How we are reducing our environmental impact

10th May 2023

In the UK, SMEs generate 52% of GDP and approximately the same percentage of emissions and negative environmental impact. When you think about the global scale of the problem, it’s daunting, but School Smart is one of a growing number of small to medium-sized enterprises, consciously striving to effect positive change. We wanted to talk about how we have looked carefully at all aspects of the business to identify ways of achieving this.

We manufacture products from paper and some plastics; we use mechanical and digital equipment in a workshop that has a high roof and needs to be kept warm, for the sake of the materials and the people. We are on an industrial estate that is three to seven miles from where any of us live, and the bus service is poor. We deliver our product to customers within and outside of Europe.

Our procurement manager, Ken, has been quietly beavering away over the last few years to find raw materials from sustainable sources and now all our products comply with FSC certification and where possible the plastics we use are made from recycled pellets.

With the patience and tenacity of Gerrard and Ryan, our R&D team, 80% of our products are entirely manufactured in-house, giving us greater control over the provenance of their constituent parts; negating the need for outsourcing manufacture and related road transport.

Production Manager Paul is committed to ensuring that landfill is kept to a minimum. He’s eagle eyed and watchful when you approach one of ‘his’ bins. Woe betide you should you mis-bin the smallest amount of paper, plastics or metal. From a pallet of paper there’s not even a gram of waste from packaging or contents. Mike, our operations director, is in the process of arranging solar panels for our business unit to reduce our reliance on the power industry.

The company has installed an electric vehicle charging point and a quarter of the workforce have moved to electric vehicles, while the sales director car shares and the marketing manager cycles.

The courier we use is carbon neutral and our head of shipping, Toby, carefully calculates routes and deliveries we undertake ourselves to minimise journey times. Our packaging, right down the sticking tape we use, is 100% recyclable.

We will continue to review all our activities in relation to our impact on the environment and constantly strive to do everything we can to reduce this. As a company whose core purpose is mostly centred around younger people and education, this is our promise to keep learning and help create a better world for the next generation.

Here are some photos, showing cycling to work, our free-to-employees electric charging point, testing new materials and discussing replacing plastic tape with more sustainable packing tape.