The Climate Emergency: Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Bereavement Services – Greening Cremation Part 1

29 March 2021

Commercial News Item

Imagine taking a subject most people don’t want to talk about – death – and pairing it with a subject many people know little about – climate change. That’s the conundrum facing the death care profession as this century advances. To that end, OpusXenta is working with the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA) to produce an educational webinar series to help identify, develop, and implement green agendas within this sector. Register for our April webinar here.

The health of the planet is top of mind, but so too is the solvency of funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries amid this global challenge. Even if citizens of the world are aware of climate change, many may not realise that funerals, burials, and cremations add to that environmental impact.

That is why in times of crisis, the bereavement services profession has the opportunity to respond by trailblazing solutions. It is a simple premise. Everything impacts the environment…even death. To that end, the Environmental Stewardship Group (ESG) was formed in late 2020 in response to climate emergency declarations and the recognition that the bereavement sector has a substantial part to play.

As part of a bigger global picture, the goal of the Paris Agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).

Those levels would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. One of the main ways of doing this is by reducing emissions, some of which come from cremations.

Recently published targets on reducing carbon (CO2) and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions paint a grim picture, especially with an astronomical increase in the number of cremations. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that if nothing were done to offset the carbon emissions from cremation, 1 million trees a year would need to be planted to offset the impact. And NOx emissions—harmful to both humans and ecosystems—from cremations in the UK generate the equivalent of a car’s emissions traveling 43,000 times around the planet. With the number of cremations in the US almost triple the UK (based on 2019 statistics), those numbers are even more staggering.

OpusXenta and the FBCA are proud to be running their webinar series focusing on the way bereavement services can reduce our carbon footprint and make death care processes more environmentally friendly. The first two webinars have painted a picture of the significant challenge’s our bereavement sector is facing to keep up with the rapidly evolving environmental agenda we are all facing. Whilst we may work in a sector which is underpinned by tradition that does not mean it is immune to change. In fact, the sector is continually evolving as we have seen through the introduction of cremation as the primary means of disposal in a single generation, the introduction live streaming services and direct cremations.

In the last two webinars we take the opportunity to provide some of our key sector suppliers with a platform to share some thoughts on their products and the environment.

As cremation is the predominant means of disposal in the UK, we will focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the bereavement sector – Greening Cremation. The third webinar considers the environmental implications for gas cremation, looks at Resomation as a green alternative and examines where coffins fit into reducing emissions.

Be part of the solutionJoin the next webinar on 14th April with OpusXenta and the FBCA, here.


*Commercial news content is written and provided by the supplier. The publishing of this piece does not imply endorsement or recommendation by SLCC for goods or services*

Commercial News