At James Cropper, sustainability spans every area of our business and is integral to the way we add value to our customers. We care deeply about delivering greater positive impact; for our planet, the environment, our neighbours and society in general.
Our rich papermaking heritage has always celebrated natural, renewable materials. Today, our strategic goal for sustainable growth takes on many more forms.
Whether that is from upcycling or recycling materials for our sustainable fibre packaging, lightweighting, decarbonisation, or innovative solutions in the green energy sector, we continue to evolve our business as we work to reduce our effect on the environment.
As the world changes and evolves, so too does our focus on sustainability; it has been, and will remain, a central element of how we do business.
The three pillars of our sustainability strategy, aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals are: Sustainable Manufacturing, People and Society, and Responsible Business Practices underpinned by 9 priority areas.
Progress on our sustainability commitments can be found in the Environment, Social and Governance section of our most recent Annual Report 2023 - ESG.
Decarbonisation is seen as one of the most urgent and important actions to undertake. We have a robust decarbonisation roadmap in place for our manufacturing sites and we are already implementing the changes needed to cut our natural gas use by 25% by 2025. Work is also commencing to understand how we will fully decarbonise and support our ambition to be net zero by 2050 across our entire supply chain.
Our commitment to net zero has driven a programme to understand and rethink how we consume and manage energy. A crucial element of this is a significant reduction in our primary energy usage and a move to renewable energy sources. We currently have one of the UK's largest roof mounted PV systems and we have attained planning permission to build a new Low Carbon Energy Centre, which will enable us to electrify our papermaking processes over the coming years..
Developing products from sustainable sources that offer benefits in use and support customers, also benefits consumers in living more sustainably and reducing their carbon footprint.
Today all purchased electricity for our Burneside site is 100% renewable
Energy saving investments and upgrades contributed to an 8% reduction fuel consumption in 2022
In 2022 we achieved a 16.6% reduction in our Carbon Footprint
Low Carbon Energy Centre scheduled for 2025
Energy management to ISO 50001
River project set to provide a 44% biodiversity net gain
The Lake District’s rivers are the beating heart of Britain’s waterways. They have been shaped by industry and land management over many centuries, and all watercourses have at some point been modified or altered to create space for farming practices or industry.
The weir removal at Bowston, a project proposed by South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) in agreement with James Cropper who owned the redundant low head dam, was the largest river barrier removal in the UK in 2022.
Removing Bowston weir has helped to re-naturalise this section of the River Kent – an internationally important site of special scientific interest and the primary water source for our operations – improve navigation for migratory species, reduce flood risks for residents and is set to provide a 44% biodiversity net gain.
Water managed in partnership with the Environment Agency
Water is continually recycled during production processes
Waste water is sent directly to our local treatment facility
97% of water abstracted is returned clean to the river
Waste and Resource Management
185 Million disposable cups upcycled into paper products and packaging
James Cropper continues to be recognised as a leading innovator in the recovery of valuable fibre resource, thanks to our CupCycling™ initiative. A new partnership with one of the best plastic reprocessing companies in the UK, now means that the 5% waste plastic removed by CupCycling is being recycled locally into new products rather than going to energy from waste.
This technological step forward, means we have now been able to closed the loop on our CupCycling technology, and achieved our pledge on plastic to the Ellen MacArthur Global Commitment. In 2022, we extracted 103 tonnes of plastic from cup waste.
The CupCycling development comes as we have commissioned new stretch packaging, that protects products from moisture ingress during transport. The new wrap contains 30% recycled content, and due to it's high stretch capability has reduced plastic film wrap use by more than half.
James Cropper paper products are inherently recyclable and recycled (with paper based packaging recycled at a rate of 83%)
Dried waste from site is approved by Environment Agency as a fertiliser on local farms
Our FibreBlend model, supports the goal for paper products to include 50% recovered fibre by 2025
We are dedicated to building a positive safe workplace environment that supports the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of our people
A lasting legacy of the pandemic has been the recognition of the need for a healthier world, with the wellbeing of the communities we depend upon a priority.
In recognition, our employee engagement on wellbeing had a focus on mental health services and support. During this last year we ran mental health awareness campaigns with information and advice provided by the Mental Health Foundation.
We have also developed an employee volunteering policy that allow 2 paid days off a year to do volunteer work in the local community.
We ran a successful pilot scheme with Growing Well, a mental health charity, and this scheme will be rolled out across the business.
On-site gym opened at our Burneside site in June 2022 for free use by any of our people
A cycle to work scheme is offered every year
Improved workplace environment and facilities, including a refresh of the canteen
At James Cropper we are committed to providing meaningful work
At the heart of this commitment is fair pay, even more important in light of the global cost of living crisis.
Mindful of the increasing financial burden being placed on families in the last year, the business offered some help to employees with a one-off payment of £1,000 (£0.6m total) in recognition of the escalating costs that everyone is facing.
Equality and diversity are essential to ensuring we run the business ethically for our valued employees. Our Gender Pay Report ensures transparency of data and our approach to improve equality for current and future employees.
The mean gender pay gap at James Cropper in 2022 was -0.5%. Our continued focus will act as a catalyst, ensuring equality of pay in the workplace.
Supported by our Code of Ethics and Behaviours
To deliver modern business practices and ways of working that are efficient and flexible
We have made a number of enhancements to our family friendly policies and initiatives
Commitment to more opportunities to up-skill for career progression
Adding back to our community
Our commitment extends beyond ensuring economic sustainability and employment. James Cropper undertakes to be a force for good in society, and particularly by making a positive contribution in our local community.
Our Community Support Committee regularly receives requests from schools, charities and organisations seeking support from James Cropper for activities which will benefit the local community. Each year we offer make monetary donations, as well as paper material donations and also support through volunteer work to charities and good causes.
Last year we were thrilled to be able to support the modernisation of our local school library with a cash donation that helped the school build its range of books to encourage a passion for reading with local pupils. With around one quarter of all children leaving primary school in 2022 unable to read to the required standard, this project was close to our heart.
We also work closely with Burneside Community Energy, investing in renewable energy generation. We have one of the UK's largest roof mounted PV systems generating circa 1,000 MWh renewable electricity per annum. All profits from this are used to fund local community projects which include:
A bench and defibrillator in Burneside village
Roof insulation and the installation of solar panels on St Oswald’s primary school
Setting up allotments in the village and contributing to the Clean River Kent Campaign (CRKC).
We have led the way in manufacturing materials since 1845
Through the application of our intellectual property and innovative technologies, our smart solutions work to reduce our impact, and that of our customers on the environment.
A fantastic example is giving pre-loved denim cotton a new lease of life with the launch of Rydal Apparel. This beautiful paper for packaging is an industry first, and affirms our ongoing commitment to world class FibreBlend innovation and creating value from waste.
Another introduction to the portfolio is EcoVeil, a new customisable range of highly porous sustainable nonwoven veils which are produced from naturally derived or recycled fibres. Developed for use in advanced composite aerospace, automotive and sporting good applications.
In addition, Cocoon, the latest moulded champagne wrap for Maison Perrier-Jouet combines an aesthetic inspired by nature with a concern for environmental impact, being 93% lighter than the previous gift box.
To date we have recovered 185 million recycled coffee cups through our zero waste CupCycling facility
50% of the world's fuel cells incorporate our advanced materials
We are guided by best practice for governance, business ethics and risk
At James Cropper we are committed to our core values of Forward Thinking, Responsible and Caring, outlined in our people policy framework. Our values are key to the way we work with our customers, suppliers and employees across the business.
Our Code of Ethics and Behaviours (the Code) provides a guide to the values, behaviours, policies and procedures and the ways of working that are core to James Cropper. All employees are expected to uphold our values and behaviours.
Our People team keep a register to ensure that all employees have received a copy of the Code and that they are aware of, and understand, the responsibility they have to ensure honesty and integrity are maintained wherever we conduct our business.
When assessing risk both external (legal, regulatory, environmental, social and governance) and internal factors are taken into consideration.
Principal risks are outlined in the Risk Management section of our Annual Report
Climate related risks and opportunities form part of the ESG sub-committee agenda
The emerging risk horizon is scanned by the functions and the businesses
Encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices
Our approach to raw material procurement supports sustainable sourcing and supplier partnerships, which in turn provides our customers with the confidence they require on the provenance of materials.
Our commitment to sustainable sourcing is enabled by supply chain certification and transparency. Confirming environmental integrity and social accountability is an increasingly important prerequisite in our upstream supply chains.
During 2022, we implemented our Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC), and to date compliance by key supply chain partners issued with this SCoC is over 90%
100% of the fresh fibre sourced by James Cropper is from responsibly managed forestry, certified to FSC® or PEFC® chain of custody standards. (See Sustainable Fibre Innovation)
From harvest site and pulp mill to end product, we employ effective fibre traceability procedures which provide assurance of the legality of wood, biodiversity and sustainable land use practices throughout.
The James Cropper group have a zero tolerance approach to any form of modern slavery and we are committed to acting in an ethical manner and with integrity and transparency in our business dealings.
We use submission and feedback from ratings such as EcoVadis to learn and improve our approach across the sustainability agenda.
James Cropper has joined Canopy’s Pack4Good initiative. Pack4Good works with global brands and innovators to address the massive and growing forest footprint of paper packaging.
There are innovative solutions that exist right now that change this market equation to one that benefits both industry and the planet. Solutions utilising alternative fibres, including agricultural and even textile waste, to make strong, attractive, and versatile packaging, while taking pressure off forests and enabling a circular economy.
The companies joining Pack4Good are demonstrating the type of ‘out-of-the-box’ leadership and innovative thinking to transform paper packaging supply chains, scale-up sustainable solutions and protect and manage our forests responsibly.
Ellen MacArthur Global Commitment
Eliminate, Innovate, Circulate
Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, The New Plastics Economy initiative brings together key stakeholders to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, starting with packaging.
James Cropper were amongst the first 250 companies to become a signatory to the new Global Commitment. There are now more than 850 companies and retailers who have committed to increase recycled content in their packaging to an average of 25% by 2025.
As a supplier to the packaging industry, James Cropper has signed up and specifically committed to support the Global Commitment.
Most specifically we are supporting customers to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through the supply of moulded fibre, plastic free, packaging and other paper alternatives.
Read more about our pledge to the Global Commitment, and progress to date.
Walpole Sustainability Signatory
British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto
The Manifesto defines the issues that matter the most to the luxury sector - circular economy innovation, environmental stewardship, supply chain excellence and workplace equality - with 12 aspirations designed to establish a pathway for future sustainability success.
Importantly, it helps drive businesses to fulfil the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, becoming part of the broader, global push for a fairer, more sustainable world.
James Cropper has joined founding signatories of the Manifesto - Burberry, Chivas Brothers, dunhill, Harrods, Johnstons of Elgin, Mulberry and The Savoy - as part of collaborative working groups to discuss challenges, successes, innovation and ideas for joint action.
Sustainability is firmly on the agenda of the British luxury sector, and there is clear recognition that the journey to sustainability is a collective endeavour. Find out more about the Manifesto here.