Sustainability And The Environment

Our approach, consistent with our environmental management policy, is that we will offer you:

  • Products from manufacturers who can demonstrate a credible commitment to manufacturing and distribution in an environmentally sustainable and responsible fashion (the ‘sustainability story’).
  • Products which themselves are sustainable in use.
  • Products bearing recognised green accreditation.

Knowing what to believe

No wonder that there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding about whether a cleaning, hygiene or catering product can be truly regarded as ‘environmental friendly’, given that all manufacturers will claim that their products are ‘green’ in one way or another.

The question to be asked is if any product without one of the major green certifications can ever genuinely lay claim to being ‘green’?  Yet by virtue of their nature, some products fall outside the usual criteria by which they can achieve a green certification, although on all other sustainability criteria, they can probably be regarded as ‘green’. Many concentrated cleaning chemicals fall into this category for example.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability can broadly be defined as  meeting current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The general concept of improving sustainability is simple: reduce consumption (to preserve the world’s natural resources) and reduce emissions (to minimise pollution). Consumption and emissions will occur during a product’s manufacture, transportation, use and disposal. In many cases, consumption and emissions are linked, so reducing consumption in one area will bring benefits in other areas.

The sustainability concept is very simply illustrated by the following chart (reproduced from the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association website).

sustainable life cycle

Sustainability story

As part of our evaluation as to whether or not to stock products from a particular manufacturer, we will evaluate their green credentials from publicly available documentation, such as websites and environmental policy statements.

We have even taken this one step further by attempting to document the ‘sustainability story’ for every product we supply, essentially a full ‘cradle to grave’ examination of how the product began life as a set of raw materials and the final stage of distribution into one of our warehouses.  Completed  stories are stored with our product catalogue, which is available to registered users of My Cherwell Online.

Read an example sustainability story for Katrin Basic 1 Ply Natural Zig Zag Hand Towel (3620).

Driving lower costs through sustainability

We believe that sustainability is not only good for the environment, but also good for business. That’s why we have a smart sustainability programme that aims to reduce our environmental impact, improve our operational efficiency, and create value for our stakeholders. One of our key goals for this is to achieve and maintain zero waste to landfill. This means that we will divert all our waste from landfills and find alternative ways to reuse, recycle, or recover it. By doing so, we will save costs, conserve resources, and contribute to a circular economy.

In addition, our 14001 environmanagment programme promotes the use of suppliers  who themselves operate in a sustainable fashion (such as reducing the amount of outer packaging on products) and we encourage our customers to use products (such as chemical concentrates), which effectively combine the principles of good ‘cost in use’ and sustainability. Our environmental policy statement describes the broad principles that we apply to environmental management.

Although all our products are selected from suppliers who can demonstrate a commitment to manufacturing in an environmentally sustainable manner, we have also assembled a range of green products for customers seeking products which are explicitly certified as environmentally friendly and sustainable in use.

Reducing costs, sustainability

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Zero Waste to Landfill logo

Measuring performance with EcoVadis

We are proud to announce that Cherwell has been awarded the Silver level by EcoVadis, an internationally recognised sustainability rating platform.

This means that we are among the top 25% of companies in terms of our environmental, social and ethical performance. EcoVadis evaluates more than 85,000 organisations across 160 countries and 200 industries every year, based on 21 criteria covering four themes: Environment, Labour and Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement.

By achieving the Silver level, we have demonstrated our commitment to improving our sustainability practices and delivering positive impacts for our stakeholders and the planet. We will continue to work hard to maintain and enhance our sustainability performance in the future.

Silver EcoVadis award