24 April 2024, 04:21
By Furniture News May 20, 2019

Hypnos puts responsibility at the heart of business

The 5th June is World Environment Day – a timely reminder for businesses to take stock of their green credentials. For retailers, increased consumer scrutiny is often focused on whether a brand they promote has effective sustainability and corporate social responsibility policies in place – so the most effective strategies succeed in embedding sustainable innovation throughout a business’ culture and processes …

With rising environmental and ethical awareness across society, companies in the furniture trade are under increased pressure to become more responsible. The problem is that, for many businesses, green and social responsibility initiatives can often be used to tick a box rather than deliver genuine change. 

“Purchasing decisions are increasingly being influenced by how a company responds to these trends,” explains Chris Ward, group marketing director at Hypnos. “For ethical business practices to be truly effective, a long-term strategy needs to be put in place to ingrain these values at the core of everything a company does.”

Hypnos is proud to be putting sustainability and CSR at the centre of everything it does. Its sustainability strategy extends from the use of renewable natural resources and carbon offsetting programmes to supporting worthy charities and local schools, and creating apprenticeships to nurture future talent.

Green manufacturing

Over the last 10 years, Hypnos has undergone a comprehensive sustainability journey, and its first milestone was becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral bedmaker. In fact, Hypnos is the only bed manufacturer to have held this prestigious title for eight years, having offset a total of 6820 tonnes of CO2, including 736 tonnes in 2017/18 alone.

Hypnos is also an industry pioneer when it comes to the problem of mattress disposal and recycling - with some seven million still going to landfill each year. To combat this issue, Hypnos was the first to offer a take-back service to retailers and hoteliers, with all beds designed to be 100% recyclable at the end of their life. 

What is more, the company has put in place processes to ensure that none of its factory’s manufacturing waste goes to landfill.

“All of the company’s product development is committed to sustainable designs, identifying new alternative sustainable fibres, designing out waste and ensuring ease of disassembly, with a close eye on recycling and the circular economy – a natural, ethical and synthetic-free approach,” notes Chris.

“For example, Hypnos utilises materials such as eOlus, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Despite only limited use, through this innovative fibre alone Hypnos has re-used the equivalent of 165 million plastic bottles in the last 10 years, which would have otherwise gone to landfill sites or into the world’s oceans.”

For waste reduction and recycling initiatives to become a success, the mentality has to be consistent across the business, and all employees have to understand this journey and work together to save energy and minimise all forms of waste within the office environment. This also includes operating Hypnos’ contract site on a biomass heating system, as well as purchasing 100% renewable electricity for its Princes Risborough site.

In addition, Hypnos recently announced the appointment of Richard Naylor in its newly created sustainable development director role. The job has been specially developed to meet Hypnos’ ambitious ongoing commitment to put sustainability at the centre of the company’s product development and innovation strategy.

Natural and traceable materials

“Today’s discerning customers are looking for more than superior quality,” says Chris. “Increasingly, they are demanding authentic products with natural, sustainable and safe properties. To meet this demand, Hypnos uses some of the best materials sourced from around the world, and focuses on recyclable materials that are free of harmful and allergy-related chemicals such as foams.”

Hypnos’ primary renewable natural filling is wool, while other fibres include horsetail hair, camel wool, alpaca wool and bamboo. All these natural fibres are 100% biodegradable and recyclable at the end of their life. 

“Traditionally, in the bed industry there’s been no consistent or promoted source of origin, and no traceability,” continues Chris. “However, Hypnos is looking to change this by fostering a transparent supply chain. Our partnership with Wools of New Zealand, for example, is an initiative whereby we source wool from selected farms and wool growers who are audited and checked for their land and animal management. 

“This wool also has a lower carbon footprint (-28%) than that of the UK thanks to better fleece yields and efficient farming in terms of energy use and final efficient sea transport delivery.

“What’s more, the timber within our divan bases is from managed forests and sustainable sources that comply with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).”

Hypnos has gone the extra mile, with its UK factories also achieving FSC and PEFC multi-site Chain of Custody certification, guaranteeing full traceability. 

Community and charity engagement

Any effective sustainability strategy will also include a commitment to care for local communities, says Chris: “Through our national and local charitable support, we aim to educate and improve opportunities for children with programmes that can create substantial change.”

Hypnos works with local schools on initiatives such as donating trees to school sites to help the environment and allow the children to learn about sustainability. 

The business also works with youngsters on a wide range of education programmes, seeking to help improve their skills and employability. It has an active apprenticeship scheme in place, and has committed to filling 40% of its projected 150 jobs over the next five years (2017-2022) through this process. 

In addition, Hypnos makes ongoing efforts to donate beds to worthy causes, including a donation of over 100 beds to children’s charities over the past couple of years. Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Ronald MacDonald House Charity within John Radcliffe Hospital, Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre in Mablethorpe and Treloar’s School in Alton are just some of the causes which have benefited from this. 

Hypnos has also partnered with the charity, Magic Breakfast, which provides healthy breakfasts for children in disadvantaged areas of the UK so they are more prepared for the day ahead, and ready to learn. Since 2017 Hypnos has raised £60,000, helping to fund over 200,000 breakfasts. 

With increased awareness of sustainability issues, retailers are becoming more discerning about the businesses they deal with. “Whereas in the past suppliers didn’t need to be so transparent about the way in which their products are manufactured and how a business operates, today consumers have much higher standards,” concludes Chris. “That is why a holistic sustainability and CSR strategy is now a must-have for businesses operating in the furniture trade.”

Pictured: Hypnos recently partnered with Wools of New Zealand, which works with selected farms to deliver higher standards and greater efficiencies in wool production

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