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Arco Reduces Plastic Packaging Consumption and Carbon Emissions
Arco has successfully reduced its carbon emissions and plastic use by adopting a more 'circular' approach to the packaging used in the distribution of its products.
As part of its recently launched sustainability strategy - A Safe Tomorrow - Arco has committed to reducing packaging waste in its own operations and throughout its supply chain.
The introduction of new mailing bags, made from 80% recycled polythene, which in turn is widely recyclable in the UK, has secured a 35% reduction in the amount of plastic used across its operations. Their production has also been relocated from China to Europe, resulting in an estimated carbon emission saving of 38%.
Arco uses approximately 400,000 mailing bags per year and, as part of its wider efforts to minimise climate change impacts and optimise efficiency, the company is analysing how it can apply more circular thinking within its products and, in turn, how this supports customers' sustainability aims.
Arco has also changed to a new 'void fill solution', to improve the sustainability of packaging which protects products in transit. The new alternative provides a further 13% reduction in plastic usage and carbon emissions and results in 17% less waste. Arco's overarching sustainability aim is to be carbon net zero by 2045.
Jim Harbidge, Head of Sustainability, said:
"The introduction of these changes is a small, but important step that we have taken in support of our sustainability aims and is part of a planned approach to ensure we are carbon net-zero by 2045.
"We would like to thank our packaging supplier, Hazel 4D, for their advice and support in identifying and implementing these changes.
"As a responsible choice of safety partner, we are committed to taking action to reduce climate-related impacts and are focussed on wider sustainability opportunities that we can bring forward, including how we support our local communities."
Mentoring Programme Helps Arco 'Embrace Equity'
As the UK's leading safety company, Arco is committed to the recruitment and nurturing of the next generation of talent in the industry and has recently launched a new mentoring programme, MentorMe, to support colleagues with their professional development.
In particular, the programme is helping women support women to thrive.
International Women's Day (Wednesday 8th March) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The theme for this year is embracing equity, creating a gender equal world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
There is a lot more that needs to be done to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in society and in workplaces and, at Arco, one of the ways this can help to be achieved is through MentorMe.
The programme aims to encourage colleagues to share and learn from one another to boost confidence, pass on lived experiences, advice, and support their career development, no matter the individual's background or personal characteristics.
Liz Farr, Learning and Development Partner and founder of MentorMe, said:
"Our mentoring programme is a fantastic way for colleagues to pursue their personal development goals with help from another colleague in the business. We currently have 42 mentees who are being supported by 33 mentors.
"Although the programme is not specifically for, or targeted at, women, we're already seeing the impact it's having on female colleagues taking part. We have some fantastic female mentors guiding female mentees, including those who have experience of working in male-dominated environments, and they're sharing how challenges within those types of environments for women can be faced. We also have female mentors mentoring male colleagues, sharing their knowledge to create equal opportunities for all."
Lynsey Jarratt, New Business Development Manager (Yorkshire & East Midlands), said:
"I enrolled to be a mentor because I feel it's important that we all have access to such guidance should we want it. Having the ability to tap into someone's knowledge, without fear, and the comfort of having a 'go-to' for support or advice should be readily available, both personally and professionally.
"I have been lucky enough in my career at Arco to have had several mentors that have helped to guide and encourage me, both in and out of the workplace."
Susan Hinchliffe, Quality Assurance Manager CEC, said:
"I have mentored people for many years and find the whole thing so rewarding as it's a two-way relationship. I have mentored both women and men and the only difference I have found is that lots of women seem to be having to catch up. That's because they may have taken time out to start a family, so when they return, they have to work harder to rebuild relationships and get up-to-date with everything.
"I believe times have changed with more equity for working mums and mentoring is an excellent way to refocus on your career."
Katie Landon, Sales Enablement Manager, said:
"Becoming a mentor, especially for graduates coming into the business, was important to me. After leaving university and starting my career on a graduate scheme myself, I can really relate to how graduate colleagues may be feeling. It can be overwhelming, challenging and, to be honest, quite scary.
"By being able to support and provide guidance on situations my mentee is facing, I can see how the MentorMe programme can really add value to colleagues by offering a third-party and neutral perspective.
"What I love about being part of this is seeing the 'light bulb' moment in our conversations; when something clicks and hearing the response: 'I never thought of it that way'. That's when you know you are adding value to both your mentee and the business."
Industry Group Visits Arco's New State-Of-The-Art Safety Centre
Members of the Mast and Tower Safety Group (MATS) have visited Arco's recently opened safety centre in Bracknell to host their quarterly meeting and to tour the new venue.
The MATS Group consists of organisations that own or manage masts and towers (including monopoles, gantries, satellite dishes and roof tops) or any other structure where there are specific and significant work at height and occupational radio frequency (RF) hazards.
As the UK's leading safety company and a specialist training provider, including for those working at height, Arco was proud to host members from the group and to showcase the facilities available at the new centre as well as to highlight the joined-up safety approach it offers - expert knowledge, high-quality products and training - all under one roof.
The centre opened in November last year and represented a multi-million-pound investment by the fifth-generation family business, creating 12 new jobs in the area.
The location was a strategically significant move by Arco, with the business looking to grow its brand in the south of England.
Bracknell Safety Centre is Arco's largest dedicated safety centre and hosts practical learning environments, including a 20-metre external tower for working at height training and confined space labyrinth training facilities as well as an equipment service and maintenance centre and an on-site safety store where customers can purchase products.
Ben Haughton, Technical Director at Arco Professional Safety Services, said:
"It was a pleasure to welcome members from the MATS Group to Bracknell Safety Centre and allow them use of the facility for their quarterly meeting.
"The feedback we received from members about the new centre was extremely positive and it means a lot coming from such an important industry group.
"Working at height is still one of the main causes of workplace injuries and fatalities in the UK and it is important to ensure that those who work at height have the correct training and are able to develop and enhance their skills at centres, such as Bracknell."
To find out more about Bracknell Safety Centre, click here.
Arco Supports Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation with Training Support and Sponsorship
Arco has continued its partnership with the Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation (MCRO) to support its life-saving work.
Members of the MRCO undertake regular rescue training to maintain their skill levels.
As an industry leader in safety training and services, Arco has again provided the MRCO with support by allowing the organisation to use its state-of-the-art training facilities at no cost.
Arco Professional Safety Services team members, who are also MCRO volunteers, delivered the training and provided expert advice and guidance to the other MCRO members in attendance.
Last month, 22 members of the MRCO attended Arco's Eccleshall Safety Training Centre, in Stafford, to take part in emergency first aid refresher training, including guidance on the use of new equipment and a rescue training exercise.
In addition, Arco has also sponsored the MCRO by providing them with branded team polo shirts for when they are on business.
Jamie Sadler, Commercial Director at Arco Professional Safety Services, said:
"As a responsible choice of safety partner, Arco is committed to supporting the communities we call home, including providing support to life-saving groups, like the MCRO.
"Our safety experts are some of the leading professionals in their field and many of them dedicate their spare time outside of the business volunteering with search and rescue organisations.
"Supporting the MCRO with a venue and training facilities as well as the benefit of our instructors' time, knowledge and expertise is a small way that Arco can give back and to ensure that we keep people safe."
Mike Clayton, Chairman of the Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation and Equipment Manager at Arco Professional Safety Services, said:
"The MCRO is regularly called upon to assist lost and injured people in caves all over the West Midlands, Shropshire and beyond.
"Even though we are a voluntary organisation, it is vitally important that we keep up-to-date with skills development to ensure we can respond to any emergency.
"The support, sponsorship and co-operation we get from Arco ensures that we can be as effective as possible and ready for when the next call comes."
Arco Funds Apprentice at Local Building, Repair and Maintenance Business
Arco has linked up with Kingstown Works Limited (KWL) to fund an apprentice joiner at the business.
The announcement comes during National Apprenticeship Week, a week-long celebration that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
As the UK's only integrated safety services and products business, with a core purpose of keeping people safe, Arco is delighted to have partnered with KWL to fund the important role through its levy funding.
KWL provides extensive property services to approximately 26,000 homes in the Hull area, which includes refurbishment of dwellings, as well as delivering gas and maintenance services to over 22,000 homes.
Darren Ford, Head of Organisational Development and Learning and Development at Arco, said:
"At Arco, we are dedicated to developing the knowledge and skills of our colleagues and apprenticeships are a great way to do this. We've had 42 people complete an apprenticeship and have a further 33 ongoing. Our commitment to apprentices and apprenticeships saw us recognised as one of the top 10 family business apprentice employers in the UK.
"As a responsible choice of safety partner, one of our ambitions within the community is to help young people to achieve. We are therefore delighted to be linking up with a Hull-based company to support them in appointing an apprentice from a local school."
Leanne White, Learning and Development Coordinator at KWL, said:
"Since 2007, KWL has recruited 159 apprentices. As a company, we are extremely proud to have been able to recruit so many talented apprentices' year-on-year.
"The Government recently introduced funding transfers which has allowed KWL to work with larger companies, such as Arco.
"These relationships allow KWL to continue recruiting a healthy number of apprentices which not only grows our own sustainable workforce but continues to improve the skills and future employment opportunities for local people."
The new partnership is the latest example of Arco supporting apprenticeships within the community and follows a previous apprenticeship that the business funded at Martin House Hospice.
Gillian Beverley joined the charity as a Safety, Health and Environmental Advisor in 2022 to undertake a safety, health and environment technician apprenticeship.
"Changing careers in my 40s has been daunting, but this apprenticeship has given me the chance to learn on the job, combining training and new skills and giving me the confidence to pursue something I'm passionate about."
Matt Ward, Head of Estates at Martin House Hospice, said:
"Gillian has been a great addition to both the estates team and Martin House as a whole. Gillian has picked the role up very quickly and is excelling in her apprenticeship as well as in the workplace.
"Partnering with Arco has been a really positive experience. They have supported us with the apprenticeship levy to enable the role, but they also kindly funded IOSH Managing Safely as an addition. This has provided a strong platform for Gillian to build from for her safety, health and environmental course."
Arco Invests in Stuff4Life to Further Explore Circular Polyester Supply Chain
Arco has further invested in polyester recycling start-up Stuff4Life to create a new joint venture company, which aims to create a circular supply chain for polyester, reducing the amount of used workwear which is sent to landfill as well as carbon emissions related to the raw materials used in their production.
Based on Teesside, Stuff4Life Workwear is intended to support both Arco and the UK's net-zero targets and enable Stuff4Life to develop its patent-pending chemical recycling process towards full-scale commercialisation.
The joint venture will continue to build on the relationship with Teesside University and its Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre, as well as the Centre for Process Innovation at Wilton, part of the UK Government's High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
As a key supplier of workwear, Arco is committed to addressing the problem of products that have reached the end of their useful life, particularly garments made with polyester. Nearly 90 per cent of the 33 million workwear items supplied annually currently end up in landfill or are incinerated.
As part of the partnership, Arco will continue to re-design its product range for longevity and circularity, taking responsibility for its ‘own-label' garments - before, during and after their useful life - and introducing end-of-life schemes for workwear, hazard wear and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Stuff4Life Workwear's solution works by recovering the base polyester components from recycled polyester-based garments, including complex workwear and PPE.
The recovered components can be used in place of virgin raw materials in the manufacture of new polyester which reduces the impact of manufacture, a key element in the transition to a circular economy.
Successfully recycling polyester and establishing an onshore UK supply chain will reduce the industry's dependency on fossil fuels. It will also reduce pollution from the manufacturing process, as recycled polyester uses significantly less energy and resources compared to virgin polyester manufacture.
Thomas Martin, Chairman of Arco, said:
"Our sustainability strategy has a key focus on reducing our environmental impact and in helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals.
"After previously supporting Stuff4Life with seed funding, we are delighted to announce this investment to enable the commercialisation of a workwear-focused polyester circularity business.
"Sustainability is important in all aspects of our lives, including our jobs and we will only help the UK reach its net-zero goals by addressing every area.
"By enabling recycled polyester to be produced on a larger scale, more companies can kit their employees out in more environmentally friendly clothing, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing our impact on the environment, whilst keeping people safe.
"As a fifth-generation family business, we have always put corporate and social responsibility at the heart of our organisation, so were excited to work with such a forward-thinking company and improve the sustainability of the industry.
"We know that this solution works and now is the time to scale the operation up and support the building of a circular workwear economy in the UK, ensuring we protect more people as well as the planet."
John Twitchen, Director of Stuff4Life, comments:
"We are really excited about the next stage of our Stuff4Life journey, continuing our work in partnership with Arco.
"Our ultimate goal remains the same - to make new polyester products from old polyester products - but also making the next generation of workwear last even longer, perform even better and be more recyclable when its job is done.
"This is the true value of our partnership, making a real difference throughout the design cycle and the lifecycle of products and delivering not just a circular economy for critical materials, but decarbonising industrial processes and delivering even better outcomes along the way."
Jim Harbidge, Head of Sustainability at Arco, added:
"The majority of Arco's carbon emissions take place in the factories that make our products and are related to the refining and manufacturing processes of products, such as polyester.
"This project is a game-changer for Arco and its customers and gives us the chance to reduce these ‘difficult to reach' carbon emissions and recover the resources and carbon needed to re-manufacture new items.
"This innovative project is part of Arco's carbon reduction strategy and has potential way beyond our business. Ultimately, it will help towards achieving not only our science-based carbon target but that of the UK."
Arco Signs up to Defence Employer Recognition Scheme
Arco has signed up to the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) and has secured a bronze award - the first step in the fifth-generation family business' ambition of becoming a gold award employer.
The bronze award, which also covers Arco Professional Safety Services, was bestowed on Arco after the safety product and services business formally pledged its support for the armed forces by becoming a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and agreeing to support existing or prospective employees who are members of the community.
Joining the ERS, demonstrates Arco's commitment to being armed forces-friendly and being open to employing reservists, armed forces veterans (including the wounded, injured and sick), cadet instructors and military spouses/partners.
Arco recognise the skills, expertise and dedication gained from working within the defence sector are highly transferable to key roles across the business, such as working at height and confined space instructors, fall protection engineer, and respiratory specialists, as well as roles across Arco's support functions.
Jonathan Simmons, Talent Acquisition Manager at Arco, said:
"As a family-business, with a core purpose of keeping people safe at work, Arco is delighted to strengthen its relationship with the armed forces community and promote the business as a great place to work to those who have served or are serving our country.
"This award is just the start of our relationship with the ERS and forms part of a wider strategy to promote the variety of career opportunities available at Arco to as wide a pool of talent as possible."
The ERS encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.
The ERS is designed primarily to recognise private sector support although public sector organisations, such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to be recognised.
Arco Welcomes New Report on Respiratory Protection and The Risks of Silica Dust
In 2020, Arco provided testimony to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Respiratory Health and its investigation into the dangers of exposure to silica. The initial report - Silica - The Next Asbestos - published that year, cited Arco's evidence in the report findings.
A follow up report, published, 10th January 2023, goes further in looking at risk reduction strategies that can play a key role in decreasing exposure and ill health, reducing the burden on healthcare services and helping to save lives.
Once again, the APPG engaged with leading organisations and industry experts, who provided evidence on better prevention, revisiting key issues identified in the initial inquiry. Arco submitted evidence for the new report and has been cited in key areas of the findings.
Arco recommended that the most effective ways of reducing exposure can be achieved by following the hierarchy of control, eliminating, substituting, isolating or introducing engineering controls to extract crystalline silica from the manufacturing and construction process. Arco also stated that dust monitoring is vital, referencing advances in technology that provide real-time exposure level monitoring. Arco believes that without real-time monitoring, it is impossible to prove that exposure levels are within the Worker Exposure Levels (WEL).
Arco fully supports the inquiry's recommendations, particularly increasing education and awareness of the risk of exposure to silica dust through compulsory modules in construction industry apprenticeship training and further education courses and making use of the latest technology for real-time monitoring.
Kevin Williams, Respiratory Manager at Arco, said:
"We all know that respiratory illness can cause serious health problems, disability and even death to those exposed unnecessarily to risks, such as silica dust. We also know that these risks are often preventable and we are pleased to have contributed to the work of the APPG on Respiratory Health in this follow up report. We urge the Government to act on the findings so that we can work together with our industry partners and regulators to help reduce the risks for those working in some of our most critical industries."
Read a copy of the report here.
Further information on how to protect workers against silicosis can be found here.