The Sourcing Team – Corporate Social Responsibility

Who are we?

What do we do?

Our customers

Meet the team

Case Studies


Why do we have Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR?
As part of the promotional marketing industry, we are very aware that what we do and how we behave has an impact on the wider world and, that we as a business must take steps to ensure we make a positive impact on our society. Promotional marketing is a high risk area and a robust, fully embedded CSR policy is crucial.

For us, CSR runs right through our business - we have always taken responsibility for checking factories and where necessary, setting action plans for improvement. We don’t just send a form and ask them to tick a box; we carry out our own due diligence on both ethical trading and product safety. We make sure that products are suitable and safe for the market in which they are used and that the people making them are fairly treated and working in a safe environment. We believe that vulnerable people should be supported, not exploited and we will turn work down if we cannot work with the right type of factory. We are fully committed to diversity and inclusion throughout the workplace and supply chain.
Sustainability is at the heart of all our working practices and we are continually looking to improve this both in terms of our own workplace needs and in our product offering to our clients.

How do we do this?
We live our business values; they are embedded into the company from the top down. This can be seen in our credentials, but also in the actions we take and the way we work. For us, it’s just the right thing to do.
We have a full range of policies within our CSR covering areas such as environmental, ethical, diversity, bribery and staff code of conduct, health and safety, staff training, sustainable purchasing and travel options. These are all available on request via
Our ethical and environmental values are shared internally and externally, with a proactive approach to constantly learn, share and improve what we do and how we do it in order to meet our social objectives.

The way we do this includes:
• Bi annual review (run by our MD & FD)
• Team meetings to share and brainstorm ideas and discuss policy
• Supplier annual review process including a proactive feedback to help their improvement
• On-going learning which is then brought back and shared with our team in weekly training sessions

Over the last few years we have worked hard to gain accreditation to show our commitment to these values; ISO140001, Gold Level of The Mayor of London Green Procurement Code and Sedex membership. We are registered with Diversity works for London (DWfL) and work to the ETI base code (See below for more information on these)

We will never knowingly do business with a supplier whose practices conflict with the direction of our policy. We aim to help and inform our partners so they can make their own positive impact on society.

The Sourcing Team positive actions:
• We will comply with all relevant environmental legislation
• We train our staff to understand and help us achieve our objectives
• We strive to constantly improve our environmental standards
• Take time to constantly grow and share our knowledge and awareness
• Set our own environmental objectives and on-going targets
• Committed to greater sustainable procurement
• As a team we are committed to delivering on our CSR objectives

We care about our environment and the people around us, we commit to behaving responsibly, socially and ethically and to have a positive impact on our staff, their families, the local community and all of our partners around the world. We care and we deliver!

What does Corporate Social Responsibility really mean?
The area of CSR is confusing for businesses and of course, tough to keep on top of the requirements, trying to be a socially responsible business. It does require commitment in time and resources but if we can do it as a small business then there are no excuses!
Our goals are small but we have identified areas for improvement including energy saving, purchasing green energy, sustainable purchasing, recycling waste and travel options. By setting achievable targets we have found that the whole team is keen to embrace the challenge of meeting our goals. Our achievements may seem small in the scheme of things but if everyone makes a few key changes, together we can make a difference.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication "Making Good Business Sense" by Lord Holme and Richard Watts used the following definition. "Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as that of the local community and society at large" (Source: Mallenbaker).

Below are some links for further information and some hopefully useful definitions:

BPMA – British Promotional Merchandise Association:
The bpma is the UKs leading association for the promotional merchandise industry, dedicated to promoting best practice. The Sourcing Team are bpma Charter members having earned this status through meeting the charter standard core values including transparency, quality, ethical values and financial stability.

Chartered Institute of Purchasing Supply:
(CIPS) exists to promote and develop high standards of professional skill, ability and integrity among all those engaged in purchasing and supply chain management. All members’ sign up to the code of ethics when they join CIPS - the last major review and update was in March 2009.

Diversity Works for London:
Diversity Works for London is a Mayoral programme encouraging and supporting businesses to realise the benefits of London’s diversity. Through support the programme enables companies to improve performance through the strategic management of diversity.

ETI - The Ethical Trading Initiative:
A ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations. They work in partnership to improve the working lives of people across the globe that make or grow consumer goods - everything from tea to T-shirts, from flowers to footballs. We work to the ETI base code as part of our ethical policy.

Mayor of London Green Procurement Code:
The Mayor of London Green Procurement Code recognises and rewards achievements in green procurement. The progress review aligns with the five themes of the flexible framework: a tool used to deliver the Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan, Procuring the Future. By completing the progress review and using it to plan and implement a green procurement action plan, you can reach the highest level (gold) of the flexible framework.

PPAI: Promotional Products Association International:
This is a US based association for the promotional industry. The Sourcing Team have been members for a number of years and are signed up to their code of conduct.

Sedex is a membership organisation that enables companies around the world to share ethical data and enables continuous improvement throughout their supply chain.

Frequently used Terms:

Able to decay naturally and harmlessly. Biodegradable products and packaging helps to limit the amount of harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere.

Biodegradable Corn Starch “Plastics”:
Corn starch plastic is renewable, non-polluting and compostable, replacing the need for limited oil reserves by using sustainable plants. During growth, plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere – this carbon is extracted to form Corn Starch plastic. The carbon is locked up in the bio-plastic until it is thrown away.
Once added to compost or landfill, corn starch plastic starts to decompose. The level of gasses released by the degrading plastic are the same as those absorbed by the plant during its growth, meaning no extra increase in greenhouse gases.

Bio Mark:
Since September 2001, all agricultural products and foodstuffs from organic farming may be labelled with the national Bio-Siegel (eco label) of Germany. The small hexagonal logo with the inscription “Bio” brings about clarity, uniformity and orientation for organic or eco products respectively. Consumers can rely on it: “If it says ‘Bio’ on the outside it contains organic products.” Only producers and manufacturers who comply with the provisions of the EU Organic Farming Regulation and subject themselves to the mandatory inspections may sell their products as organic or eco goods and label them accordingly with the Bio-Siegel.

Blue Angel:
Created in 1978 The Blue Angel claims to be the oldest environmental – related label for products and services in the world. Focused initially on recycled products the Blue Angel certificate has now been broadened to include other environmental benefits.
The Blue Angel promotes the concerns of both environmental protection and consumer protection. It is awarded to products and services which – from a holistic point of view – are of considerable benefit to the environment and meet high standards of serviceability, health and occupational protection. Economical use of raw materials during production, use, a long service life and a sustainable disposal - all these are factors of great importance.

Circular Economy:
Based on the living world cycle where the waste of one species provides the food for another and resources flow in a circular movement, the principle is that manufacturers redesign commonly used items so they can be easily dismantled and the component parts reused in future items.

Closed Loop:
Recycling- process where the waste or by-product of one process or product is used to make another product

Environmental Policy:
An environmental policy should lay out your environmental strategy and how you manage the process throughout your supply chain. This should incorporate any local or international regulations pertinent to your industry.

Ethical Policy:
Ethical trading means looking beyond strictly economic objectives to consider the wider implications of your business decisions. It is becoming increasingly important for those trading internationally.

EU Leaf Mark:
For years many countries have had their own regulations for “organic” products, and many different logos. In 2010 the EU brought out a new Mark for organic food products complimented by a strict set of rules these products and producers have to comply with.
The EU Leaf Mark is legally binding and the only sign acknowledged in all European countries. The German BIO Logo is well known in many parts of Europe and can still be used alongside the new EU Leaf Mark which must be used by EU law if goods are referred to as organic. (Only Products that can be used as nutrition can be certified with these two organic marks).

Fair Trade:
A term used to describe a social –responsibility movement demanding the farmers receive fair prices for their products; also describes products that are produced by these farmers.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):
FSC is an independent, non –for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS):
The Global Organic Textile Standard was developed in a common approach by leading standard setters with the aim to define world –wide recognised requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide credible assurance to the consumer.

ISO14001 is the corner stone standard of the ISO14000 series. It specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System against which an organization can be certified by a third party.

Implies that a product does not contaminate or corrupt the environment.

Organic certification:
A certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
• avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc.), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of biosolids;
• use of farmland that has been free from synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more);
• keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail);
• maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
• undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
 In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, and commercial use of the term organic is legally restricted. Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producers.

Having been used before and then processed so that it can form a new product.

Can be reprocessed so it can be used again. Examples are paper, glass, plastic etc.

Recycled PET:
Bottles made of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) are recycled to reuse the material out of which they are made and to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.
PET plastic bottles are coded with the code number “1” inside the recycling symbol, usually located on the bottom of the container. The waste PET must be separated from other plastics such as PVC, HDPE, polypropylene as well as any waste; paper, food, metal etc.
The recycled PET is shredded, crushed and processed before “flakes” are used as a raw material for making items normally produced include, umbrella canopies, lanyards, bags and some clothing items.

Sustainable Jute:
Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for a fertiliser or pesticides. A natural plant with a four month growing cycle jute is a sustainable, biodegradable and renewable source of raw material. Jute is a long, soft, shiny plant fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.
Jute is second only to cotton to the amount produced and variety uses from any natural fibres. Collected from the skin of the plant fibre is partially a textile and partially wood based. 85% of the world’s jute production is concentrated in Bangladesh and India, mainly Bengal.

Sustainability economics involves ecological economics where social, cultural, health-related and monetary/financial aspects are integrated.

Sustainable Procurement:
Sustainable procurement means only purchasing goods that are really needed and buying items or services whose production, use and disposal minimize negative impacts on the environment and society.

If you require any additional information or if we can assist you with any of our policies, please do feel free to email the team on