At Global Upholstery Solutions, we take our environmental and sustainability responsibilities seriously. We don’t do ‘greenwashing’ as a marketing ploy or as a way to get more sales. We are trying to implement as many sustainable practices as possible, things that make a real impact.
While we won’t force change onto our customers, we believe that by working closely with suppliers and customers we can develop options and designs that will mean they can make better choices.
We also share our initiatives so that others can implement these themselves.
Our Supply Chain
Padding, Cushioning and Filling
While most products use Combustion Modified Heat Resistant foam for cushioning, we are working with our supply partner Enkev so that we can offer our customers a sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative.
We have recently developed a new product for our largest customers that uses Coir – the waste product from coconut husks – in place of the foam. This is fully sustainable and bio-degradable.
We are working closely with a number of our fabric suppliers to use sustainable fabrics.
We have recently been working closely with Panaz fabrics and are delighted to be now using their Eco-Twill in some of our customers products. This fabric is produced from recycled PTE bottles. Woven and printed in the UK, this fabric contains 50 recycled 500ml PTE bottles in every metre square.
We are also testing sustainable fabrics from Aqua and Linwood as well as recycled leathers from Linwood and E-Leather to give our customers a complete range of choices.
We have moved away from solvent based and adhesives and now have four water-based adhesive booths in our production factory.
Our design division blackswan have pulled together all the above initiatives to develop a fully eco-friendly product for Stannah Stairlifts, to be launched in February.
The product is made from certified wood, has Enkev Cocolok padding, uses Panaz Eco-Twill fabric and recycled thread. The packaging is recycled cardboard with paper tape.
This is the first product of its type in the industry and the TITL range will be available on many of the new products being released by Stannah in their upcoming product range launch.
Working with our supply partners is only part of our sustainable story. We also continuously review our internal processes regularly to ensure we meet the highest of standards.
Electricity and Gas
While there is some ‘greenwashing’ by companies claiming their green credentials because some of the power comes from their solar panels, we felt we could do better. Where does the rest of the power come from and is it sustainable?
We use SSE Green Energy for 100% of our supply. This means:
SSE Green Electricity is 100% renewable, clean electricity, generated by wind and hydro assets. It’s certified by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) and independently verified by EcoAct, a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) accredited provider.
SSE Green Gas is 100% renewable and produced from sources such as agricultural materials, along with food waste and wastewater treatment. It’s fully backed by Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs).
Single Use Plastics
We are eliminating single use plastics from our internal process and are working with our suppliers and customers to eliminate it from our products for them.
Transport bags used in the factory have been replaced with reusable bags made from scrap fabric.
Packing bags for one of our highest volume products have been replaced with recycled paper bags.
Plastic drinks cups used for hot and cold drinks have been replaced with proper mugs and aluminium drinks bottles for all staff.
We are manufacturing returnable protective bags for fabric rolls that are delivered to us in plastic bags. These bags are made from excess and scrap fabric.
All our company vehicles have driver management trackers fitted that ensure they are driven safely and efficiently. We are currently investigating replacements using more environmentally fuel solutions – such as electric vans.
Our people are a critical part of our Sustainability ethos. We take their welfare very seriously and our commitment to them is represented in our values and principles and our activities.
Our factory is bright and clean, decorated and colourful to create a fun and friendly working environment.
We have a ‘Culture Committee’ that is responsible for making sure we are doing everything we can to maintain our culture as we grow, organising functions, charity events, shuffleboard and pool competitions.
Our employees all receive the benefit of a Simply Health plan which not only provides a cash plan for medical expenses, it also provides free nurse, GP, counselling and mental health access.
We have 9 Mental Health First Aid Champions that are qualified to support any of our staff who may suffer from mental health issues so that they can be signposted to appropriate professional support.
The team is involved in our company. They have daily ‘huddles’ at team level and a fortnightly full team (all employees) briefing and open forum with all the senior leadership team. They are kept up to date with full company progress including financial performance. We are all in it together.