After Noah - Sustainability

Sustainability our Journey So Far...

Sir David Attenborough – 18 April 2019

"It may sound frightening but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies. We're running out of time but there's still hope. I believe that if we better understand the threat we face, the more likely it is that we can avoid such a catastrophic future.”

Reduce | Re-use | Recycle

The impact we have on the environment as a business, is an important consideration for us.

A truly sustainable business is much more involved than simply ensuring materials and goods have a green lifecycle.

It involves aiming for carbon neutrality in all areas throughout the supply chain and considering the end life of a product.

It's a question of interconnected responsibility in building a climate positive business. We work with our employees, suppliers and stakeholders to ensure that we can harness the benefit of collective change to create a climate positive business.

As a company we are working hard to be responsible, a key step in our ongoing improvement is the ability to investigate, evaluate and measure KPI’s with specific reference to defined areas of our businesses environmental footprint:

  • Manufacture of Retail goods.
  • Energy Use & Reduction.
  • Waste Management.
  • Packaging.
  • Delivery Services.
  • Corporate Travel.

We are constantly learning and evolving because we understand that there is always room for improvement.

As a world, we're a long, long way from sustainable, but we have hope that through collective action, we can all work to build responsibility into a sustainable future for the planet .

The Environmental Impact of the Manufacture of Retail goods.

The global consumption of materials has increased rapidly during the last century.

This increasing consumption has come at a cost to the environment, including habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, overly stressed fisheries and desertification.

Failure to find a more productive and sustainable way to obtain, use and manage materials, and to change our relationship between material consumption and growth, has grave implications for our economy and society.

Cleaner Delivery Services | More Sustainable Packaging

Working to Build a More Circular Economy.

We promote a move away from the traditional take, make, waste economy to one that keeps resources in use as long as possible to extract the maximum value from the materials while they are in use, then recovers materials to generate new products at the end of the service life.

Our Buying Policy for new goods, we aim for:

• Items that are high quality and promote within themselves a desire for the customer to keep them for life.

• Suppliers with a similar mindset. Prioritising items with zero or low packaging and items with genuine Green credentials, that employ recycled materials.

• We prioritise items with Fair Trade or ethical accreditation.

• We buy in Vintage furniture pieces, restoring them and selling them on to happy new home.

• We direct customers towards Local Auction services for goods we cannot re-sell and or the British Heart Foundation. To promote the life span of any piece and reduce waste.

• We work with local Toy Charities, encouraging customers to donate toys that their children may have grown out of.

We regularly review our stock for product materials, design, reuse or recyclability.

Energy Use & Reduction.

We buy Green 100% renewable electricity renewable sources like sun, wind and water through Octopus Business Energy. It is OFGEM Certified with Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin.

As a group Octopus also invest heavily in renewable generation; the solar farms they've funded generate over 40% of all the UK's large scale solar.

Energy Success stories:

Since 2021 we have achieved a 26.8% reduction in energy consumption through implementing our energy reduction plan:

• Low energy Lighting. Introduced throughout the building.

• Room occupancy sensors used to control lighting in remote rooms.

• Implementation of overnight power off procedures. No computer or other business equipment left on stand by outside trading hours.

• Window and shop front lights on time switches. No Power consumed between 11am and 5pm.

Click here to read about Octopus renewable energy from sources like sun, wind and water.

Click here to read about Ofgem and the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme.

Waste Management & Reduction.

Reducing waste material and increasing the amount of recycling and material re-use in the company is key to who we are.

It's in our very DNA, when we started all those years ago repairing clients furniture for the next generation to enjoy.

Today we empower our staff through training, encouraging them to identify areas where we can reduce waste and or switch to more ethical and environmental friendly goods.

We have waste reduction policy of re-using the maximum amount of incoming packaging material, this might be air-pockets, void fill, bubblewrap or furniture wrappings.

Anything that we can usefully repurpose has a huge impact not only directly on business costs but equally in the reduction of waste and reduced impact of manufacturing wrapping materials that we require day to day.

Cleaning materials waste reduction - We try wherever possible to buy big refill bottles of cleaners, soap etc. Each plastic bottle uses a staggering 5.3 litres of water in manufacture, so you can see the impact that one bottle refilling 7 small bottles has.

Along with a policy to only buy, where possible, non-toxic janitorial products.

Unbleached / chlorine free paper products, including toilet paper, in fact we buy from Who Gives A Crap who not only make plastic free toilet rolls with sustainable materials but also donate 50% of profits to clean water and sanitation non-profits around the globe.

Soy-based inks or other low VOC inks

Recycled/environmentally preferred office supplies (paper, pens, notebooks, etc.)

We also employ re-usable, washable cleaning cloths, to reduce the amount of paper towel.

Waste Management Success stories:

• In 2010 we were instrumental in creating a free to local business recycling collection. Reducing 6 lorries from different companies to one council operated vehicle.

• In 2015 we were instrumental in helping expand this initiative into a local business furniture swap.

• In 2016 expanded initiative to include electrical recycling.

• In 2017 expanded initiative to include wooden pallet recycling.

• In 2023 we are currently working with our Local council in Islington and other stakeholders in the community to introduce kerbside polystyrene recycling for local businesses. Watch this space.

Kinder Packaging for A Better World.

In the early days every mail order box was recycled, as we re-used the boxes that we received the deliveries in. As our mail order business grew this was no longer a realistic solution, although we do still re-use as many as possible.

The challenge is balancing the type and amount of packaging, against the risk of products arriving broken. We know that if something is broken and wasted this has a far larger impact on the environment.

We collect and re-use the maximum amount of incoming packaging material, this is why your parcel may contain polythene air-pockets, plastic void fill or polythene bubblewrap. Anything that we can usefully repurpose has a huge impact not only directly on business costs but equally in the reduction of waste and reduced impact of manufacturing wrapping materials that we require day to day.

This policy also extends to furniture wrappings and the occasional re-use of polystyrene and explains why you will occasionally receive goods that use polystyrene or recycled polythenes in their packaging.

Partnering with Kite packaging in 2020 was a key decision to help us drive the change in our packaging materials.

Packaging Success stories:

In 2020 we removed more than 80% of the plastics in our wrapping solutions and we now use:

• Paper Bubble wrap.

• Kraft Packing Tape - 100% recyclable with paper and card

• Enviro-boxes developed in conjunction with WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme. They are as strong as double wall but 7% lighter, meaning lower transport costs.

• Enviro-box manufacture results in a 30% saving in CO2 emissions and less water use.

• Paper Void Fill - made from 100% recycled paper and fully recyclable.

• Paper Jiffy bags - made from 65% recycled paper, compostable.

There are obviously still times that we do have to use plastic, for example polythene chair bags to protect clients upholstery, however these are always made with the maximum amount of recycled material and are in turn 100% recyclable.

Cleaner Delivery Services

The challenge for us here is the huge variety of the products that we deliver from soft toys to Mirrors, dining tables and sofas. Each kind has it's own unique criteria requiring different solutions.

So we have a range of delivery providers:

• Parcelforce for all postal deliveries.

• Mango, cargo bike & electric fleet for local deliveries.

• Proovia for UK wide pieces requiring 2 person delivery teams.

• Celtheath - Our specialist 2 person sofa delivery and warehousing provider

In order to reduce the impact of delivery vehicles, we allow 14-21 days for arranging delivery of larger items. Not being in a rush means that transport providers can plan routes, amalgamating deliveries so one trip covers multiple customers to have the lowest impact possible.

All our transport providers are fully ULEZ compliant and where practical use fully electric fleets to reduce particulate emissions.

We are always actively seeking cleaner and lower impact solutions.

Delivery Success stories:

• In 2021 we switched our local deliveries to Mango Logistics, with their fleet of cargo bikes and fully electric vans.

• In 2022 we took delivery of our new electric van.

Corporate Travel.

The goal of After Noah’s corporate travel policy is to develop and utilise strategies to increase efficiency while decreasing our environmental impact and it is for this reason that we have the following policies in place and formally state our commitment to our fully sustainable Business Travel Plan 2023.

We recognise that business travel is a necessary tool to operate and grow our business.

As a relatively small company with a conscious outlook and the continual growth of online trade shows and marketing our corporate travel has decreased year on year since 2012 and today is a relatively minor contributor to the company’s carbon footprint.

In 2022 there were no car journeys and 100% of travel was, bike, bus or train, we calculated our CO2 at less than 500 kilos for all of our travel.

Our work with Ecologi, a B Corp company, is part of our goal towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.

We are committed to keeping it low, which is why we always travel by bike in London or train when it's farther afield, including Eurostar on the occasions that we visit European trade shows.

Click here to read our Corporate Travel Policy.

Click here to read our Materials Management & Impact Assessment Policy.

Click here to read our Environment Management System - Findings Impact Report for 2022

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Thanks, After Noah.

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Read on...

Our goal at After Noah is to be a unique retailer of Furniture, Homeware, Gifts & Toys, both in-store and online.

To provide customers the very best choice of Honestly priced, Ethically sourced, Quality made products from around the world.

Supporting and encouraging our suppliers to use sustainable methods and recycled materials.

Prioritising Customer service, Staff welfare and our Social, Ethical and Environmental impact.

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