Stephen Hurton, founder, Proper Oils, the used cooking oil collection service, explains how sustainability is a driver for the business and why the company recently became a holder of The Planet Mark™
What inspired you to include sustainability in your business agenda?
I have always held an ardent interest in sustainability, the business was partly created due to my passion for it. My ambition was to help catalyze sustainability in the industry and break the supply chain by producing fuel locally. We have realised this ambition through the process of collecting and recycle cooking oil and sending it to businesses with links into the fuel supply chain to be turned into biodiesel.
Do you think businesses have a responsibility to report their environmental impact?
Yes, I think business have a responsibility to both report and minimize their environmental impact. In order to effectively reduce your environmental impact, you have got to measure it. In our case, we have investigated how best to offset our carbon and achieved carbon neutrality by investing in renewable schemes both in the developing world and in the UK. I think it should be an obligation for businesses to report their carbon emissions.
What are the objectives and targets of your sustainability efforts?
The first objective was to become the first carbon neutral waste oil collection and delivery service, which we have achieved. That was an aspiration of mine from more than five years ago. On top of this achievement, we have benefited from a number of other sustainability accomplishments. We have been operating on 100% renewable energy since 2016, abide by a zero waste to landfill policy, and only run Euro -6 registered vehicles. The overall objective is to translate these offerings to savings for the customer.
What business value do you expect to see from your sustainability efforts?
Sustainability is helping grow the business year on year, moreover it manifests a sense of purpose and positivity in the organisation. I think it opens doors. It means we recruit well, we operate efficiently, and we are proud of what we do. From my experience, potential suppliers also have favourable perceptions of you if you are following a sustainability programme.
What made you choose The Planet Mark ™?
We wanted to make it easy to showcase and amplify our sustainability initiatives to our customers. The Planet Mark™ was very proactive in explaining how we can add value by demonstrating out activities. Being certified also serves as a great networking tool by introducing us to businesses in the industry share similar sustainability objectives.