Kicking off materiality assessment and the B Corp journey with Priory Direct packaging

A packaging company that wants to minimise packaging? That’s a paradox I couldn’t resist. So, when Kent-based Priory Direct — “The home of planet-friendly packaging” — joined 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses and individuals which gives 1% of turnover to environmental nonprofits, I asked to be introduced.

Back in 2008, Grain was one of the first organisations in the UK to join 1% for the Planet, and I currently serve on the UK and Ireland Steering Committee. It’s been an amazing way to get to know like-minded people, especially in the SME space. Because we also do design work, I initially thought it would be good to get to know a custom packaging company that shared our sustainability values. The relationship has blossomed from there.

In January of this year I met some of the Priory Direct team: Josh Pitman, MD, Lauren Churcher, Head of Performance Marketing, and Aaric Snook, Designer and UX Strategist. Josh is full of energy and focused on keeping sustainability front and centre for Priory Direct. He asked about an ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) certification for the business — a bold step in committing to a rigorous, externally audited international standard for environmental management — and is keen to become a B Corp, arguably the boldest step of all!

Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a commitment to a wholly new kind of business, one that balances purpose and profit through a legally binding structure that puts governance, workers, environment, customers, and community at the heart of business decision-making.

As we talked through the whys and wherefores of implementing sustainability frameworks, it was clear that Josh wanted to take this ambitious step. This past summer, we were delighted when Priory Direct engaged us to undertake a materiality assessment, an initial carbon footprint, and support for B Corp certification.

We started work in September with Josh, Lauren, and Commercial Director Nick Hunt, and have been busy with materiality research, stakeholder engagement, and data gathering of all sorts, from asking more about the solar panels on the warehouse roof, to the ingenious ways Priory Direct has found to minimise cardboard waste by repurposing it as void fill. Planet-friendly packaging indeed! We’ve also started on their journey to B Corp certification and are well underway in completing Priory Direct’s B Impact Assessment, the first step in certification.

What’s it been like doing business with Priory Direct? As I suspected from the very beginning, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with Josh and the team on this project. Their enthusiasm and authenticity is energising, and we look forward to sharing the results of the first stages of our work soon.

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