Collaborating for change
The issue of single use plastic continues to dominate the news. Just last week Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced that the Government is to unveil further restrictions on usage by the end of the year. And each week we see more businesses announce their intention to reduce reliance on these materials.
Our own commitment to finding more sustainable alternatives within from across our business is just the beginning of our commitment to the cause. Where we have most impact is by supporting our customers to help reduce their usage too.
Since June we have been working with the facilities management company OCS UK to deliver its pledge to reduce single use plastics across its UK operations.
Like us, OCS is committed to implementing sustainable changes, in the right way, to make sure they have a lasting legacy. As part of that they are choosing to work with suppliers, like Commercial, who share that vision.
In turn OCS is supporting its own clients in their journey towards finding more sustainable ways of working. It is this collaborative approach that is going to be the most meaningful agent of change.
Our approach to working with them, as with all our customers, is a shared vision. There is no one size fits all solution. We work closely with all our customers to understand their objectives and facilitate a move to a more sustainable way of working.
Sky was one of the first customers to start a dialogue with us regarding this issue. We began by looking at the plastic wrap that surrounded each of the 375,000 reams of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council Approved) certified paper we supply to them every year.
Although the wrap was made from environmentally friendly plastic it was classified as single use plastic. So, we approached the paper merchant to negotiate use of an alternative paper wrap.
It’s a great example of how small changes make a big difference. Through this initiative alone we have removed almost 1 million plastic wraps from the supply chain per year.
We’ve now removed plastic wraps from all our own branded photocopier and printing paper and continue to support Sky in its ambition to eradicate all single use plastic from its supply chain by 2020.
Our role, and those of companies like ours, is to make the process of making positive change as easy as possible. All our products are categorised based criteria that include packaging, how they are made, how ethically they are produced and their ability to be recycled. And our ordering system proactively suggests more environmentally friendly alternatives. Our aim is to support our customers so that they can make an informed choice.
Change isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to be easy. But honest conversations, an innovative approach and a commitment to making a difference are the tools we need to make sure that we and our customers are heading in the right direction.