CSR Report 2019
We are delighted to present The Senator Groups sixth Sustainability Report. This report aims to fully package together all of the various strands to our constantly evolving business.
At The Senator Group, we believe our success as a company is a culmination of an excellent, dedicated and skilled workforce, a strong belief and constant desire to improve. This statement is true for all parts of the business, whether it be product range, distribution channels or our approach to the environment
The Senator Group is now a truly global brand. Our environmental and social responsibilities have grown as we have. This report highlights all the good things we’ve been doing along the way. Many of these items will probably be new, even to our closest partners/employees, as we do not openly advertise these. We do things as we believe they are the right thing to do, not because they present public opportunity.
We see a certain amount of ‘green-wash’ presently in the media, with many companies claiming they do the correct thing, when really they are only scratching the surface of what we believe is possible. At the Senator Group, we realise that sustainability is a journey, with no real end point; it’s a constantly changing landscape which challenges us to continually evolve and improve.
Like all companies, The Senator Group has found the economic climate difficult over the last few years, however, we have not used this as an excuse to downplay the importance of the environment. In fact, the current climate has made us even more determined to conduct our business in a more environmentally and socially responsible way. We’ve invested our time, money and effort into what we believe is the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly office furniture manufacturing operation in the world.
Our future will see the continuation of heavy investment across all disciplines, bringing innovation and progressive products to market. But above all, we will strive to maintain impeccable service levels, not accepting second best in anyway.
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The Senator Group has its own specialist division, Sustain, which handles all of its own waste and waste material from furniture industry. Initially beginning over a decade ago, in the last few years we have merged two recycling centres into one dedicated recycling operation. We process both packaging waste and furniture recycling at our 15,000 ft2 purpose built recycling centre.
The Senator Group ensures that for every piece of material that it puts in to the market there is a route for recycling the equivalent piece of redundant material at the end of its life. Back-loaded transport is utilised wherever possible to bring back all cardboard, plastic and polystyrene packaging, as well as customer’s old furniture.
All products packaging is 100% recyclable and we have a system in place for us to reuse as much packaging a reasonably practical. In the past five years we have reused over 500,000 units of packaging, with a further 3,700 tonnes recycled. No packaging that has been returned to Sustain in the past five years has ended up in landfill.
Any furniture that has been classed as redundant by customers is sent back to Sustain, irrespective of who originally manufactured the item. Woods, metals, plastics, fabrics and foams are separated, segregated and recycled. The customer is then issued a certificate afterwards illustrating the tonnage of materials recycled and emissions/carbon they have saved.
Furniture that is returned to Sustain does not end up landfill either. In the past five years more than 351,000 items of furniture were recycled, with a combined weight of more than 20,000 tonnes.
Too often, design is the last function to consider the environment. The Senator Group’s in-house design team understand and embrace their role in the overall sustainability process, and we believe good design is the starting point for sustainable products. The aesthetics and functionality of new models/ranges are vitally important, but they should never be developed at the expense of the environment. We believe doing this for all products is
more important than having a dedicated range of ‘green’ products. We use components with higher recycled content and increased recyclability, so less
virgin materials needed to manufacture our products and there is no waste at the end of the product’s life.
The Senator Group works with all suppliers to try and improve sustainability right through the supply chain. The earlier that up-stream sustainability measures are put in place the better. All suppliers are assessed for their environmental accreditations. Any suppliers which aren’t up to scratch are offered time and advice to achieve the set sustainability criteria. As a bare minimum we expect all suppliers to continually monitor their sustainability policies The Senator Group always prefers to use local suppliers (within 50 miles) wherever possible. Not only does this reduce the embedded carbon footprint of products, but also keeps local people employed.
The Senator Group utilises thousands of tonnes of material each year producing approximately one million items. Therefore, the manufacturing processes and facilities need to be state of the art to maximise efficiencies and minimise waste material, time and labour. CAD and CAM techniques are used to maximise the yield on raw material, and so minimise any waste material in the process. All waste material is reused, where applicable, before it is recycled. The Senator Group spend more on new equipment and machinery than any other office furniture manufacturer in the UK. Usually, the rationale behind new equipment is to either reduce energy or material usage.
We design products that are easy to assemble, disassemble and reassemble, so components can be reused, remanufactured and recycled. For example, plastic components are marked up in accordance with ISO11469:2000 We design products with packaging, logistics and manual handling in mind. For example, our products are now made from lighter weight materials, to maximise the quantity that can be transported at any one time, and to make loading and unloading easier. All our design team have signed up to our policy of designing the most sustainable products, and only using certain materials and manufacturing processes.
The Senator Group’s Global Headquarters is heated by waste materials from a biomass boiler. All the waste wood and sawdust from the Desking factory is burnt to provide heat to the offices and warehouse at the 250,000 sq. ft. facility. At the end of 2015 we installed a new biomass boiler to heat the Seating factory. We also extended the factory and the roof was covered in solar panels The Senator Group is the first manufacturer in the UK furniture industry to work towardsthe ISO50001 Energy Management accreditation at each of its manufacturing sites. Each department has nominated and publicised environmental champions, who are responsible for communicating sustainability objectives to our wide workforce.
In 2016 our main manufacturing sites created 3,821 tonnes of CO2e. Per unit produced this is 17.9 per cent reduction on the previous year.
<<WE NEED UPDATED FIGURES FROM RACHEL BAMFORD FOR 2019>>
A Carbon Footprint is considered the quantifiable means of measuring a product or company’s impact on the environmental; it is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organisation, event, product or person. There is no standard for a furniture industry product Carbon Footprint, however, The Senator Group uses common sense to minimise supplier delivery costs, vehicle mileage and companywide/commuting travel, as well as reducing energy and material usage during manufacturing. We do produce EPA’s for all products though and these are independently, externally audited to IS104025. The Senator Group publishes Carbon Footprint figures for all models, which is calculated from ‘Goods In’ material to the customer’s door, essentially the activities we can control, measure and reduce.
Foam, Fabric, Leather 52 tonnes
Metals 543 tonnes
Cardboard, Paper 618 tonnes
Plastics 170 tonnes
Wooden Recycled 2,202 tonnes
Wood to Fuel Biomass 3,947 tonnes
*Over 550,000 items of packaging over the last 5 years*
Solar Panels produced 37,426 kwh for 2019
Chairs Recycled 29,480
Chairs Remanufactured 1,848
Pedestals Recycled 6,556
Screens Recycled 5,432
Desks Recycled 16,117
Storage Recycled 6,240
Misc Items Recycled 8,451