Corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility

Responsible investment is an important aspect of our investment culture and we support 13 of the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ on all development projects and ongoing operations across the portfolio.  We have implemented processes to limit our environmental impact and contribute positively to the communities in which we invest.  We want to use our expertise in development and operations, combined with our inclusive and diverse culture, to lead the alternative investment sector into having a positive, meaningful impact. 

All aspects of the Bereavement Services sector can have an impact on the environment, affecting air, water and soil quality as well as the biodiversity of flora and fauna. The Darwin Bereavement Services Fund owns or advises on a number of real assets within the sector and we adopt a practical approach to sustainability.


Electric Cremators

The bereavement services sector can have a significant impact on the environment, particularly cremation. Approximately 115,150 tonnes of carbon are released each year through cremations in the UK.  A single gas cremation has roughly the same domestic energy demands that one person would consume in a month, producing 245kg of CO2. 

Electric cremators have been designed to reduce the environmental impact of cremations on the environment and produce 90% less carbon emissions than the standard gas cremator.  This is equivalent to a 1,276 mile journey for a typical car but an electric cremation can reduce this to just 24.5kg of CO2, or 127.6 miles. 
Memoria has spearheaded the drive to reduce carbon emissions by installing the UK’s first electric cremator at its North Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park. In line with Darwin’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, all new cremators in the portfolio will be fitted with electric cremators (or the most environmentally sound alternative), and a timeframe has been put in place to replace all existing cremators with electric after approximately 15 years of service.

We anticipate completing this roll out in the existing portfolio by 2034 which would save around 28,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by 2050, equivalent to approximately 69.4 million miles driven by a family car. 

Community Support

Each of the Memoria sites offers bereavement support to their local communities through open-days. These themed days are held in conjunction with partners such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie to assist bereaved families and friends. Memoria Group also makes use of social media in order to offer a support network and to facilitate families meeting at Memoria sites as part of a post-burial support network. The community importance of these 12 Facebook groups and 4 community groups became more prominent during the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on funeral services were in place. 
Memoria is reducing the burden of funeral costs for families by creating a very clear accessible cremation service model that shows every option for every client, affordable high-quality funerals in an unrushed and lovingly cared for environment.

Affordable Funerals was established by Memoria to offer a selection of direct low cost cremation options throughout England & Wales. They offer three quality low cost cremation options – all at affordable prices and all delivered to the highest standard with expertise that has been gained by over 87 years of funeral and cremation service experience. Affordable Funerals provide cremations and funeral plans in conjunction with the Memoria crematoria. As these facilities are part of the same business, they are able to guarantee the quality of the service and eliminate many of the costs associated with a traditional funeral. This makes Affordable Funerals one of the most cost-effective providers of funerals and cremations in England, Scotland and Wales. Their funeral packages can save customers as much as £3,372 (Source: Sun Life Cost Of Dying Report 2018) on the cost of an average funeral in the UK. 

Funeral Costs

GreenAcres Cemeteries and Ceremonial Parks

In recent years there has been a growing trend by more eco-conscious consumers towards woodland and natural burials.  Totally environmentally friendly funerals, including woodland burials, comprise nearly 10% of the market and this market is set to continue as more people opt for non-religious funerals - currently 38% of funerals do not involve a religious service.
Darwin has a central aim to operate all its sites in as sustainable a way as possible in order to enhance the natural state of its woodland burial sites.

Woodland Management

Woodland Environment

  • We respect and nurture the woodland and landscape settings of our parks and employ strategies that actively encourage their continuous environmental improvement and the enhancement of their natural biodiversity.
  • All new trees planted are UK provenance (preferably from on-site regeneration) and produced using peat-free growing methods wherever possible.
  • Only wooden memorials are allowed in woodland ceremonial parks.
  • The active management of our woodland incorporates the integral nature of bio-diversity and landscapes.  
  • Our current woodland management programme, which includes tree thinning, will work to reduce the mono culture in some areas of our woodlands whilst providing a natural hedgerow to support and grow a new habitat for species.
  • Some of the trees felled will be left to provide further habitat.
  • In order to encourage the development of broad-leafed tress many conifers and non-native sycamores are being removed to help create layers in the woodland.
  • Actively supporting habitat for woodland birds, including the red kite, and our regular species survey allows us to assess the progress we are making.
  • We are keen to support the on-going and sustainable development of woodlands.
  • The retention of dead wood follows the Forestry Commission’s guidelines; the following is encouraged throughout each of our burial parks:
  • Woody debris of each native tree species represented and at varying stages of decay
  • Woody debris of varying sizes and types, including whole trees
  • Woody debris in a variety of light conditions
  • Snags at variable heights
  • Log piles and brash piles
  • The policy includes the monolithing and veteranisation of dead or dying mature trees, including coronet cuts to provide the widest range of habitat conditions possible.
  • Sustainable building materials are used during construction.
    Natural materials with low embedded energy, locally sourced materials and non-toxic materials are used wherever possible.
  • The timber frame buildings use only FSC approved wood.
    Recycled hardcore is used for road surfaces.Buildings are clad using Thermowood removing need for chemical preservatives.
    External and internal finishes are OS products with ‘Blue Angel’ ecological accreditation.
  • Warmcel recycled paper cellulose insulation is used in all walls and roofs.
  • All waste timber is retained and reused on-site, e.g. for compost bins.

Energy Sources and Conservation

Waste Management

  • Electricity is supplied from a renewable energy company.
  • Wood-chip burners heat our buildings and water and run on wood from our own woodland at our Chiltern and Epping Forest site.
  • Lower grade chip is used to make wood-chip paths for improved access within the woodland.  
  • The wood-chip used is produced on site from trees coppiced as part of the woodland management programme.
  • Outdoor lighting is programmed to only come on when needed
  • Computers are turned off at night.
  • Motion sensors operate lights in the buildings.
  • Food waste and dead flowers are composted on site (compost bins have been built by staff using waste wood from the building process).
  • Staff and visitors are encouraged to recycle wherever possible.
  • Sewage is processed using our own on-site Klargester treatment plant.

Community Engagement

Locations across the GreenAcres portfolio have hosted events in conjunction with a range of national and local charities in order to raise funds. These are usually themed events which are held on particular days which relate to the specific charities involved. Events have been held on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Easter and Christmas. As well as this, the sites also host national Macmillan coffee mornings, in order to support bereaved families. GreenAcres supports charities, like Marie Curie and Ovarian Cancer Action, to help raise funds for and awareness of all the challenges that life-limiting and terminal illness presents. 

Eternal Gardens

Eternal Gardens was established by GreenAcres in 2013 in response in response to a deterioration in Islamic burial standards caused largely by the increasing shortage of burial spaces across London. The community had to resort to reused graves, coffin burials and not facing the deceased to the Qiblah. Whilst all of these can be permitted due to need, the Muslim community was not being well served, so GreenAcres set about aiming to develop facilities which would fulfil the Sunnah rights of the Islamic community when they pass away. 

Eternal Gardens developed a model which would consider the long-term burial space limitations, the desire of the community in a Sunnah burial as well as affordability. Since then, Eternal Gardens is able to provide one of the most affordable services across South London, with one of the highest levels of maintenance, whilst also catering for the Islamic requirements as much as possible through the guidance of a dedicated board of Scholars. Eternal Gardens seeks to serve the Muslim community for burials through a dignified, respectful, and supportive experience, fulfilling Sunnah requirements and ensuring the family are given priority and care at all times.


The CDS Group

The team at CDS Group are at the forefront of driving environmental change within the bereavement services sector.  They have been instrumental in bringing electric cremators to the UK but are also working to improve understanding about the damaging effects that practices such as embalming and the use of products such as black granite can have on the environment. They are one of the founding members of the Environmental Stewardship Group which was launched in late 2020 and aims to lead the bereavement sector to sustainability.

CDS is fully committed to environmental best practice and is striving to reduce the carbon footprint of all the development projects on which it advises, aiming to deliver carbon neutral developments where possible. From cemeteries and crematoria, to parks and recreational spaces, CDS aims to maximise sustainability and, wherever possible, achieve a net gain to biodiversity.  All CDS design projects go above and beyond the requirements of Local and National Planning Policies for environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality.
The video below highlights some of the work CDS Group are doing to improve environmental practices within the bereavement sector.
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Note: The manager of the Fund is Darwin Alternative Investment Management (Guernsey) Limited which is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Darwin Alternative Investment Management Limited is the investment adviser to the Fund and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Darwin Alternative Investment Management Limited:
Registered in England & Wales No. 08100415.  
Registered office – Empire House, 175 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EN.

Privacy PolicyCookie StatementTerms & ConditionsModern Slavery Statement

Note: The manager of the Fund is Darwin Alternative Investment Management (Guernsey) Limited which is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Darwin Alternative Investment Management Limited is the investment adviser to the Fund and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Darwin Alternative Investment Management Limited:
Registered in England & Wales No. 08100415.  
Registered office – Empire House, 175 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EN.