Our Environmental Policy
Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility
We're increasingly seeking out ways to ensure our commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability remains at the forefront of our daily business practices. There are numerous strategies we've employed over the last ten years that enable us to do this, not just in terms of increasing our awareness within our own team, but also in encouraging our customers and suppliers to use resources in a responsible and efficient manner, one that supports and sustains the long term protection of the environment.
Reducing the heat on Global Warming
At WBC we're committed to playing our part in reducing global warming. Acting responsibly without compromising on quality is an ongoing goal for us. Our aim is to use sustainable materials where we can whilst complying with industry standards.
In 2006 we made the decision to pay some much needed attention to our green conscience, purchasing 61 acres of land in the Bordeaux region of France. We set about implementing an ecologically sound and maintainable scheme to help shrink our carbon footprint. And for the first time offered our customers the chance to get in on the act and unleash their inner eco-warrior. Throughout 2009 we planted a tree on our plot for every order placed over £125 ex. VAT. For orders over £250 ex. VAT which incorporate products from our transit packaging for wine range, we planted an EXTRA TREE.
With a staggering 30,000 trees planted on the equivalent of 42 Wembley size football pitches, we have planted an average of 192 trees per week for the last three years. Our team of forestry consultants tend the land, and ensure the right trees are planted in the right soil, so that over the next 20 - 40 years our plantation can flourish from saplings into mature Oaks and Pines. Advisors have calculated that our 30,000 trees will each absorb an average of 11kg of CO2 per year. In theory therefore, the plantation should absorb around 319 tonnes of C02 per annum.
To put that into perspective - that’s the equivalent of filling 79 hot air balloons or 3688 double-decker buses, every year!
Opposite our woodland plot lies a medieval chapel, a sacred monument famous for its position on the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella, more recently cited in the novel 'The Pilgrimage' by Paulo Coelho. It is vital that this treasured site and the surrounding flora and fauna is preserved, so we take great pride in conserving the neighbouring land and maintaining its presence of tranquillity for generations to come.
The forest will be constantly monitored and managed to ensure maximum carbon/CO2 capture as an ongoing initiative with a percentage of WBC profit invested each year in conservation and planting. As our trees grow, so will our project, wherever possible we’ll seek to acquire more land on which to extend our plantation.
Helping our customers make the right choices
Helping our customers make the right choices
WBC is committed to ensuring that all the timber used in the course of its business has been sourced with the least possible damage to the natural environment. Importantly, no tropical hardwoods are used in any of our products. Wooden products from European suppliers use timber from verifiable sources that meet the minimum standards of good forest management. Wooden products from China are made from raw materials sourced locally or from Russia. We have worked very closely with two factories in China for a number of years and have seen real improvements. The majority of wood suppliers that we use conform to international standards and supply us with FSC(Forest Stewardship Council) certificates to verify forest management and chain of custody.
Wherever possible, WBC uses recycled material or material with a high recycled content. However there are minimum quality standards that we expect of our products and where recycled material would compromise this, we would use virgin board. Virgin board contains no recycled material; it is however, 100% recyclable.
Our polystyrene/polythene products do not contain any CFC's and the production process has no more of an effect on the environment than a printed cardboard product. Polystyrene can be reused, recycled or incinerated very efficiently. Whilst these products do not biodegrade, modern landfill sites are not designed to 'biodegrade' as this process could release harmful gases or liquids into the environment. We are evaluating whether we can use more recycled content in the production of our polystyrene products and will introduce the maximum we can over the short term.
Decorative Shred & Fill
Crinkle Cut™ and Very Fine Cut™ products are made from recycled paper but the minimum recycled content varies from colour to colour. Where applicable, we have listed the minimum recycled content under each product in the decorative shred section. All of our shred and fill products are 100% recyclable.
All of our wicker products come from China and are made from steamed willow. Willow is a sustainable plant grown and cropped bi-annually. The cultivation of willow and the basic production of wicker products is organised by villages located within the willow growing areas. The production of willow related products is the villager's main source of income. The villages all work in co-operation with a larger central finishing factory which they supply with their part finished wicker products. The factory is responsible for taking orders, organising production in the villages and then assembling and finishing the goods before packing into containers. Traditionally, darker willow products are finished using a varnish or stain to achieve their colour. At WBC, we've found a way of achieving the same dark colour using absolutely no stains or varnishes, but instead boiling the willow for five hours and sealing with a water based sealant – an all round natural and eco-friendly process. By 2010 we achieved our target, moving all wicker products over to this method; since then no artificial stains or harmful chemicals have been used on any of our wicker product, regularly auditing our factories to ensure the highest standards are adhered to.
Jute products are derived from a sustainable plant which is farmed extensively in India and Bangladesh. Like Wicker, Jute products tend to be made by villagers within the area where cultivation takes place. Part finished and finished orders are then sent to a distributor who will finish and pack the goods for export. 100% Jute bags are both reusable and biodegradable. However, Jute bags with plastic windows are more problematic. Whilst they can obviously be reused, the recycling aspect is more complicated and we are currently looking at whether there is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the clear plastic window.