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Five Minutes With... Louise Williams

Mar 6, 2024|

In ‘Five Minutes With…’ we share the stories of our Bisley colleagues and business partners, allowing you to get to know them a little better. In this feature, we talk to Louise Williams, our E-Commerce Manager, as she discusses how online customers are making more sustainable choices when it comes to their purchases and how we work continuously to ensure that our products are as green as possible.

Working on the e-commerce side of the business, what changes have you noticed in the priorities of online customers when it comes to making sustainable choices?

Customers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about what constitutes sustainable working practices. They expect, and rightly so, companies they trust to operate in a way that shows commitment to their staff, community and to the wider environment, and to be able to provide evidence in support of these commitments. We often receive enquiries about how and where our products are made and how they are packaged and delivered, which I love as it gives me the opportunity to talk about a subject I feel very passionately about.

How do we work to ensure that our products are as green as possible?

Of course, the selection of which materials we use plays an important part, but for us to manufacture in a truly sustainable way, there is so much more to consider. We must ensure that we can manufacture our products as efficiently as possible to a high standard, so every element needs careful consideration. Our sustainable practices start right from the beginning of the product process - from drawing and design, through to production, and then on to logistics. Each individual aspect of this journey impacts on the customer experience which in turn, contributes to an overall more sustainable business.

Have we improved our delivery service to be more efficient?

Our delivery service is continuously reviewed as it is such an important part of the whole customer experience. Getting this right can often be a challenge but it is all about balance. We always look to deliver in the greenest way we can (planning routes carefully to optimise fill rates and reduce carbon footprint) and we’re continually looking for ways we can reduce product packaging as much as possible to support this.

However, one of the most important considerations is minimising the risk of damage occurring while in transit, because having to send out replacements is a less environmentally friendly option than ensuring our packaging is robust enough to withstand the journey.

There are also many innovative packaging solutions available now, but it is important that we research any option thoroughly to ensure that it is actually a sustainable one. That is one of the main reasons why we’ll never be at a point where we can say “that’s it, we’re done - we’ve reached all our goals.” Sustainability by its very nature must be an ever-evolving process.

How do we support charities and our local community?

We sponsor various local sports teams as well as donating products to charities and local community projects. Earlier this year, we sent over £50,000 worth of products and workwear to support Ukraine. We also donate a proportion of revenue from sales of our scrap steel to a local charity.

Why is this so important?

It’s important because it’s the right thing to do. As a manufacturer, we understand there are essential parts of our production that requires energy consumption and generate secondary materials, for example. Like many other companies, we are making strides towards achieving net zero ahead of target. However, we want to go beyond simply offsetting any negative impact due to our production. We want to contribute positively and give back in meaningful ways. Our focus has shifted to donating financially and in other ways too. We are working to become more actively involved with the charities we support and our local community. This not only benefits the cause but also our own well-being in feeling that we are doing something good!

How can we further educate and engage our people when it comes to our sustainability initiatives?

We must educate and listen, really listen to what is important to our people and their well-being. When people feel heard, that there is equity and inclusion, and we are demonstrating that in our actions, engagement will naturally gather momentum. It’s a very exciting time for Bisley!

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