COMMERCIAL is a business services provider, with a portfolio comprising office supplies, IT services and managed print services as well as outsourced print, office interiors and technologies. Founded in 1991 by brother and sister Arthur and Simone Hindmarch, along with Arthur’s uni friend Alastair Adams, Commercial is now a £70m turnover company employing 300 people.
“The Queen’s Award win came hot on the heels of our best-ever year in terms of financial performance. It has galvanised us to set our sights even higher as we plan for the next five to 10 years,” said Arthur Hindmarch, co-founder and chairman.
Queen’s Awards judges described Commercial as a ‘sector leader’ in sustainability, highlighting numerous environmental and social achievements.
Commercial By Nature
Commercial’s sustainability journey began when Simone was invited by valued, longstanding customer Sky to attend one of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truthlectures. His words spurred her to drive the business towards better environmental responsibility. Team viewings of the documentary ensued and a company-wide environmental strategy was launched.
Today, every business decision at Commercial is made with sustainability in mind. Sustainability is highly visible and encapsulated in the core business proposition, ‘Commercial By Nature’.
“For us, being successful isn’t just about turnover and profit margins. It’s about the impact of our business on communities and the environment. At Commercial, strong values and strong business sense are two sides of the same coin,” said
Simone Hindmarch, co-founder and MD.
Inspiring and enabling employees to take personal responsibility for sustainability is a core element of Commercial’s strategy. Every four months, cross-departmental teams develop a transformative proposal based on one of Commercial’s 10 commitments for responsible business and pitch it to the board. The successful team has funding cleared, and goals are communicated at an entertaining, company-wide Change Champions event.
Commercial has also facilitated employee engagement programmes free of charge for clients who want to instil a positive sustainability mindset more deeply in their own organisation.
Commercial’s flagship CSR Days embed sustainability values with clients and suppliers. Their scope has broadened from focusing on green issues to covering the full spectrum of environmental, ethical and social value, with themes including ‘People, Planet, Profit’, ‘Who Cares Wins’ and most recently ‘Challenge. Champion. Change.’
Events are orchestrated to inspire and energise delegates while imparting practical ideas. High-profile keynote speakers challenge the audience and stimulate new ways of thinking. Over 300 delegates attend, and recent speakers include environmental entrepreneur Ed Gillespie, sustainable designer Wayne Hemmingway and climate scientist Chris Rapley.
Green delivery fleet
When Commercial first measured its carbon emissions in 2006, delivery vehicles were a major contributor. Tackling this has required game-changing innovation.
In 2013, the company deployed its first hydrogen-enabled van. Today it has the UK’s largest privately-owned hydrogen fleet and also uses electric delivery vans where operating parameters allow.
Commercial is currently taking part in two landmark projects for zero-emission delivery vehicle technology innovation via the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial.
Commercial invests 20 per cent of its profits into Commercial Foundation, the social enterprise it established in 2015. It has also launched a Products with Purpose range, generating further income for Commercial Foundation and enabling customers to make purposeful procurement decisions that embed social value in the supply chain.
Commercial Foundation provides opportunities for disadvantaged young people to make a fresh start by helping them develop resilience and ‘work readiness’ skills. An independent audit by Social Enterprise UK shows that it generates a social value ROI of £4.86 per £1.
“Each day I feel my self-belief growing, and I’m excited about my future. Commercial Foundation has transformed my life,” said Sam Jackson, a former participant.
Commercial has set its sights on achieving an ambitious £100m turnover, while challenging itself to take sustainability even further. Several new initiatives are already underway following the Queen’s Award win. These range from sustainability-led decisions surrounding staff benefits and facilities, to longer-term projects that tackle some of the thorniest issues head-on.
Each of Commercial’s 23 toilets has been twinned with a toilet in Malawi as part of a water and sanitation programme run by charity Tearfund. Funds generated by Toilet Twinning are used to address sanitation issues that impact a third of the global population. Furthermore, a new volunteering scheme sees the business releasing one day per employee per year to be dedicated to a charity of their choice. Organisations benefitting from this in the past month include Dogs Trust and the Riding for the Disabled Association.
Single-use plastic reduction
The plastic pollution crisis is one of the most complex and challenging environmental issues facing the world today. There is no easy solution, but Commercial is taking measures to reduce the amount of single-use plastic associated with the business and its employees, customers and suppliers.
A recently launched Change Champions project is spotlighting the amount of disposable plastic employees use in their daily lives, then challenging them to make lifestyle changes to reduce it. It will culminate in a series of plastic reduction vlogs where the Change Champions share ideas, encouraging colleagues to take on the challenge.
Commercial is also engaging with forward-thinking clients such as Sky, as well as suppliers, to identify and address plastic waste weak spots in the office supply chain.
Commercial Foundation, We Do. IT
2018 has seen Commercial Foundation’s launch of We Do. IT, recycling customers’ redundant IT equipment in association with charity IT Schools Africa.
“Winning a Queen’s Award is the ultimate success, but our work doesn’t stop here. The win has renewed our motivation and commitment to accelerate business growth while further improving sustainability at Commercial and beyond,” Simone said.
“I was so impressed by what I saw at Commercial, so inspired by it, that I have used it as an example of what can happen when an inspirational leader takes a team and does something extraordinary”
Chris Rapley, CBE, climate scientist
Commercial House,Old Station Drive, Leckhampton,
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 0DL
Tel: (0)1242 703 400 • firstname.lastname@example.org