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Personal Responsibility Meets Corporate Responsibility

Posted by Jim MacPhail on

One of the exciting things about developing a new business is that you get to chose how the business will reflect you and your ideals.  We want our business to have a net positive effect on the world. 

There’s no getting around the fact that making and transporting things has an environmental impact, but there is always scope to reduce or mitigate our effects.  Here’s a summary of where we are with our environmental and social responsibility efforts:

 

Materials: 

Our tools are manufactured from steel and aluminium. We collect all of our scrap metal for recycling.  Some of our components could be more cheaply manufactured from plastic, but plastic doesn’t benefit from near the same recyclability.

Steel and aluminium take a lot of energy to produce from raw ore, but once made they’re virtually completely and infinitely recyclable with no loss of performance.  Amazingly, it’s thought that 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use, much of it having been recycled several times already.  Recycling only takes a fraction (about 5% for alu, 25% for steel) of the energy of making the metal from raw ore in the first place.  Around 30% of generic 'new' aluminium and steel comes from recycled metal rather than raw ore.  This amazing recyclability (along with its great strength and durability) is why we make as much as we can from metal.  

 

aluminium steel swarf scrap for recycling

The metal that didn't make it into our tools..


Packaging: 

We aim to avoid extravagant and excessive packaging, and to use easily recyclable paper based materials in favour of single-use plastics as far as possible.  We’ve been packaging larger orders in cardboard ‘pizza’ boxes for a while.  Smaller orders are now packed in manila envelopes rather than plastic ones.  We recently changed all of our cello-tape to paper tape and moved from putting addresses in plastic windows to using self-adhesive address labels to aid recyclability (we still have some issues with the thermal transfer labels used, this is work in progress).   We still use some plastic packaging but will aim to reduce this as time goes on.

plastic and cardboard packaging

Out with the old, in with the new..

 

Energy:

The electricity that powers our workshop is bought from a green energy plan, sourced entirely from renewable energy. At our our base in Scotland there is an abundance of low carbon energy, with wind, hydro, nuclear and biomass making up around 70-80% of the country’s demand.  Scotland is a world leader in offshore wind technology, piggybacking off expertise developed in the North Sea oil industry.

 

General Good Vibes: 

We have committed to investing 1% of our company’s turnover in environmental and social causes from the end of 2018 onwards.  Our first disbursement was made to the Gold Standard, a non-profit that certifies and funds high quality and verifiable carbon reduction and development projects in the developing world.  

 

Biking:

This company grew out of our love of bikes, so it's only natural that we would want to give something back.  We are active supporters of a major local trail centre project, aiming to create a world class mountain biking and adventure sports venue close to our base in Aberdeen.  We have served on this charities board of trustees since it's inception in 2016.  Check out Gravitate North East for more info!

Gravitate North East from Morrocco Media on Vimeo.