they are presented in the most exclusive manner, to complete the John Smedley shopping experience...