We launched Frog Bikes in 2013 with the intention of reforming the thinking behind children’s bike design, so that every one of our models would meet the specific needs and wants of children.
Frog Bikes is part of the Cardiff Schools Bike Fleet Scheme, which over 80 schools applied for. Schools who apply can get a fleet of Frog Bikes bikes for their school, along with helmets, National Standard Cycle Training. Phase 1 of the project was complete in March 2021, with nearly 30 primary school staff being trained to give balance bike lessons. The project enables children to cycle, prepares them to do so safely through training, and encourages them to travel by bike. Teachers have also noticed an improvement to wellbeing and fitness of pupils who have taken part.
We have worked with a number of partners on projects like this, and actively promote cycling, sustainable travel, connecting with nature and living a sustainable lifestyle.
We knew from the start that we were going to be a company that cared about protecting the planet. With this in mind, we created a business model that not only designs and develops products that are more sustainable, but one which strives to identify and support other projects that help minimise the environmental impact of our operations.
We have always been committed to generating less tyre waste, providing accessible spare parts, reducing plastic in pedals, designing wheels with fewer spokes, working with like-minded suppliers, using the sea (rather than air) for our shipments, sourcing local products where possible, being considerate in terms of packaging and focusing heavily on recycling throughout our processes.
Despite these commitments, we are also mindful that while the use of bikes is inherently very environmentally friendly, unfortunately, the way that bikes are made and shipped around the world generates far too many emissions. This was something that didn’t sit well with us so in the autumn of 2020, we took our investment in the environment a step further with the launch of a decarbonisation project to help us curb our waste and carbon footprint through an assessment of all our ecological measures.
With the help of Welsh Government funding for a decarbonisation project manager for 12 months, the decarbonisation project has enabled us to find ways to extend the useful life of our bicycles and their components and bring the best practices of the circular economy to our supply chain. This includes increasing the number of uses for each bicycle, reusing and remanufacturing components to extend their life, and ultimately recycling materials when each bike reaches the end of its useful life. The changes will deliver substantial carbon savings by using fewer new materials (especially aluminium) within the supply chain, and by reducing the distance that materials are shipped around the globe.
Our main piece of advice would be, just get started – it might feel like a monumental task, but you have to start somewhere. The biggest emissions will come from the most complex areas of your operation and that can be off-putting. It’s these big issues that will take longer to address and so it’s important not to delay. Looking back, I wish we had started 10 years earlier! Start measuring your impact on the environment now through the various online resources that are freely available. Industry can’t just be comfortable with doing things like using low-energy light bulbs and recycling – the reality is that’s just not enough.
Get your team involved – most people want to help and can often be frustrated because they don’t know where to start. At home they may be doing their bit to help the environment, but they can make a much greater impact at work. We found that people are crying out to help and welcomed being involved.
Collaboration is key. Different sectors bring different things to the table so it’s good to reach out. You’ll also find that even those in the same sector are keen to share. This isn’t about market advantage, it’s about something much bigger. We’re all in this together and have found that when it comes to protecting the environment, companies are more than willing to share what they’ve learnt and to work together.
Lastly, we found the SME Climate Hub to be a really useful resource, which supports small and medium sized businesses to curb carbon emissions so that they can increase competitiveness and build business resilience. They helped us and could help you too.
In an ideal world, we would never see a bike consigned to landfill but because bikes are made from so many different materials, we really aren’t there yet as an industry and so they tend to be scrapped rather than recovered. At Frog Bikes, we believe that the old way of doing things based on a “take-make-waste” cannot continue and that underpins our determination to do whatever we can to use precious resources in an environmentally sensitive way.
We also measure participation levels including the number of children we work with in schools.