We keep coming back to this sentiment. It shapes who we are. But now more than ever it is important to put this sentiment into action, and make genuine steps towards change – no matter how big or small those steps may be.
This year we want to publicly recognise that sending beautiful brochures to our customers has an impact. The principal impact of course is inspiration and excitement, not least after a quiet year and one of reflection. But flip that coin over and the impact shows a footprint. One that this year we have significantly and purposefully reduced, a footprint that we acknowledge and expect our whole supply chain to, and one that we will compensate for too.
One of our core values at Explore is being “responsible in everything we do”, and this needs to run through every decision we make in the brochure process, right down to choosing our suppliers, the glue and the ink.
The brochures and envelopes are printed on responsibly-sourced paper from sustainably-managed forests. We use environmentally friendly water-based glue and plant-based ink, and we don’t use foils or UV finishes. Once finished with, the brochures can be easily recycled (or even better, passed onto a friend).
We mail our brochures in paper envelopes, we’ve removed the film in the window so that it is all plastic free and recyclable. This year we’ve chosen paper envelopes over compostable bags after comparing the energy required in both processes and access to recycling over composting facilities. Each year this decision will be reassessed as technologies advance.
This year our drive to be plastic free continues down the supply chain as our shipments of brochures to our travel agent partners will also be going out in paper or cardboard.
When we choose the suppliers we work with on our brochures, it’s not just about cost, in fact some of our decisions are more costly. As part of the tender process we ask about companies' sustainable policies, what they are doing to reduce their own footprint and how they can help us make improvements each year.
We’re proud to be working in collaboration with our suppliers; they’re on the journey with us. None of us are perfect, but we’re making progress and we plan to go even further next year.
This is the normal way of decarbonising, the ideal way as it allows you to have a starting point and then when you make the reductions you can identify the impact you’ve saved. We’ll do this next year! This year we are doing some of our measurements in hindsight and learning from the process, we have to start somewhere after all. For the measurements where we feel slightly out of our depth (like calculating a carbon footprint of getting the raw materials to the printers for example!), we are working with a carbon consultant for accuracy.
We do know that over the last three years we have dramatically cut back the amount of paper that we use for brochures. Rather than producing five different UK brochures, we now produce three. We have reduced the number of brochures printed by 35% since 2019, and we only send brochures to people who are opted-in for print marketing materials. Customers can opt-out at any time and view a digital brochure instead. We’ve also cut back the number of pages and, where possible, we direct people to the online brochure or our website.
We are so proud of our brochure and we want our customers to see it, feel it, and fall in love with it. To take responsibility for our decision to produce, print and mail our brochures, and to compensate for all the areas we couldn’t reduce our impact, we will be offsetting the entire brochure production. From the paper to print, to landing on a doorstep and everything in between.
This is the first year we’ve done this and, as with everything new, we’re still learning. We’re working with a consultant to verify our calculations, and where we don’t know for sure we will always over estimate. We don’t yet have all the calculations in, but once we do, you’ll be the first to know.
We are proud to be carbon offsetting with ClimateCare (the highest-ranked B Corp in the UK), which delivers some of the largest and most successful carbon offsetting programmes in the world.
If you’d like to speak to us or have any suggestions, please drop us a line at email@example.com.
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