Sworders is committed to having a positive social and environmental impact, and we recognise the important role our industry has to play in the global objective to urgently tackle the impact of climate change. We must all take responsibility for our actions in the world’s transition to a ‘net zero’ future.
As auctioneers, we naturally support the global objective to reduce waste and the impact of landfill by passing unwanted items to new owners who will treasure them. However, we also know that many of our current business practices contribute heavily to our carbon footprint.
That is why we are investing in our infrastructure and workforce to actively reduce our carbon impact.
Learn more about our sustainability programme below, or follow the links here to jump to relevant sections
The very building that is home to our Head Office and auction rooms was specifically designed and built with sustainability in mind.
Its timber frame was sourced from sustainably managed forests in Scandinavia and filled with tightly packed, locally sourced straw bales, all compressed under a cedar-shingle roof - the production of this timber for building purposes generates fewer greenhouse gases, and minimal water and air pollution.
At the time of opening in 2008, it was the largest straw bale building in Europe, winning us an award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
CO2 released into the atmosphere is the dominant greenhouse gas that is responsible for global warming, making up 81% of the total impact on climate change. So our carbon emissions tell us our impact on the environment.
Sworders has partnered with Carbon Footprint Ltd, an award-winning independent emissions auditor, to collate and analyse data on our business activities across each of our sites and storage facilities, for a baseline year of 2021.
This assessment will help us benchmark to set ourselves targets for improvements over the coming months and years to reduce our environmental impact.
We have completed an initial greenhouse gas assessment (full scope 1 & 2 emissions and partial scope 3) in accordance with Part 1 of ISO 14064: 2018 – which sets the international standard for the requirements of reporting for organisations. The assessment looked specifically at the following activities -
We will revisit our full Scope 3 emissions in the near future to analyse the emissions generated through our procurement of products and services (for example, our use of the Royal Mail postal service to mail our catalogues and brochures).
Sworders is now a Carbon Assessed Organisation and we have been given our annual emissions as follows:
Our 2021 emissions equate to -
This works out at 13.7 tonnes per employee
Or, 12.2 tonnes per auction
Our most significant emission source at 74% is van travel and distribution. This will become an urgent priority for us to review in the coming months.
Outsourced air freight for our Delivery Service contributed 20% of our emissions.
As part of our pledge to reduce our carbon emissions, we will be looking to review how and where we store lots, to minimise the movement of consignments wherever possible and to provide clients with more options to help them make more sustainable choices when it comes to carriage.
Buying a pre-loved, antique, or vintage item not only provides you with unique style and value for money but it also goes a long way to reducing landfill, and the annual emissions of an antique or vintage piece can be as little as one sixteenth of those of its new equivalent!
Sworders is proud to be partnering with Antiques are Green - the movement that was founded in 2009 to promote “a greener future created from the past”. Read their fascinating carbon footprint study of a Georgian chest of drawers versus a modern equivalent here
You can show your support for the movement by posting pictures of your auction purchases in their new homes on Instagram tagging @swordersfineart and @antiquesaregreen with the hashtag #antiquesaregreen. Have you found yourself a bargain to be repurposed/upcycled? We'd love to hear about your projects!
For more information about the work of Antiques are Green, please visit -
Reduce, reuse, recycle. We must all do our bit to cut down on the volume of waste that unnecessarily goes to landfill each year.
Since the launch of our sustainability programme in the summer of 2021, Sworders has enhanced its recycling practices, aided by clearer waste segregation around its offices and sites, to divert over 1500 kg of waste away from landfill to be recycled each week. This will prevent over 78 tonnes of waste from going to landfill each year.
We now recycle an average of 4.25 tonnes of waste from across each of our sites on a weekly basis.
Our auction catalogues and brochures are all printed on sustainably sourced FSC certified paper using vegetable based inks, and you will now find a ClimatePartner logo with a QR code printed within the catalogue which, when scanned, provides information on our support of various innovative carbon offset schemes.
For the production of our catalogues and brochures in 2022 to date, we have offset a total of 1.4 tonnes of CO2 in support of an international clean oceans plastic recovery scheme and 2.3 tonnes of CO2 in support of a local UK afforestation project. That’s 3.7 tonnes of CO2 off-set to date, the equivalent of a return flight from London to Hong Kong, economy class.
Here at Sworders we are committed to having a positive social and environmental impact and we recognise that our staff have an important role to play in responding to the urgent challenge of climate change.
Despite less than 1 in 5 of the world’s population ever having stepped inside a plane, flying is the fastest growing contributor to climate change globally.
That is why we are now proud to be a Climate Perks accredited employer.
Climate Perks is an employee benefits scheme that enables us to demonstrate climate leadership by supporting our staff to make lower carbon travel choices when taking leisure trips.
We now offer up to two additional paid “journey days” on top of standard annual leave to staff who elect to travel via land or sea as opposed to flying when travelling abroad.