The Earth’s global surface temperature has been rising at an extraordinary rate of 0.18°C, per decade, since 1981. This extra heat is causing temperature extremes across the world such as reducing sea ice, increasing heavy rainfall, and changing habitats for plants and animals across the globe. Last year, not only did we face the continuation of the Covid -19 pandemic, but 2021 was also marked as the sixth-warmest year on record, based on NOAA’s temperature data. Global temperature increases, and other visible effects of environmental damage, have presented businesses across the globe with both challenges and opportunities for innovation.
In response to climate change, SMI are taking responsibility and action to help preserve our planet. At SMI we are implementing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework to begin our road map to becoming Net Zero.
Adopting this approach allows SMI to optimise the benefits of sustainability alongside social and governance factors, maximising stakeholders’ wellbeing. The new ESG Officer Elizabeth Mellor (Lizzie) is dedicated to monitoring, actioning, and upholding these activities, ensuring SMI embodies this framework throughout the business.
Lizzie joins the team with a passion and commitment to build a positive future for SMI and our stakeholders. Having studied Business Management with Sustainability at University, she joined the SMI Customer Experience Team in September 2020. This understanding of stakeholder interests and ecological expertise creates a wealth of knowledge to bring into this new role.
SMI have taken their first crucial steps at tackling climate change by working with Climate Partner to become carbon neutral by the end of the year. Through measuring and calculating our carbon footprint, we are enabling SMI to balance our emissions by engaging with chosen projects. This is the first stage in analysing our business emissions, leading us to expand our actions to Scopes 1, 2 and 3 reporting, joining the race to net zero.
As an innovative business we are constantly looking at our resource use to ensure our operations are as sustainable as possible. This includes reducing our paper consumption, removing the plastic packaging from our Rokwear gloves, introducing a recycling scheme, and adopting ‘Green Thinking’ wherever possible.
These actions have allowed us to extend our product life cycle, contributing towards a circular economy. For example, our packing bags are made of 80% reclaimed materials and are 100% recyclable. Since the launch of our recycling scheme in June 2021 we have successfully delivered over 250 boxes to our customers. Collecting over 30,000 litres of textiles materials to be repurposed into other products including seating and flooring.
Last year we launched our warehouse management system (WMS). In 2020 we printed an estimated 150,000 picking notes, however this paperless system has significantly reduced the amount of paper used in our operations, increased efficiency and helped SMI improve our ecological footprint.
SMI’s recognises the importance of being ‘People Centric’ and being ‘Connected’; two key values of our business. Employee engagement and wellbeing are at the core of SMI’s culture, promoting a positive, friendly working environment. Employees are provided opportunities to be heard through various platforms including weekly business updates, one to one management meetings, department meetings and a suggestion box.
Strengthening communication across the business ensures SMI creates a transparent atmosphere, where employees voice their thoughts and take a proactive role within the business; helps to create employee attraction and retention.
SMI invests in their people, taking critical steps to ensure a safe working environment is established, with particular focus on physical and mental wellbeing. These steps include Health & Safety / Ergonomic training, with Fire / First aid certification; alongside regular risk assessments and additional Warehouse Safety measures to ensure all staff are operating in a safe manner and environment.
There is also an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) administered by Health Assured, available to all employees. This service provides support and practical advice on issues that may be impacting wellbeing and performance.
We are seeking to become an integral part of the local and wider communities through our volunteering committee, consisting of staff members representing all levels of the business. Through their active engagement, community projects and true passion, SMI can give back, building a strong relationship with those around us.
As a trusted business among our customers, suppliers and community, SMI operates to the highest standard of business ethics. We aim to exceed government regulations and continue to undergo regular risk assessments and audits focusing on environmental policies, health and safety, modern slavery, child labour and equality and embracing diversity.
SMI is committed to maintaining a strong line of communication through numerous platforms. Updating our stakeholders on our businesses policies, short- and long-term goals and our efforts towards achieving them.
SMI recognises the importance of building and maintaining trust with its stakeholders. Honesty and integrity are important qualities we aim to continuously embody, which we see reflected in our suppliers and customers alike.