Last May, we wrote about how we are embracing aims of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a blueprint for peace and prosperity for now and the future.
Key to the success of the agenda are the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals – or SDGs – which set out how everyone can contribute to make the world a better place, from defeating poverty to driving innovation
We believe business has a vital role to play in this and, while not all of the 17 SDGs can directly apply to us, they provide a useful measurement of how we can contribute, however small, through creating sustainable packaging. We thought we’d let you know how we’re getting on with our ambition to match these goals.
The first SDG is a commitment to End Poverty, which sadly is a recognised issue across the UK, and subsequently parts of Staffordshire, where we are based. That’s why Woolcool® is committed to growing engagement with the local community in Staffordshire, with focus on social mobility and opportunities for young people.
Among the projects we have backed are work with the Stoke-on-Trent Youth Collective, which supports 38 local charities, the Gingerbread Centre, which helps homeless families, the Peter Pan Centre for local children with disabilities and Ruff & Ruby, a Stoke-on-Trent Youth Charity.
Another goal is Good Health and well-being. At Woolcool®, the happiness of our staff is paramount, and we have shaped our working practices accordingly, from holding wellbeing weeks to going above and beyond during the COVID pandemic to ensure the safety and support the mental health of our team.
Once we were back to a bit of normality following lockdown, we decided to conduct training for all of the team on Mental Health awareness. Other initiatives to support staff have included Domestic Abuse Champions and First Aid training.
Many of the SDGs work hand-in-hand, such as providing Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth. At Woolcool®, we ensure that our team has access to Further Education and Training, from University Degrees to NVQ’s. We pledge that everyone who is part of the Woolcool® team will have access to training to further their personal development.
As a female-led business, we already see the benefits of the UN’s Gender Equality Goal. We believe strongly in and practice workplace diversity, having 60 full-time employees with a wide range of characteristics and experiences, along with LQBTQ+ representation on our board. This diversity gives us great strength.
Another SDG is Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. After more than a decade of award-winning work on the benefits of sustainable, natural materials in temperature-controlled packaging, we are fully committed to this. Woolcool® aims to further promote the use of sustainable packaging using Natural Materials, particularly wool, as a genuinely sustainable and credible alternative to harmful manmade, fossil fuel-derived products, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS). For example, we are currently backing a pioneering new research project, into how Wool can act as a Natural Carbon Sink.
Our Circular Economy scheme, which allows our customers to return their packaging to us for re-use, is a great example of the UN’s Responsible Consumption and Production Goal in action.
Of course, as a business founded on sustainable principles, Woolcool® is invested in taking real action to support the UN’s all-important Climate Action Goal. At the moment, we are currently undergoing a detailed study of our carbon footprint alongside local University. Keele, which, allied to ongoing internal performance reviews, aims to continually push our progress towards sustainability through sustainable packaging.
Woolcool® is also one of the only UK packaging companies to be a certified B Corp, joining a worldwide community of firms who have pledged to put social and environmental impact on the same level as profitability. This meant undergoing a tough B Impact Assessment – to measure, manage, and improve positive impact performance for the environment, communities, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders.
Finally, the UN’s Goals include building partnerships – something we do with our team members, colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners. We are also signed up to B Corp’s Boardroom 2030, a scheme that explores what a 2030 future might look like and draw attention to the changes we must make to our boards today.
These are just a few of the things we have adopted since embracing the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals – but we know there is always so much more that we can do. This is just the beginning of our journey, and we know we can always improve.
We are making progress – but see our next blog to see what plans we have for the future.