Fresh off our finalist nomination at the Insider Media Made in the Midlands awards in both the Innovative Manufacturer and the Ethical and Sustainable Manufacturer categories we have spent some time taking stock of where we are, and where we’re going.
Sustainability takes many forms, often you hear people talking about Social Action, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Value; today, our TV adverts are now filled with huge brands re-inventing their product packaging to use less single use plastic.
What does sustainability mean to us? We talk about it as leaving a footprint we can be proud of, and we have several measures in our business that sit under this “sustainability” umbrella.
Product Design (Direct)
New styles utilise modern, man-made synthetic fibres which have significantly less impact on the environment, these include:
- Reduced GHG and Carbon Emissions in production.
- Reduced water consumption in production.
Footwear designs use premium quality components that have a higher unit cost but return a much longer lifespan reducing the amount of mixed textiles sent to landfill.
We share this confidence by offering a 6-month manufacturing defect guarantee.
We’re obsessed by developing new components and multi-layered outsoles that can be repaired, high quality uppers with intelligent design patterns can last for years when looked after. Our FORCE10® Nitrile Rubber skins and outsoles can be repaired and resoled.
Product Design (Indirect)
We rebranded on the 1st April 2019 which, during this project we reviewed our current packaging solutions and made the following adjustments:
Removal of all paper stuffing from inside our footwear, equalling a paper saving of 18 tonnes per year (2018 figures)
A complete shoebox overhaul which sees a smaller selection of better fitting box sizes across the whole range
Removal of almost all retail swing labels, to a single one and change from single use plastic swing label loop to cotton.
Continual commercial success has seen the need for improved and more robust systems, controls and changes.
Our head office has a vast stockholding and fulfilment facility which has more than doubled in size in the last 5 years. We have invested in LED lighting across the business with sensor lighting in low traffic areas.
This new installation reduces the amount of CO2 produced by lighting by 15tonnes per year.
In 2018 we deployed a new all in one business management system which has seen all administration go digital, from order processing to picking, packing and subsequent invoicing. We have seen our ink and toner usage reduce by 83% and paper usage reduce by 85%.
We all like “doing well”, don’t we? We measure our commercial success by our profitability, focusing on minimising our bank gearing and supporting our customers with the breadth of range to help them grow their business. Our average UK stockholding stands at over £2m.
Our yearly growth has exceeded 20% since 2009.
Our average unit sale has increased by 38.8% since 2014.
Ensuring Green Growth
Researchers at University of Derby have developed a Green Growth Diagnostic tool. It’s been devised to help businesses benchmark where they place environmental sustainability in driving business growth and development strategy.
Rock Fall were placed in the top 25% of UK businesses scoring a rating of 76% against the metrics of the tool.
“Environmental sustainability forms part of the business growth and development strategy. It is often associated with opportunities for consolidation and a gradual expansion of the enterprise. A short-to-medium term perspective is utilised in relation to acquisition and/or development of environmental capabilities in order to gain return on investments. Areas of development are linked to enterprise development skills, product design, environmental management, intellectual property, marketing and branding. It is important to ensure that environmental sustainability continues to be an integral part of your growth strategy and with that it informs the increasing complexity of your operations and productivity concern.”
Investing in People
Average length of service at Rock Fall is over 4 years, given that we have doubled our headcount in the last 5, we are very proud to have a team of people that grow with us. We constantly encourage our team to learn more about our processes, systems and the industry. Formal training and peer support is offered to all staff based on their role in the business. We are a strong advocate for the BSIF and put our customer facing staff through the Safety Supply Accreditation Course.
If you would like more info on our environmental & ethical commitments policy documents please get in touch.