How to support the global sustainable development goals.
This is a new era for planet and people and we are facing significant economic, social and environmental challenges. Issues such as climate change, poverty and gender inequality are increasingly recognised as global problems. So we thought it’s a good time to talk about how we support the global sustainable development goals as an SME.
With this growing concern for the environment, society and the economy, consumers are looking for brands who are making a big difference.
Sustainable business has always been at the top of the Red-Inc agenda. It was our mindset from our very foundation to plan ambitiously when we laid down our sustainability strategy. We have come a long way since then and are keen to tell our story about how Red-Inc are supporting the SDGs.
What are the SDG`s
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a shared set of 17 global targets and standards that United Nation member states adopted in 2015 as part of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. All member states have the responsibility to use these goals as a framework to form their political agendas and policies until 2030. They hope to provide a universal plan for peace and prosperity, for people and the planet for the coming decades.
All countries, developed and developing, are a part of this global partnership. Participants must develop strategies that include; eliminating poverty and other deprivations, improving health and education, reducing inequality, encouraging economic growth, combating climate change and looking after our oceans and forests.
The UK played a huge part in laying down the SDGs and because of sustainable businesses like Red-Inc, we will be at the forefront of delivering them.
Who can take part
Any size company in any industry can contribute to the SDGs.
An initiative called The UN Global Compact supports organisations who are committed to responsible and ethical business practice. The Compact recommends that companies use the SDG compass for guidance on how to align their business operations with the SDGs and measure their performance. Even though the compass was designed with larger corporations in mind, smaller businesses can use it as a tool to learn from leading companies and to benchmark improvement.
Within the compass there is an emphasis on organisations (particularly smaller businesses) focusing their efforts on behaving responsibly first and foremost.
For larger businesses or those that really want to stand out as a symbol of change, they are encouraged to look for opportunities to solve more specific societal and environmental challenges through innovation.
What are Red-Inc doing
How to support the global sustainable development goals as an SME
As a small business Red-Inc support the global sustainable development goals and recognise why our contribution is so important. We believe all companies, regardless of size, have a vital role to play in achieving a more sustainable future for generations to come.
The impact of SMEs in the global economy is crucial to society. ‘In the UK alone, SMEs accounted for 99.9% of the business population at the start of 2020’ (National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses Limited 2020.) Red-Inc, like all other small businesses, must accept our responsibility for our operations, the products we sell and our supply chains, and act accordingly.
In line with the recommendation of the SDG compass, we first set out to behave as responsibly and ethically as we can. We have amended our many policies and use the SDG Compass along with our B Corp Impact Assessment as tools to ensure sustainability remains at the heart of the Red-Inc mission. Furthermore, we have amended our articles of association to protect our mission in the long term.
Our environmental impact
Recording our emissions across all scopes and setting ourselves annual reduction targets is pivotal. We seek to decarbonise every aspect of our operations – no stone is left unturned.
We make sure that fuel use is kept to a minimum by using energy efficient technology and by educating our staff. All our electricity is from renewable resources through a supplier that is reinvesting in new sources of green energy.
In 2020 we paid to install an independent water metre so we can measure and target improvement in our water usage and associated emissions. Water conservation is increasingly becoming an area of great concern and it is predicted that we will not have sufficient water supplies in the UK by 2050 to meet our needs .
Our biggest emission offender is delivery by van and it is a constant frustration that there are no economical options in the current vehicle market that would meet our needs. Read more about this dilemma here (https://www.red-inc.com/blog/electric-van-deliveries-in-london/) We are however committed to change and have formal KPIs in place to go electric by the end of 2021!
All our unavoidable and irreducible carbon emissions are offset through our partners Ecosphere + . Read more here.
We believe in the fair treatment of our staff and seek to make a positive impact on the lives of our workers. We have implemented many employee-friendly practices, such as fair pay (we are an accredited member of the real living wage foundation), job flexibility, enhanced annual leave package, generous parental leave scheme and equal opportunity hiring policies. We also award employees 3 paid days off a year to help with volunteering projects so they can support a chosen cause meaningful to them.
We believe that spending time outdoors with nature can be the ultimate health tool but many people overlook the positive impact that the natural environment has on mental health. With this in mind we award our staff charity subscriptions to their choice of the WWT, RSPB or National Trust, giving free access to many parks, gardens, countryside and conservation centres.
We have strict supplier selection policies in place and all of our significant suppliers are screened based on their social and environmental performance. Red-Inc’s contracts are almost invariably awarded on the basis of the most sustainable offering rather than on price alone. We also adhere to the company’s Supplier Code of Conduct and Equality and Diversity Policy when forming any new supplier relationships.
Making responsible purchase choices is a crucial strategy to improve our positive impact and gives us opportunities to raise awareness and demonstrate good practice to our clients. Our sustainable procurement policy ensures we are always considering the material aspects of our purchase choices, whilst making sure any negative impacts are reduced as far as possible.
A big part of what makes Red-Inc different is that we actively seek to encourage our customers to purchase more sustainable products on a timely basis. We don’t wait for our clients to come to us, but proactively take on this responsibility and set goals for ourselves and our clients.
Naturally, we only sell FSC certified paper products. Responsible paper operations bring many benefits to forests, local economies and the local communities.
Going further to support the SDGs through Innovation
Red-Inc continually innovate and are specialists at thinking up new and exciting opportunities to solve societal and environmental challenges. Behaving responsibly was not enough for us and we sought out to exceed the expectation of us as a small business, as set out in the SDG compass. Through always being open to change and having an unrelenting courage to challenge the norm we have come up with some award winning and industry leading sustainability innovations. You will find a snapshot of a few of these below.
In 2018 we decided to put our focus on an environmental challenge relevant to our business. Being one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, the pulp and paper industry has a significant impact on global forests and climate change.
Our PlantOneProtectOne initiative commits us to planting a tree and protecting half an acre of rainforest for every box of paper sold by Red-Inc. This scheme allows us to support many of the SDG’s as there are so many positive environmental, economic and social benefits in funding this sort of conservation work.
Reduced delivery scheme
Through positive engagement and collaboration with our forward-thinking clients we are able to significantly reduce our delivery emissions. Having fewer deliveries means we can help manage increasing levels of congestion on the roads whilst achieving significant safety, efficiency and environmental benefits.
By using common sense and best business practice we have decreased the number of next day’s deliveries, streamlined our routes and by offering 100% order fulfilment we have eliminated the need for subsequent drops.
Our FightBrightWhite campaign delivers a truly sustainable and economical alternative to fresh fibre paper.
Thanks to our partnership with a recycled paper manufacturer in Germany we are able to provide our customers with the most environmentally friendly recycled paper on the market.
We drive this change into our clients businesses by encouraging them to start small and introduce some recycled paper at the same time reducing their pulp paper usage.
Part of this campaign is getting people to think differently about the outdated perception that paper should be ‘bright white’ in colour, and getting businesses to adapt their processes and behaviours to match.
As a small company, working this diligently to tackle world dominating issues is hard work, don’t get me wrong. We are just a stationery company with limited resources.
But we have such passion and dedication as a business and every employee is personally engaged in our day-to-day sustainability efforts – it is what we get up and come into work for!
Achieving the 2030 agenda requires immediate action across every SDG by both small and large businesses. Each and every one of us has the responsibility to leave our planet in a better place. For us as a company, that means having a meaningful and strategic purpose and inspiring our staff to follow these values in their day to day lives.
By aligning our core purpose with the shared SDG roadmap, Red-Inc will be part of the solution to create positive change that goes far beyond business as usual.
If you would like to learn more about the specific SDGs that Red-Inc are supporting please click here.