Seacourt is the highest scoring B Corp printing company on the planet, they believe in business as a force for good for society.
Fun facts: Seacourt is the winner of the Queens award for sustainable development. They’ve won this three times! In 2017, they were also crowned Europe’s most sustainable SME! No wonder they are recognised as one of the top three leading environmental printers in the world!
Seacourt Managing Director, Gareth Dinnage, joined us for an interview to tell us about Seacourt’s journey and its initiatives. Gareth has been part of Seacourt’s sustainability journey from the very start. He started his journey first as apprentice and then heading up to Sales and Marketing and finally owner and Managing Director.
You’ll learn about:
- Seacourt’s sustainability journey
- Environmental management as a guiding principle for Seacourt and their contributions to the environment
- Seacourt’s journey to understanding their carbon footprint
- Significance of being Net Carbon Zero
- B Corp
- How ISO 9001 and 14001 helps Seacourt run their business
- Understanding your supply chain
Let’s start right back at the beginning of Seacourt’s journey!
Where did Seacourt begin and where did its sustainability journey begin?
Seacourt started in 1946! They were set up as a commercial printing company in Oxford, working with local businesses. Not much changed for them until the mid-90s, when the owners at the time had the good fortune to attend a seminar focused on sustainability.
We know what you must be thinking, whoever put together this seminar must have had incredible foresight, to have looked into commercial impacts and sustainability!
The owners realised that the printing industry is among the fifth largest manufacturing sectors in the UK since 1996…
And that it’s also the fourth worst polluter!
That’s when they decided that they don’t want to be part of the problem, but a part of the solution. This thought marks the moment of a change of goals and priorities for Seacourt. From this point in 1996, the business changed from a linear business model, focusing on outputs, to becoming a value-based business, to considering the impacts on the environment and society, as well as profits.
This marked the magic transformation of Seacourt!
For the last 25 years, their philosophy has been “will this improve the environmental performance of our business. If the answer is “yes!”, then they do it regardless of the financial cost. So, without this fundamental change in mindset, Seacourt would not have been where it is today.
Guiding principle for Seacourt
Environmental management has been a guiding principle for Seacourt for the past 25 years. It’s fundamental and core to the company.
- Seacourt runs on 100% renewal energy (and have done so for decades)
- They invented their own printing process called ‘LightTouch’. This has saved them gallons of fresh litres of water
- Seacourt no longer uses water or chemicals in their printing process!
- They have been zero waste to landfill for over a decade.
- They are carbon positive -and that’s scope 1,2 and 3! What this means, for those of you that aren’t familiar with this concept, is that Seacourt sees their impact in every element that they as a business effect. This includes their supply chain, so as a printing industry, they take their impact all the way back to forestry they use for their natural resources. They consider how trees are transported to the papermill, how papermills are run, the energy this it is run on and much more!
- They consider the end-of-life process by producing a natural material that has a massive recycling rate.
So, when you wrap all of this up in its entirety, Seacourt has created a concept called Planet Positive Thinking -which means that they give back more carbon into the atmosphere than they are responsible for consuming.
Seacourt’s journey to understanding their carbon footprint
A lot of businesses are new to the concept of Net Carbon Zero. So, let’s find out how Seacourt went about understanding what their carbon footprint was.
Seacourt does this by unravelling their entire supply chain and ask challenging questions to their supply chain, such as how they power their plants, what is the carbon impact per tonne of paper they are using, how they transport their materials from the forest and much more never before asked questions! They used the amount of paper they have purchased over a 12-month period and worked with their suppliers to get an accurate carbon impact figure. They created their own methodology and matrix, using the same process to identify the carbon impact figure that they used for their paper, for other areas in their operations, for example their ink.
By this point, Seacourt knew their carbon impact holistically for a 12-month period and sought to work on a regenerative project in the Amazonian basin. In this project, Seacourt safeguards 86,000 hectares of endangered forestry and are reforesting 12,000 hectares of deforested lands. They also have a social element where they support a programme with indigenous people. So, this is how Seacourt maintains their Planet Positive Thinking element, as they give back more than they consume in everything they have an impact on.
Significance of being Net carbon zero
Of course, we are conscious of the fact that we are in a lockdown where many businesses are struggling financially. So, this is for those of you thinking “is it going to be really costly for me to be Net Carbon Zero or Carbon positive?”. Gareth emphases the need to understand the impact of sustainability, to have a strategic plan and an idea of what goal you want to reach and how you will achieve it. Otherwise, your business will get left behind! Other business will pick up this leadership agenda and show exactly what business can do. Gareth identifies these businesses as the ones to be the most successful. This is already evident among investors refusing to work with fossil fuel-based business. That’s why business need to act responsibly to stay ahead of the game!
How management systems help Seacourt run their business
Seacourt has been certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for years. These management tool helps Seacourt set the business up to the highest standards and ensure continual improvement. The quality environmental management system provides a framework for delivering sustainable best practice.
Now let’s move on to talk about B Corp!
B Corp is the global movement that aligns businesses who share the same philosophy, which is that businesses can and should be a force for good. Certified B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The unifying goal of B Corps is that the main driver is stakeholder value, not shareholder value.
Understanding your supply chain
For those of you who have not yet looked into their supply chain, Gareth recommends:
- Observing and controlling your building in terms of energy efficiency (make sure its insulated and you use renewable power)
- Then send out supplier surveys to find out what your suppliers are doing or working on that you are not aware of
- Then look at your key supply chain and identify if you can start mapping the carbon impact.
These steps would give you key findings and insights that you can use in your goals and strategy.
Contact details for Gareth, if you have any enquires or would simply like to connect with him, get in contact using one of the ways below:
Website URL : www.seacourt.net
Twitter handle: @seacourtltd
LinkedIn handle: Garethdinnage
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