Environmental Policy

 

We are committed to providing a quality service in a manner that ensures a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and minimises our potential impact on the environment.

 

We acknowledge our daily activities can directly impact the environment, using natural resources and can create emissions and waste.  We will operate in compliance with all relevant environmental legislation and we will strive to use pollution prevention and environmental best practices in all we do.

 

We commit to continual improvement of processes and practices and have to date achieved a sustainable supply chain in terms of goods in.  We have achieved this through close partnership with specifically chosen suppliers who value our environment and our commitment to reduction of the impact on climate change as much as we do. 

 

We also reduce energy in our HQ where possible, by closing doors in all rooms, low energy heating systems, and a lights off policy in rooms when not in use.

 

Supply Chain:

 

We have conducted extensive work with our supply chain, and have made a brave and bold choice to only use suppliers who can supply sustainable products.  Sustainability as a word is one that can have many meanings attributed to it, but for clarity we only bring in paper products that are EU Ecolabel accredited. The EU Ecolabel is a label which certifies environmental excellence.  This label is only given to products that meet high environmental standards throughout their life cycle: from raw material extraction to production, distribution and disposal.  We believe we are the only distributor to have achieved this.

 

The assurance that we seek from our suppliers in that all wood fibres are harvested from sustainable forests, and not harvested illegally from protected forests is given to us through the rigorous criteria which has to be met by the EU Ecolabel standard which all of our paper products must meet. 

 

Where we stock EU Ecolabel chemical products i.e. environmentally friendly, all must have the EU Ecolabel accreditation.

 

Where some products cannot be environmentally friendly, due to what they are designed to do, i.e Machine Dishwash (too high an acid content to strip the dishes of grease and oil), sanitiser (because anything that is killing bacteria and viruses is not eco-friendly) we require the manufacturer to be shipping the goods as ecologically economically as possible – with offset carbon emissions and full loads, recycling materials and waste and working towards refilling 5ltr containers once returned.  We also require the procurement of raw materials to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

 

Operations:

 

In consumption of energy, we think very carefully about how we use energy and particularly how we can reduce the use of energy. We use low energy vehicles, we train our drivers to plan the route in the most ecological way possible.  We reduce the amount of electricity we use through a ‘lights off’ policy, we only heat warehouses where necessary due to either regulations or cold weather conditions.  We also consider renewable energy sources where appropriate to do so. 

 

With regards to waste, we reuse boxes to send out our web orders, we sort and recycle our waste through out our operation, and have a waste recycling partner to recycle all waste we put in our recycling bin.

 

We use water very sparingly, and have a water metre on all of our premises to monitor and address water wastage.

 

We provide a consolidated delivery method on all of our deliveries by stocking a wide range of cleaning and hygiene goods, allowing every customer to get more than one thing at a time.  We review suppliers and their sustainability with every project review meeting and this is addressed frequently throughout the year. 

 

 

We will:-

 

  • integrate the consideration of environmental concerns and impacts into all of our decision making and activities,
  • promote environmental awareness among our employees and encourage them to work in an environmentally responsible manner,
  • train, educate and inform our employees about environmental issues that may affect their work,
  • reduce waste through re-use and recycling and by purchasing recycled, recyclable or re-furbished products and materials where these alternatives are available, economical and suitable,
  • promote efficient use of materials and resources throughout our facility including water, electricity, raw materials and other resources, particularly those that are non-renewable,
  • avoid unnecessary use of hazardous materials and products, seek substitutions when feasible, and take all reasonable steps to protect human health and the environment when such materials must be used, stored and disposed of,
  • purchase and use environmentally responsible products accordingly,
  • where required by legislation or where significant health, safety or environmental hazards exist, develop and maintain appropriate emergency and spill response programmes,
  • communicate our environmental commitment to clients, customers and the public and encourage them to support it,
  • strive to continually improve our environmental performance and minimise the social impact and damage of activities by periodically reviewing our environmental policy in light of our current and planned future activities.

 

 

Our environmental policy is owned by our Managing Director, Yewan Armstrong.  The policy and standards associated, and dictated in this document are reviewed regularly.  This policy is reviewed every year by our Corporate and Environmental Responsibility Committee and new initiatives and ideas are put forward and voted on. 

 

22nd March 2021

Our suppliers have been selected on strict environmental, sustainability and ethically motivated criteria. For us,  here at Astral we put the customer and the environement at the heart of everything we can do.  It is not simply about fulfilling a need, it about filling that need in the most responsible, customer focused manner possible.

 

Selection of our suppliers is of course about

  • Do they have what we need?
  • Is the quality high enough to enhance our reputation?
  • Can they deliver on time and on budget?
  • Is the supply chain reliable enough?

But before any of these questions are asked, we are asking

  • What is your environmental policy?
  • Can we have a look at where you obtain your raw materials from?
  • how do you save energy?
  • Are you Eu Ecolabel accredited?
  • Do you recycle?
  • Do you use renewable energy sources?
  • Are you vehicles low emissions?
  • Do you off-set your carbon foorprint?

 

To us, these questions are absolutely integral to how we run our business, and the answers are deeply personal to everyone who works here at Astral Hygiene.

 

Our extensive stock holding allows every customer to use us as a one stop shop, getting all of their cleaning and hygiene products from one place, which reduces transport emissions.  Every customer can have confidence that our supplier relationships are ethically based and that we hold them to the highest of standards.

 

Within this policy you will find evidence of how Astral Hygiene work with our suppliers to ensure consistent product criteria are met, but also a demonstration of our ethical relationships and how we have strict criteria to ensure that social, economical and sustainable markers are met and continually improved upon.

 

Supplier Code of Conduct

Our supplier code of conduct which we expect every Astral Hygiene supplier to sign up to sets an expectation that every supplier in the areas of labour, human rights, health and safety, environment, ethics and sustainability.  This code applies to every supplier we select to work with us, and all suppliers accept and abide by this code.

 

We require compliance with the International Labour Organisation, which specifically prohibits child labour (including slavery and human trafficking), unfair working hours and wages and discrimination.

 

We further require all of our suppliers to be ethical and honest when dealing with others, obeying all applicable laws and regulations governing fraud and anti-bribery and corruption. 

 

We selectively and frequently audit our suppliers for human rights, corruption, legal compliance and quality compliance.  Suppliers whose standards have fallen below the expectations set by Astral Hygiene will be given an appropriate period for compliance and then they will be reassessed.  If a serious breach is identified following re-assessment, an action plan should be documented and the supplier will be expected to commit to addressing all the areas where discrepancies have been identified. The process of improvement via this method is principally down to the commitment of the supplier’s management team/owner/agent to ensure that all areas are addressed. If we have reason to believe that the supplier is not making sufficient or committed progress, then this could lead to a suspension in the relationship until such time that we are confident that all areas were being satisfactorily addressed.

 

Our Ethical and Responsible Sourcing Policy is owned by our Managing Director, Yewan Armstrong.  The policy and standards associated, and dictated in this document are reviewed regularly.  This policy is reviewed every year by our Corporate and Environmental Responsibility Committee and new initiatives and ideas are put forward and voted on. 

 

22nd March 2021

One of the core principles of Astral Hygiene is to play as significant a part as we can in reducing plastic pollution.  We see plastic pollution as one of the defining challenges of our time. 

We are in a unique position at the very middle of the distribution and decision-making system to influence and provide choice to our customer base and offer alternative solutions to using plastic.    

 

It is of grave concern to everyone who works at Astral that our environment is being more and more damaged by human activity, and it is distressing that plastic that is only being used once, or plastic that isn't being properly recycled is not only damaging our environment and our seas, but is also entering the food chain. As a distributor to some of the largest brands, we take our responsibility to act very seriously.  We work with every supplier on their supply chain, as Astral Hygiene do not procure any stock items from an unsustainable source.  We are entirely unique in the Cleaning and Hygiene market place, a distributor that has sustainability as a very heavily weighted criteria to work with us... there is no other distributor who behaves in this way. 

 

This directive has come directly from our Managing Director, so the passion for this sustainability and caring for our environment comes right from the grass roots of our business, and runs through every Astral team member.  When we recruit, to ensure new employees fit our organisational culture, they must have a natural desire to care for the environment, and have a love of all things natural. 

 

As a result of this choice, we no longer sell polystyrene, or plastic cutlery.... we just simply don't because it is harmful to the environment.  

 

Our view is if every distributor behaves this way the harm we are inflicting on our world would be considerably diminished, and it is because of this we want to lead the way.  

 

Many of our customers are setting ambitious targets for their packaging to become environmentally sustainable. A simple change of distributor will help them to meet that goal and that is one of Astral's unique selling points. 

 

Many leading companies have set bold targets to minimise the impacts of the products they use. For example, at Davos 2018, 11 major companies including Unilever, Walmart and The Coca-Cola Company announced that they are working towards 100% sustainable packaging by 2025. That date is not very far in the future, but Astral Hygiene has already achieved this. This has been executed through bold decision making, and proactive buying decisions and is being driven by the most senior leadership team.  

All of our paper products that are wrapped in plastic come from sustainable and recycled plants, meaning we are reusing and increasing the life of plastics already in our environment. 

As an organisation that only partners with manufacturers that offer sustainable solutions in terms of plastic we are very specific in our selection criteria.  For example we only buy our plastic refuse sacks from recycled materials.  We do this with quality as well as sustainability in mind.  Every bag is drop tested from a specific height with a specific weight contained within the bag.  The quality of our products is not compromised, but sometimes it takes us longer to procure our suppliers.   This is a sacrifice we are willing to make, because this goal is one we have been working towards for the last 15 years. 

 

Now that we have got the procurement of sustainable products all sown up, we are now working on end of life plastic products which come through our distribution centre.  We are working with our suppliers on a new innovative solution for our delivery fleet to collect used 5ltr containers of chemicals and return them to the supplier to be refilled and reused. This initiative is in its infancy, but it is one we are passionate about making happen. When this is achieved we will be impacting on the whole supply chain we are involved with.   

 

Equality and Diversity Policy

 

  1. Astral Hygiene Ltd recognises that discrimination and victimisation is unacceptable and that it is in the interests of Astral Hygiene Ltd and its employees to utilise the skills of the total workforce. It is the aim of Astral Hygiene Ltd to ensure that no employee or job applicant receives less favourable facilities or treatment (either directly or indirectly) in recruitment or employment on grounds of age, disability, gender / gender reassignment, marriage / civil partnership, pregnancy / maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation (the protected characteristics).

 

  1. Our aim is that our workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and each employee feels respected and able to give of their best.

 

  1. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination or victimisation. To that end the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment.

 

  1. All employees, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

 

  1. Our staff will not discriminate directly or indirectly, or harass customers or clients because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation in the provision of Astral Hygiene Ltd’s goods and services.

 

  1. This policy and the associated arrangements shall operate in accordance with statutory requirements. In addition, full account will be taken of any guidance or Codes of Practice issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, any Government Departments, and any other statutory bodies.

 

 

OUR COMMITMENT

 

  • To create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all our staff are recognised and valued.
  • Every employee is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.
  • Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.
  • To promote equality in the workplace which we believe is good management practice and makes sound business sense.
  • We will review all our employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness.
  • Breaches of our equality policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
  • This policy is fully supported by senior management and has been agreed with trade unions and/or employee representatives.
  • The policy will be monitored and reviewed annually

 

 

RESPONSIBILITES OF MANAGEMENT

 

Responsibility for ensuring the effective implementation and operation of the arrangements will rest with the Managing Director. Directors / Managers will ensure that they and their staff operate within this policy and arrangements, and that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to avoid discrimination. Each manager will ensure that:

 

  • all their staff are aware of the policy and the arrangements, and the reasons for the policy;
  • grievances concerning discrimination are dealt with properly, fairly and as quickly as possible;
  • proper records are maintained.

 

Human Resources will be responsible for monitoring the operation of the policy in respect of employees and job applicants, including periodic departmental audits.

 

 

RESPONSIBILITIES OF STAFF

 

Responsibility for ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination rests with all staff and the attitudes of staff are crucial to the successful operation of fair employment practices. In particular, all members of staff should:

 

  • comply with the policy and arrangements;
  • not discriminate in their day to day activities or induce others to do so;
  • not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff or groups who have, or are perceived to have one of the protected characteristics.
  • ensure no individual is discriminated against or harassed because of their association with another individual who has a protected characteristic.
  • inform their manager if they become aware of any discriminatory practice.

 

 

THIRD PARTIES

 

Third-party harassment occurs where a Company employee is harassed, and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic, by third parties such as clients or customers. Astral Hygiene Ltd will not tolerate such actions against it’s staff, and the employee concerned should inform their manager / supervisor at once that this has occurred. Astral Hygiene Ltd will fully investigate and take all reasonable steps to ensure such harassment does not happen again.

 

 

RELATED POLICIES AND ARRANGEMENTS

 

All employment policies and arrangements have a bearing on equality of opportunity. Astral Hygiene Ltd policies will be reviewed regularly and any discriminatory elements removed.

 

 

RIGHTS OF DISABLED PEOPLE

 

Astral Hygiene Ltd attaches particular importance to the needs of disabled people.

 

 Under the terms of this policy, managers are required to:

 

  • make reasonable adjustment to maintain the services of an employee who becomes disabled, for example, training, provision of special equipment, reduced working hours. (NB: managers are expected to seek advice on the availability of advice and guidance from external agencies to maintain disabled people in employment);
  • include disabled people in training/development programmes;
  • give full and proper consideration to disabled people who apply for jobs, having regard to making reasonable adjustments for their particular aptitudes and abilities to allow them to be able to do the job.

.

 

 

MONITORING

 

  • Astral Hygiene Ltd deems it appropriate to state its intention not to discriminate and assumes that this will be translated into practice consistently across the organisation as a whole. Accordingly, a monitoring system will be introduced to measure the effectiveness of the policy and arrangements.

 

  • The system will involve the routine collection and analysis of information on employees by gender, marital status, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion / beliefs, grade and length of service in current grade. Information regarding the number of staff who declare themselves as disabled will also be maintained.

 

  • There will also be regular assessments to measure the extent to which recruitment to first appointment, internal promotion and access to training/development opportunities affect equal opportunities for all groups.

 

  • We will maintain information on staff who have been involved in certain key policies: Disciplinary, Grievance and Bullying & Harassment.

 

  • Where appropriate equality impact assessments will be carried out on the results of monitoring to ascertain the effect of Astral Hygiene Ltd policies and our services / products may have on those who experience them.

 

  • The information collected for monitoring purposes will be treated as confidential and it will not be used for any other purpose.

 

  • If monitoring shows that Astral Hygiene Ltd, or areas within it, are not representative, or that sections of our workforce are not progressing properly within Astral Hygiene Ltd, then an action plan will be developed to address these issues. This will include a review of recruitment and selection procedures, Company policies and practices as well as consideration of taking legal Positive Action.

 

 

GRIEVANCES/DISCIPLINE

 

Employees have a right to pursue a complaint concerning discrimination or victimisation via Astral Hygiene Ltd Grievance or Harassment Procedures.

 

Discrimination and victimisation will be treated as disciplinary offences and they will be dealt with under Astral Hygiene Ltd Disciplinary Procedure.

 

 

Our Equality and Diveristy Policy is owned by our Managing Director, Yewan Armstrong.  The policy and standards associated, and dictated in this document are reviewed regularly.  This policy is reviewed every year by our Corporate and Environmental Responsibility Committee and new initiatives and ideas are put forward and voted on. 

 

22nd March 2021

 

 

Health & Safety Policy

 

The Health and Safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to Astral Hygiene and we always remain committed to a healthy and safe place to work. Whilst compliance to legal obligations are always observed we also seek to identify and share best practice across our businesses to ensure all our major risks are addressed.

 

Warehouse safety. We ensure that our warehouses are laid out and equipped appropriately and our workforce is trained to minimise risks from manual handling, as well as ensuring good housekeeping to reduce the risks of trips, slips and injury from falling objects.

 

Vehicle safety. Our drivers receive regular training and our fleets are well maintained. We continue to introduce appropriate monitoring systems into our fleets and review accidents to improve efficiency and safety.

 

We provide appropriate resources, supervision and training and keep people well informed on matters affecting their health, safety and well-being; We will report and investigate accidents, incidents and near misses to drive improvement in our health and safety management.

 

Any lessons learned from such events will be used to take corrective action to prevent recurrences. Our supplier code of conduct includes a principle on providing safe and hygienic conditions for workers in our supply chain.  We reserve the right to review or audit compliance with the Code and expect a timebound programme of improvement to address any shortcomings.

 

We commit to:

 

  • Carry out audits on compliance with the Group health and safety standards and applicable regulatory requirements. Criteria for selection and prioritisation of locations to be audited should be established.
  • Establish objectives for improvement of health and safety performance and allocation of adequate budget for achievement of these objectives.
  • Implement a process to review and report lost time accidents and other specified safety performance indicators to the Group in line with agreed deadlines.
  • Nominate a representative with the responsibility to coordinate health and safety matters in the business area.
  • Identify health and safety risks associated with their activities (risk assessment)
  • Implement health and safety management systems and safe working procedures, covering at a minimum the group safety standards, any additional safety risks as identified by risk assessments and applicable legislative requirements.
  • Communicate health and safety requirements to employees and provide appropriate training to apply the safe working procedures.
  • Investigate accidents, incidents and near misses to drive improvement of health and safety management.

 

Our Health and Safety policy is owned by our Managing Director, Yewan Armstrong.  The policy and standards associated, and dictated in this document are reviewed regularly.  This policy is reviewed every year by our Corporate and Environmental Responsibility Committee and new initiatives and ideas are put forward and voted on. 

 

22nd March 2021