As part of the certificate presentation William & Son were provided a kick starter workshop for 20 employees and executives. The workshop included a reminder of some of the big issues facing sustainability from huge islands of floating plastic in our seas and oceans, to the visible effect of climate change such as the UK’s summer heatwave and the record-breaking temperatures in the northern hemisphere.
In the face of these challenges, the team at William & Son recognised the power and value of collective effort and produced a stream of ideas and opportunities to help the company reduce its carbon, energy, water and waste.
Many of these were prioritised to have immediate effect including:
- The powering down of all computers overnight
- Encouraging the use of the stairs as opposed to the lift
- Ensuring that all office lights are switched off at night
- Installation of recycling points around the office
Steve Malkin, founder of The Planet Mark, congratulated William & Son on its sustainability commitment: “We are delighted that William & Son have achieved its first certification to The Planet Mark and in doing so, committed to many new practices that will reduce their carbon emissions. What is most gratifying is the response from everyone in the business to make this happen, quickly and with such enthusiasm. I cannot wait to see the progress that this amazing group of people will have made in the next year’s certification.”
With its reporting period finishing in March 2018, William & Son recorded a total carbon footprint of 162 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) for the year, with the majority of its emissions (56%) coming from the electricity used to power its department store. International air travel to meet suppliers and hand-deliver products was its second largest source of emissions, with transport as a whole making up the remainder of the company’s carbon footprint. Divided by employee, the company recorded 3.52 tCO2e for the previous year.
Chairman of William & Son, William Asprey commented: “Sustainability is something that most of us think about, and we do the obvious things such as recycling and turning off lights, but we have never looked into sustainability in any depth, and I am certainly in that category!”
“Having been pushed by the Royal Warrant holder’s association into looking at sustainability in a really serious way I have found it to be really interesting and a challenge. I now realise how much more we can do and how our behaviour and requirements can have a positive effect on our business and our suppliers, and we can now measure our impact on the planet. This whole project has been embraced by all our employees and we are finding it a really rewarding challenge. Thank you to The Planet Mark for your guidance and help in setting us on the right track,” he said
To assist William & Son in achieving its sustainability goals, The Planet Mark team has made several recommendations, such as a company-wide energy audit and sustainability-focussed workshops for employees. Robust processes for data collection will also be crucial, as William & Son will require accurate information to help them identify where wastage occurs within the business, and where efficiencies can be made.
As the recipient of a Royal Warrant, William & Son is clearly a company committed to excellence. It is fantastic that it is bringing its customary high standards to bear on the issue of sustainability and achieving the first year of certification to The Planet Mark.
The Planet Mark
The Planet Mark is an internationally recognised and trusted sustainability certification programme, recognising commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability. It is awarded to businesses, properties, new developments and projects that are committed to reducing their carbon emissions. Partnered with the Eden Project, The Planet Mark contributes 5% of all certification fees to the award-winning visitor attraction. Each certification also comes with 12 free tickets to Eden Project, encouraging organisations to learn more about climate change and the importance of biodiversity.
The first year of certification to The Planet Mark is based on the commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability in its business operations by measuring and reducing its carbon footprint and engaging its stakeholders. In subsequent years, holders of The Planet Mark have a minimum requirement to reduce their carbon emissions by 2.5% per year. The average absolute carbon reduction achieved by holders is 4% per annum and 12% per employee per annum.