BEAMZ CIC - SUSTAINABLY ENGINEERED BICYCLES
BEAMZ CIC is a social enterprise – a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC) based in Southampton that uses locally grown coppice woodland poles to create high performance bicycles whilst achieving objectives of energy sustainability, wildlife diversity and social sustainability. They are receiving support from Making Local Woods Work; below is more information about what they create, and their aims as a woodland social enterprise.
“BEAMZ Bikes are made from hollowed coppiced wood poles that are lightweight, shock absorbing and as strong as steel, aluminum or carbon fibre. Unlike metal bikes, the Beamz Bikes are carbon negative and oxygen positive; not only have they already absorbed some 1.5 KG of CO2 from the atmosphere, they have also breathed 1.07KG oxygen and additional water vapour. The frame joints are reinforced with hemp fibre impregnated with bio-derived resins. Beamz Bikes are extremely eco friendly and the coppice wood harvesting process, an ancient form of woodland management, enhances wildlife biodiversity.
“Freed from the stifling obligation of the duty to maximise profit, we are able to concentrate instead on the more important issues we are so passionate about. Of course, we still have to ensure the viability of the company, but each decision or policy is considered in the light of the effect on the environment, wildlife diversity and the welfare of people, whether that be the people who trade with us, people who work with us or the general population.
“Globalisation promised us all greater prosperity and for a few people this has worked out very well indeed. However one side effect has been a hollowing out of the jobs market. Jobs which involve making things have been largely exported to low wage countries. The argument is that this makes low cost goods available to us but most of the benefit is diverted to higher executive bonuses and profits for the shareholders. People have been making things for thousands of years. It is a very satisfying process, and depriving people of this opportunity by substituting paperwork, customer service or call centre jobs is having an unnecessarily negative impact on quality of life and wellbeing, with a shocking one in four of us seeking treatment for mental health issues.
“Imagine a company where craftspeople worked with natural materials to build beautiful, high performance products. They would be working free of the anxiety that in earning their living and providing for their families, they were damaging the planet. We believe that this kind of work would provide them with better wellbeing and a happier life.
By the nature of the materials and process, each product would be entirely unique. It would carry the mark of the craftspeople who made it and would be supplied with a “passport” logging the journey of all the material, work and energy which went into it. The customer would know that a good proportion of the purchase price would be going to support the craftspeople, the environment and wildlife diversity. We believe that there are many consumers for whom this would be a welcome change to the typical, exceptionally brief and much more common ‘Made in China’ labels.
“BEAMZ believes that we cannot go on living in a way which is environmentally and socially unsustainable.”
For more information about BEAMZ, visit http://www.beamz.org.uk/