Ethical Trading, Environmental and Sustainability Policy

Russums is a supplier of catering equipment and clothing to the hospitality industry.

Leading clothing and equipment brands are complemented by our own products to offer a comprehensive selection of quality goods. We manufacture items of clothing at our premises in Rotherham and also have an in-house embroidery department. The majority of our business would be classed as mail order with orders being placed by telephone, fax and e-mail. Goods are despatched by parcel carrier or locally by our own transport. We produce a product catalogue and also have a fully functioning website on which customers can place orders.

Russums is committed to trading relationships which are both commercially viable and ethical.

We seek to ensure that our products are manufactured to the highest technical and ethical standards by developing long term trading relationships with our suppliers and customers.

We support fair trade and seek to operate with customers, manufacturers and sub-contractors who comply with our ethical trading policy.

The minimum labour standards we set to exceed and expect our own suppliers to comply with or exceed are as follows:

• Employment should be freely chosen

• Working conditions are safe and hygienic

• Child labour is not used

• Wages and Benefits meet the minimum national legal standards

• Working hours comply with national laws

• No discrimination is practiced, and human and civil rights are respected

Russums acts in an ethical manner above and beyond basic legal requirements.

As a Company we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are fully committed to complying with or exceeding current legislation. We have studied the legislative guidelines issued by the Department of the Environment and confirm that all the relative standards are being met or exceeded.

The Company also wishes to incorporate the Government definition of sustainable development, namely the maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment; prudent use of natural resources; social progress which recognises the needs of all people, and effective protection of the environment, whilst meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As best policy it is our stated intention to reduce and prevent pollution wherever possible. We have taken measures to reduce waste in all areas of the business. For example: material waste is recycled where possible; toilets have been fitted with water reducing flushing systems; low voltage lighting has been fitted where practical; power usage is kept to a minimum during and outside working hours; off-cuts in material produced in the manufacturing process are recycled and re-used to produce other items such as child aprons or NHS kit bags; packaging received from suppliers is utilised for our own deliveries and what cannot be re-used is collected on a weekly basis by a specialist-recycling firm, a heating monitoring control system has also been installed to offer both greater control and more efficient use of the current heating hardware.

We continue to invest in machinery, updating embroidery and sewing machines to support our own production with new models (2022). Even our paper usage has been reviewed, dual used where possible, as well as a change to a lighter weight, off white colour, recycled product for internal printing where paper is still needed to be used. The move has also saved money due to a cheaper price, is adequate quality for purpose, and is finally recycled into packaging through our P5 level cross cut shredder for use as packaging in our parcel despatches.

Latest initiatives for 2022/23 include replacing our office lighting with the latest LED panels and all warehouse lighting to LED battens (with an improvement in lighting quality, reduction in energy and heat output); further reduction in plastic use and increased recycled plastic element in bags, and swap from brown plastic tape to brown paper tape for sealing despatch boxes.

Our primary delivery partner is DPD. We are delighted that DPD have a clean, green strategy and vision, particularly through developing deliveries with electric vehicles. In 2021 10% of their fleet were electric, with a target of moving from 1.3 million deliveries in 2019 to be over 100 million by 2025. All-electric vehicle delivery is provided to 10 UK towns, with plans for 30 towns by the end of 2023, including Glasgow.

Through 2022 and 2023, their fleet of diesel HGVs are being switched to Gd+ HVO, an advanced hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel. In 2022 they have won awards for ‘Supply Chain Initiative of the Year’ for their work on reducing carbon emissions at the National Sustainability Awards, as well as the Clean Fleet Van Operator and Urban Operator at the Motor Transport Awards.

Employees are encouraged to share transport to and from work and for journeys undertaken during the working day. Company vehicles are properly maintained to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum emissions.

Aside from our own in-house production, our primary Russums own-brand manufacturing partner is Portwest, a global manufacturer and innovator of workwear, safety wear and PPE. Portwest production is through ultra-modern factories offering full control over quality, lead times and ethical sourcing. 85% of garments carry the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 label, garments are packed in recyclable packaging and use FSC cartons. Their fully owned factories are audited using the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA), certified to the WRAP gold Standard (the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production programme), and ISO 14001 environmentally accredited. Packaging initiatives also include using recycled LDPE polybags (which are GRS certified, sourced from LDPE films, a material created from post-consumer plastic waste, and fully recyclable) bamboo swing tickets (short growth cycle, better for soils, recyclable and a reduced card size) and development of sugarcane poly bags (a plant based by-product of sugar production, making zero waste, certified, environmentally friendly ink, strong as plastic and also 1005 recyclable).

Russums’ own new product initiatives include the launch (2022) of our ‘Ocean range’ of more sustainable workwear. Manufactured by us in our own sewing rooms in Rotherham and sporting the ‘Russums Ocean’ tag, this new range of aprons and hats utilises recycled polyester and responsibly sourced cotton. The polyester is treated with ‘Ciclo’, enabling it to break down in a more environmentally friendly way much like natural fibres instead of ending up in micro particles in the ocean and landfill. Domestic production also reduces airmiles and the garments’ carbon footprint.

In 2021 we partnered with Forest Carbon as a member of their ‘Carbon Club’, an initiative that allows organisations the opportunity to address their carbon footprint in a long lasting and effective way by mitigating emissions.

‘Offsets’ are not a silver bullet solution that allow businesses to emit more, however they do have a role to play in funding the creation of new carbon sequestering ecosystems which have a key role in reducing carbon levels and increasing localised resilience to climate change.

Forest Carbon invests in nature-based climate solutions - projects in Woodland Creation and Peatland Restoration - for example woodland at Swinside Mill in the Scottish Borders.

Woodland schemes are certified by the Woodland Carbon Code, supported by the UK government and internationally recognised by ICROA (International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance).

Peatland schemes are certified by the Peatland Code which is supported by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). These certification codes assure the additionality and permanence of each tonne of carbon stored.

Not only will these project sequester carbon over time, but they also host multiple co-benefits supporting biodiversity, flood mitigation, water remediation and community green space.

Please follow this link to see the current total of trees planted and carbon captured through our membership:

Forest Carbon - Russums

In addition to investing in UK projects, the Carbon club also enables members to support VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) Certified international offsets, such as rainforest protection, agroforestry in developing countries and peatland protection.

These projects not only create carbon savings but also support employment and create community benefits. Russums has opted for a balanced membership to support both UK and international projects.

The Company is fully committed to continuous improvement and undertakes to review its environmental policy on an annual basis with a view to continual improvement.

Employees are encouraged to follow best practices in regards to environmental issues and we welcome feedback on how we can continue to cut down on and recycle waste, reduce energy use and maintain a good working environment within the work place (for example, a simple policy supporting houseplants in the offices).

Overall, we have chosen an approach of practical actions over complicated recording and administration. Background research into addressing a carbon footprint covered the concerns of simply ‘greenwashing’ without change - we hope that by making step by step improvements in sustainability and minimising resource use will deliver a more positive environmental impact.

Sally Russum

Quality Manager

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