Pennine-Pack Ltd, operators of three packaging compliance schemes and the environmental accreditation scheme ‘Investors in the Environment’ and environmental consultancy TheGBN.co.uk , have won a Green Apple for Environmental Best Practice 2017.
In 2012, Pennine-Pack were looking at their carbon footprint and realized that although their scope 1 & 2 emissions were relatively modest, about 5t CO2e, one of our scope 3 emissions associated with the recycling certificates for waste shipped to China was three orders of magnitude worse, about 5,000t.
To reduce this relatively large impact, we resolved to:
- Increase the proportion of British recycling that we supported
- Promote British recycling with our customers.
In simple terms, when we bought recycling certificates from businesses in China the carbon footprint of the material being recycled was increased by about 300kg CO2e of emissions per tonne of waste recycled because it is shipped an extra 18,000km to China, compared to recycling within the UK.
We decided to see if this commitment would give us a competitive edge, promote British recyclers, reduce the impact of our operations and encourage our customers to think about their environmental impact in a more holistic manner.
Since 2010, we have increased our use of British recyclers from 35.2% to 51.7% of certificates purchased, which sounded less than impressive until we realized that in real numbers, we were buying almost three times as many British certificates as we had been six years earlier.
We developed Ethical Compliance to promote British recycling and highlight the benefits mentioned above. In 2017, the new brand that we developed as supporting British recyclers now represents about 25% of our turnover.
In 2016, We were runners-up in the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards behind SAB Miller (multinational brewer) and ahead of IKEA (Swedish furniture company).
Commenting on the award, Director John Mooney said, “It is great for a small company like ours to be judged against all comers and be recognized. Small businesses need to be responsive to the changing world and that’s what we are doing! We look forward to going to the Houses of Parliament in London to collect the award in November.”