The Board recognises its obligations to protect the environment and is committed both to achieving the required environmental standards across all the activities of the Group and to minimising its environmental impact. The management teams in both the North American and UK businesses assess and monitor the potential impact of operations on the environment. Sustainability, energy consumption and waste management are key areas of focus.

Printed marketing materials such as catalogues use paper sourced from sustainable forests, conforming to Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) requirements.

In 2017 a major capital project was the installation of a LED lighting system at our distribution centre in Oshkosh. The new LED fixtures use 50% less energy than the fluorescent bulbs they replaced. LED is essentially maintenance-free and the fixtures will last at least five times longer than fluorescent. In addition, LED has a much smaller impact on the environment compared to fluorescent bulbs which are hazardous due to mercury and phosphor. We have received very positive feedback from our team members who appreciate the brighter working environment (equivalent to daylight) which makes it easier to colour match, helping with quality in our embroidery operation. Finally, we were able to repurpose the fluorescent fixtures that we removed by donating them to small businesses and workshops who were able to upgrade from even older, less efficient lighting solutions than the fluorescent bulbs we replaced.

During the year, a committee on sustainability was formed in the US business under the acronym SMART – (Sustainability. Making A Renewable Tomorrow). This initiative kicked off with a major upgrade in the recycling of waste materials across the business, taking advantage of advanced single stream recycling capability. The initial results of this have been very positive, and the SMART programme has been well received across the business, particularly in forums on our in-house social media platform. Further sustainability initiatives are planned for 2018 and beyond.