In a world where environmental consciousness is vital, businesses play a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future. SMI Group has been at the forefront of this movement, leading efforts that go beyond corporate responsibility to actively contribute towards a greener planet.
Let's delve into the remarkable milestones achieved by our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) department in 2023.
TREE PLANTING INITATIVE: 10,000 TREES PLANTED, 1,050 HOUSES' FOOTPRINT OFFSET, AND SUPPORT FOR LOCAL VILLAGERS.
Starting with our tree planting initiative, in collaboration with our third party supplier, Brynk, we plant a tree for every £1,000 order placed on MYSMI.
Last year alone, we successfully planted 10,000 trees in Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mozambique. To put it into perspective, this effort translates into offsetting the carbon footprint of 1,050 houses while creating 850 hours of employment for these local communities.
Beyond numbers, it's more about sowing seeds of change and nurturing both the environment and livelihoods.
To delve deeper into our commitment, you can find additional information with our new supplier and watch our forest grow here.
ECO PRODUCT ACHIEVEMENTS.
With a big thank you to our customers, we proudly sold 59,682 ECO products, made from 163,129 recycled PET bottles. This not only saved these bottles from reaching landfills but also helped avoid 136 tCO2e.
PLASTIC CONSUMPTION REDUCTION.
Our commitment to eco-friendly practices extends beyond our products themselves and stretches to encompass the packaging in which they arrive, with a 25.49-tonne reduction in plastic consumption – a remarkable 52% decrease compared to 2022 – avoiding an estimated 152 tCO2e!
The introduction of cardboard packaging is just one of several initiatives we've undertaken to achieve our plastic reduction targets.
Combined with other measures, we've successfully reduced our overall packaging consumption by a remarkable 70%. This simple switch has saved a whopping 2 million plastic bags from ending up in landfills and oceans… now that’s a key milestone to celebrate!
This collaboration between product development and ESG has been outstanding. Balancing product excellence, packaging, and commercial aspects while integrating forward-thinking ESG initiatives has helped future-proof our business.
CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCTION.
After meticulously calculating our total carbon footprint, including all scopes, this was measured at 20,989 tCO2e, with 95% of SMI’s footprint falling into scope 3. A significant portion of this, 13,966 tCO2e, was associated with Rokwear products, transport, and packaging.
It’s important to note that SMI’s 2022 carbon footprint that we calculated last year includes all four sites we operated from during that time. SMI’s Head Office relocation from Haslemere to Petersfield meant that two offices were operational during the year. Our acquisition of Swift 360 also saw SMI take on these operational carbon emissions creating a footprint of 431 tonnes.
After working across the business at senior leadership level, we managed to identify areas for opportunity and make key business changes to offset our total operational emissions, making SMI Group operationally carbon neutral for the second year in a row!
Our chosen Social and Environmental offsetting projects were:
- Supporting climate projects including cookstoves in India, solar energy in Brazil + ocean protection globally*
*An improved cookstove can reduce fuel consumption by up to 70%, significantly saving co2 emissions and lowering the pressure on local forests.
- Expanding renewable energy projects generated in Asia.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND VOLUNTEERING.
Corporate responsibility extends beyond our offices, with an impressive 172 hours dedicated to volunteer and environmental projects in 2023: Our team contributed a significant amount of time, equivalent to 21 days, towards volunteer and environmental projects throughout the year.
Our ESG Manager, Elizabeth Mellor, as well as David Phillipson and Alan Knight took part in the Three Peak Challenge in September, and if you’re not aware of the intensity of this, they climbed Scaffell Pike, Mt Snowdon and Ben Nevis in 24 hours, raising over £2,000 for a local charity – an incredible achievement!
We also took part in beach clean ups and engaged in various volunteering activities such as clothes swap parties – donating 40 boxes to Lifehouse from both staff and suppliers’ donations, worked with The Rosemary Foundation to support them with their Easter and Christmas fayres and celebrated recycling week in October.
As well as all these activities, we also welcomed a beehive to the SMI family. Bees are essential pollinators that play a vital role in our ecosystem and organic agriculture, and we can’t wait to get our hands on some honey!
PROVIDING A DISPOSABLE SOLUTION TO END OF LIFE PPE
Our recycling scheme is an easy, quick, and cost-effective way to recycle. From textiles and PPE to safety helmets, gloves, and safety boots you can responsibly recycle and repurpose through purchasing one of our recycling boxes.
We saw a 45% increase in the sale of recycled boxes last year, with 1,340 sold, preventing over 8,500kg of waste from ending up in landfills.
You can read more about our recycling scheme here.
MAKING SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE
As a trusted business among our customers, suppliers and community, SMI operates to the highest standard of business ethics.
Transparency is the fundamental foundation for how SMI conducts itself as a business. The launch of our Modern Slavery Statement in 2023 and mapping our tier 1 supply chain demonstrates this. Conducting two pillar audits across our tier 1 supply chain and Supplier Sustainable Assessments across tier 2 and 3, provides an in-depth understanding and engagement with our stakeholders.
INTERNAL TRAINING FOR OUR EMPLOYEES
Communication is at the forefront of everything we do, and training of our people sits at the core of this.
In 2023 ten employees from both our Head Office and our Distribution Centre undertook ISO Internal Auditing training with a third party. Creating SMI’s first complete ISO audit team, supporting the business in achieving our ISO 9001, 45001 and 14001!
But that’s not all – our senior leadership team underwent training on SMI’s Governance framework, Modern Slavery, Audit program and Responsible Sourcing Strategy ran by our ESG Manager, ensuring everyone has a developed understanding of how each department influences these factors.
ESG IMPACT AND RECOGNITION
SMI's efforts were not only visible in our sustainability achievements but also in the recognition we received; proudly securing a bronze Ecovadis medal and becoming bronze members of the Sustainability Supply Chain School. Additionally, through our collective efforts, we helped to raise £2,450 for various charitable causes, showcasing our commitment to making a positive impact beyond our immediate sphere.
THE BIGGEST YEAR YET FOR ESG
As we conclude our 2023 wrap up, our ESG department stands proud of the strides made in environmental conservation, social responsibility, and governance.
Looking ahead, we remain committed to pushing the boundaries of sustainability and making a positive impact. From nurturing new life through tree-planting initiatives to taking part in giving back to our communities, every endeavour has been a testament to our commitment to sustainability.
SMI Group is not just a company; we are a catalyst for change.