Sproutl’s Environment, Social and Governance Statement

Introduction

It is our aim to conduct all of our business with high levels of environmental and social consciousness, ensuring that our impact on the world around us is positive.

In order to do this we understand that the way we manage our business, including our ethos and systems of controls, is fundamental in ensuring that these aims are met.

The purpose of this statement is to:

• set out at a high level our aims, and methods of achieving these aims, in relation to the environmental and social aspects of our business

• provide information and guidance to those working with us on how these aims should be met

• signpost the detailed policies where further information can be found.

We recognise that, with time and company growth, our impact and ability to have an impact, will grow too.

Who is responsible for the statement?

The Sproutl Board of Directors has overall responsibility for ensuring this statement reflects our ethos in relation to environmental and social responsibility.

Our CEO, Anni Noel-Johnson, has primary and day-to-day responsibility for monitoring this statement and the related policies. Each Sproutl Team Member is responsible for ensuring they understand this statement and their role in ensuring that the aims are met.

Governance

We recognise that all these statements require monitoring and governance to ensure they are more than words.  We will regularly review and update these commitments, at least once a year.

We welcome feedback on every aspect of this statement and sustainability generally.  Send us an email at helpme@sproutl.com with your comments and suggestions.

Environmental Factors

How we minimise our impact on the environment

The gardening industry faces some enormous challenges when it comes to minimising its impact on the environment. Making real change throughout the industry cannot be done alone, and as a marketplace, there are further obstacles to making a meaningful impact.

However, reducing our environmental impact has been a principal core of our business since day 1. The work that we have done so far can be found below, as well as our commitments and targets for the future.

We have also applied for membership of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and look forward to working with them and their members to fulfil the achievement of the HTA’s Sustainability Roadmap’s 2025 Goals.

First steps

We have identified a number of key factors in the gardening industry and supply chain that have serious environmental impacts. These range from the type of compost and chemicals used by suppliers and consumers alike to how much water is consumed from growing plants, carbon emissions and the over-reliance on non-recyclable plastic.

Aside from the gardening sector, our corporate operations (for example, our staff travel, office rental and server usage) can have severe consequences for the environment.

We have achieved the following:

• Peat: we have committed to only allowing the sale of peat-free compost on our site

• Plastics: polystyrene trays are not permitted to be made available for sale over our marketplace

• Packaging: Sproutl’s boxes and tape are recyclable, FSC certified and compostable, and have been created to enable more products to be shipped in smaller spaces (reducing packaging and emissions)

• Facilities: we occupy office space in Uncommon, which has a B Corp pending status

• Emissions: we partner with Earthly to contribute to reforestation efforts in Madagascar and are currently undertaking an emissions audit of our business with them

• Education: we provide regular education and awareness content for our customers, focusing on our sustainability initiatives on both our social and our ecommerce channels

• Technology: we use Google Cloud Platform, rated as the greenest public cloud provider by Greenpeace in their 2017 Click Clean report.

Our objectives and targets

Our current environmental objectives and targets are ambitious and we aim to build on these in time, taking the HTA's Roadmap into account:

• We will work with our partners to eliminate the use of peat and non-recyclable plastic and packaging in the horticulture industry.

• We will introduce curb-side or other initiatives to enable easier recycling of all garden waste.

• We will be at least carbon neutral.

, We will achieve certified B Corp status.

• We will not sell pesticides onsite, or other chemicals that harm wildlife.  We will only sell organic fertilisers.

• We will bring communities together throughout the UK to share knowledge and educate each other about sustainable gardening practices.

• We want to work with DEFRA and other relevant organisations to expedite environmental legislation.

• We will work to easily identify products on site to enable more ethical buying decisions by our customers.

• We will work with logistics companies who have proven sustainability credentials.

Social factors

Our people

We are a small but growing team, where our people are at the heart of our business.  We are committed to the well-being of our team, and every individual’s continued development and growth. We believe that a clear understanding of roles and expectations, along with regular strength-based feedback, underpins successful performance management and a working environment where everyone understands how they contribute to our business.

We are a meritocracy, where all employees are recognised and rewarded on the basis of their performance, effort, contribution and achievements.  We expect our employees to act with integrity toward one another.  

We believe that equality, inclusivity and fairness are critical to the success of any team.  We are committed to creating a working environment which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation.  We actively oppose all forms of discrimination.

Our network of garden centres, nurseries and shops

Our aim is to build strong, lasting relationships with our network of garden centres, nurseries and shops in order to:

• share our ethos and company aims

• be confident that we and our partners share and commit to the same environmental and social standards

• provide consistency and transparency in the supply chain

We aim to choose partners that share our ethos in relation to employment practices and environmental controls. 

Our customers

We aim to build long term relationships with our customers by providing consistently excellent service and access to high quality products. We highlight our partners and showcase our aims for new partners on our website to our customers. We aim to demonstrate our ethos to our customers by our e.g. clear and consistent messaging throughout their journey with us, our commitment to sustainability made available on site and on our social channels, and our customer-first approach to aftercare and support. We aim to have the highest professional standards and will be honest and open in all our dealings with customers.  We ensure that all customer data is collected lawfully, and is processed and stored safely in line with our Data Protection Policy.

Versions

This is Sproutl's first Environment, Social and Governance Statement and was published in August 2021.

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