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Going Green with the AGFD

What is the Association of Green Funeral Directors? 

The Association of Green Funeral Directors (AGFD) encourages, where possible, for people to choose more natural and eco-friendly funerals. They are a non-profit organisation whose aim is to bring eco-friendly funerals into the mainstream market.  Neo has proudly become a member to help them advocate for the cause. 


Members of the AGFD make special pledges on embalming, literature, coffins,  burials, flowers, and conduct. Associate members must also provide evidence to the AGFD of at least one element that makes their service and / or product green. All staff of associate members of the AGFD must also demonstrate a good knowledge of eco-friendly funeral options, and stay abreast of any changes within the industry. 


How do the AGFD protect the environment?  

Did you know that natural funerals reject artificial elements associated with traditional funerals such as: lacquered coffins with big brass handles, rigid and elaborate ceremonies, and embalming? The association wants to encourage families and funeral operators to care for the deceased with a minimal impact on the environment. For families who observe religious traditions, green and natural burials may also be a way to meet religious practices in a modern world. 


It’s important to note that not all of these ideas have to be used at once, elements of natural funerals can be used alone within a traditional funeral service as well. For example, families may choose a simple wicker or pine coffin instead of a more extravagant one. What is vital is that families are equipped with the awareness that green funerals are better for the environment, and can still be cost effective. With this knowledge, families have agency to choose what is best for them and for the environment. 


The three pillars of the AGFD are as follows: 


  1. Helping members of the public find funeral directors in their area who are willing to provide sustainable and eco-friendly option in the funerals they facilitate; 
  2. Encouraging people within the end-of-life ecosystem to become “green minded” in all elements of their work, and to help bring natural funerals and burials into the mainstream; 
  3. Holding the yearly Good Funeral Awards which recognises all those in the funeral industry who offer the best service and / or products to their customers.


Why We Need to Change How We Bury the Dead, Vox


What are the Good Funeral Awards? 

We’ve spoken with Amy from the association earlier this year, and she said the Good Funeral Awards is a yearly headline event comprising funeral homes, crematoriums, celebrants, and more gathering to find out who has pioneered sustainability very well throughout the year. The Good Funeral Awards is an event to bring more awareness and advocacy to eco-friendly funerals in the UK. 


Why did Neo join the AGFD?

Climate change is a serious issue. In an industry that hasn’t changed for a while, it’s time to be a part of organisations who are able to popularise eco-friendly options. We’ve joined the AGFD to bring awareness of eco-friendly options for funerals–– and to also join a network of like minded organisations. 


Eco-death takeover, Caitlin Doughty


What is the most eco-friendly way to conduct a funeral? 

There is no textbook way of conducting an eco-friendly funeral. There are many options and small aspects families can swap around (for example: opting for a cardboard coffin, or swapping flowers for a charitable donation) to make a funeral more sustainable. In sum, eco-friendly funerals use less harmful materials, and generally produce much less waste–– they are also becoming a popular alternative to traditional funerals. 


Our role as a green funeral director

As members of the AGFD, we have pledged to remain knowledgeable about the eco-friendly alternatives within the industry, and to work in an ethical manner. We pledge to follow the guidelines of the industry and to represent the association in a good light at all times. 


We support caring for your loved one with minimal impact on the environment, and we are looking forward to working with green funeral directors and services in England to make eco friendliness a fundamental aspect in the funeral industry. 

Read more about how we are making funerals more sustainable and about our environmental and social impact partners, here.

Jenn Ulloa

Digital Operations Analyst

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