Social & Environmental
Trainspotters is perennially committed to having a positive social and environmental impact. Better Business is at the heart of who we are and what we do.
“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance”. Ban Ki-Moon
Trainspotters is formally committed to giving 2% of annual turnover via its Designed To Give Policy.
Trainspotters’ Social Policy is based on three simple principles:
Social & Environmental Transformation | Strength in Community | Democracy & Human Rights
We have built charity giving into our business model because we want to see social and environmental transformation. This is why we have partnered with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and ‘Project Beaver’, supporting local re-wilding through the re-introduction of these incredible animals.
Similarly, our community giving efforts are intimately tied to what we value as a company. It is very important to us to give back to the community where we can, so we want to use what we have as a business (particularly our facilities) to strengthen community ties and grow a local support network.
And as equally important, we also want to see democracy and human rights restored in parts of the world that are in conflict for political reasons. When there are huge global crises in the world, we endeavour to get involved and support how we can.
- Social & Environmental Transformation: 1%
Our chosen strategic charity partner is Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
All of our sales are linked directly to GWT’s Project Beaver, a re-wilding programme which re-introduces the eco-engineer beaver back into the local habitat, as set out in their 5-year plan. Each quarter we give 1% of our gross sales to Project Beaver.
Once native to Gloucestershire, beavers were lost centuries ago…
Imagine a Gloucestershire where we have new and restored wetlands overflowing with life, from beetles, fish and frogs, to bats and birds like the kingfisher. A county where our rivers and streams are far better at resisting drought and protecting our communities from catastrophic flooding.
The Eurasian beaver was hunted to extinction long ago. Now, we have a chance to bring them back.
Beavers belong in Gloucestershire just as much as barn owls, hares and our other much-loved native wildlife but, crucially, they are also a keystone species. In fact, beavers are key to our hopes of reversing the decline of Gloucestershire’s wildlife, restoring our wetland ecosystems and helping to combat the effects of climate change.
These ‘ecosystem engineers’ are vital to our landscape: creating wildlife habitats, reducing the threat of flooding and providing a host of other natural solutions. Their natural instinct to build dams turns fast flowing streams into a mosaic of wetland habitats, with deep pools and trickling brooks that benefit many other species.
The trees they coppice and fell create wildlife-rich beaver meadows with a variety of mosses, grasses and flowers by allowing sunlight to reach the woodland floor. By slowing the flow of water in river catchments, beavers also help to mitigate climate impacts like drought and flooding.
And, they do all of this work to restore and transform entire ecosystems for free – can you imagine the time, effort and cost it would take for us to try and match these natural ‘ecosystem engineers’?
- Strength in Community: 0.5%
As a business, we are committed to having a positive impact in the communities where we work and live.
This is a combination of working with local charities and community-facing organisations. We donate 0.5% or more of our annual turnover via value in kind products & services, our time and the use of our mill space.
For example, over the last 3 years we have supported the following projects, some of which are ongoing:
- Supplied lights to aid the regeneration of The Stroud Sub-Rooms as a community arts venue
- Supplied lights to aid the regeneration of new cafe facilities at Whiteshill & Ruscombe village shop
- Provided free use of our facilities & outside space to Stroud Yard Trail a community yard sale; for those who don’t have their own communal area. This includes providing welfare facilities, waste removal and catering options.
- Provided free use of our facilities to start-up/ micro catering businesses who produce high-quality low-cost healthy meals which are sold to the local community. This includes free use of our kitchen and outside space. Previous, current and future participants include: Rich Pickings, Salt Bakehouse, Coffee Lada, Mamma’s Family Meals and The Throat Pop-Up Pub.
In the coming year, we plan to support several projects including:
Ruscombe Chapel & School room – provide products as part of the regeneration of the Grade II listed chapel space and School Room used as a community hub for various events and community services. In addition, support for local artists Dan Stirling, Alex Box and Philip Delamore alongside RATS theatre group with various in kind offerings.
- Democracy & Human Rights: 0.5%
We truly believe in democracy, social justice and human rights. When we see these core values being challenged in other parts of the world, we feel compelled to act in the best way we can.
Trainspotters charitable giving in this area is a commitment of 0.5% or more of our annual turnover, as set out in our Designed to Give Policy.
Historically we have supported Care For Calais, a well-established organisation supporting refugees in the Calais camps, becoming the local drop-off point for donated clothing & equipment. We took several vehicles and delivered the collected donations to the central Care For Calais distribution centre. We funded the group trip of 8 volunteers (including Trainspotters staff) for a 3 day relief effort, paying for ferry crossings, transport, fuel, hotels and subsistence.
We also gave to emergency fund offering humanitarian support in the Ukraine at the very beginning of the most recent conflict which began in 2022. Now, in the present and future we are supporting direct action in the Ukraine, to resist the Russian invasion which threatens their democracy and in turn the democracy of all global citizens. We are doing this by donating funds from the sale of our products to an organisation that provides protective equipment to a Ukrainian citizens support brigade.
“A healthy democracy requires a decent society; it requires that we are honorable, generous, tolerant and respectful”. Charles W. Pickering
Trainspotters’ Environmental Policy follows three guiding principles – lighting for life, design-led not cost-driven, sustainability with style.
The company started out dealing in nothing but reclaimed fixtures and fittings and a significant proportion of its lighting is still reclaimed and reused.
Trainspotters offer lighting that will last for generations. Sustainability and re-use is something that has always been hardwired into our thinking, and it always will be.
- Buying Policy
Wherever possible we buy recycled, sustainable products and use ethical services. This applies to both our stock and our workplace.
Our salvaged (reclaimed) stock inherently ticks these boxes. For our new stock we are lucky to be working directly with manufacturers allowing us to build in efficiencies throughout the production process thereby minimising the environmental impact.
For example, our glass products are made using 20% recycled glass in furnaces that are fitted with heat exchangers that save 20% on energy consumption. Being designers and producers (rather than re-sellers) ensures we have input throughout the production chain.
We order on a relatively large scale, bringing further and significant efficiencies to production and transportation.
We strive to be a paperless office, using technology to bypass the need for waste paper production. We seek to work with either ethically conscious or BCorp companies, locally wherever possible, such as our BCorp certified Accountants and B1G1 charitable partner.
- Product Packaging
In September 2019 we gained SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) Plastic Free Champion status, meaning we have eliminated single use plastic from our business. More information can be found here.
Our products arrives packed in a combination of the following:
Cardboard Boxing | Brown paper wrapping and cushioning | Brown paper bags | Brown paper tape | Brown gummed paper tape reinforced with natural filament
Around 85% of our packaging is made from recycled materials and 100% of our packaging is recyclable by our customers. These packaging products are FSC certified and certificates can be provided on request.
We will always adapt to future sustainable technology that becomes available for our packaging and shipping solutions.
Trainspotters has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030
- Energy Consumption
Trainspotters aims to reduce energy consumption and employs the following energy saving measures:
- All computers and monitors are switched off when not in use
- All monitors use a low energy screen saver
- All electronic equipment including computers, lights and machinery is switched off when the premises are not in use
- All windows & doors are kept closed in the winter to avoid the loss of heat
- LED bulbs are fitted throughout our premises
- We’re often happy to do it the old-fashioned way and just put our coats on rather than turning the thermostat up!
Future energy projects include the installation of a large PV array on the roof of New Mills to produce more than the company requires in clean renewable energy. The aim is to provide a surplus over and above all business electricity requirements, a surplus that can be fed straight back into the grid. This project is due for completion in 2023.
- Reuse & Recycling
Inbound and outbound re-use includes:
- Approximately 40% of our present stock is reclaimed/ salvaged and reused
- Boxes and void filler on incoming goods are saved and reused on outgoing goods, or recycled
- Timber pallets and crates are adapted and reused to deliver globally
Through our business operations, we also recycle the following:
Paper & Cardboard | Glass & Plastic | Aluminium & Mixed Metals | Batteries | Lightbulbs | Food Waste
85% of our deliveries worldwide are conducted by DPD, selected for their Carbon Neutral policy. Some carbon offsetting is required by DPD however it is a big step in the right direction. More info can be found here
We constantly re-evaluate our courier options and will move to more carbon efficient options as and when they become available, with sustainability trumping cost in our evaluation process.
On a local level we have installed a bike store at our premises and actively encourage staff to cycle through the Cycle to Work scheme. More info can be found here
2021 saw the installation of two Electric Vehicle Charging Points and 2022 welcomed our first electric hybrid works vehicle.
- The future is bright
And, after a period of time consolidating our manufactured designs, we will now be expanding our range of reclaimed lighting – reuse being one of the most environmentally beneficial things we can be involved in.
Trainspotters is currently undergoing a Carbon Footprinting exercise as part of the BCorp Impact Assessment process. From the result of his exercise we hope to be able to offset our footprint, further improving our environmental impact; alongside attaining BCorp Certification in 2023.
For more information on the BCorp movement click here