The home of planet-friendly packaging

Priory Direct

Priory Direct, ‘the home of planet-friendly packaging’, is a packaging supplier on a mission to minimise the impact of ecommerce on the environment. Grain met this Kent-based company in January 2021 through the 1% for the Planet network and we couldn’t resist the paradox of working with a packaging company who wanted to minimise waste.

Our initial contacts were Josh Pitman, MD, Lauren Churcher, Head of Performance Marketing, and Aaric Snook, Designer and UX Strategist. Soon the team expanded to include Commercial Director Nicholas Hunt and HR Coordinator Alex Crawford-Smith. Throughout 2021 we worked with them on a materiality assessment, measuring an initial carbon footprint, and supporting them on B Corp certification.

The starting point was strong: the warehouse in Kent is powered by solar panels and the company has innovative ways of minimising cardboard waste by repurposing it as void fill, as well as a carbon neutral packaging range. In addition, Priory Direct supports five charities with their 1% commitment and aim to protect 6 million square metres of rainforest each year through a partnership with Rainforest Trust UK, preserving a vital habitat for biodiversity and creating a carbon sink for the future.

However, priorities around sustainability weren’t clear, so we began our work with a materiality assessment. For this stage we created a shortlist of 10 material topics which we found to be relevant to the company such as compostable products, waste and recycling, shipping and logistics, and local communities and employment. As we knew Priory Direct was interested in becoming a B Corp, we aligned the materiality assessment to the B Impact Assessment’s five impact areas: governance, workers, environment, customers, and community. We assessed the importance of each topic for Priory Direct through anonymised interviews with key stakeholders and a survey of customers and employees. Finally, four material topics of high priority to the business were highlighted: waste and recycling, stakeholder relationships, product materials, and consumer education and communication.

Committing to becoming a B Corp is a pledge to a new way of doing business, balancing purpose and profit through a legally binding structure that puts the five aforementioned impact areas of at the heart of decision-making. Priory Direct was keen to take this ambitious step and use B Corp as a sustainability framework for the business, and with our help they submitted their application in April 2022 for the rigorous verification process.

We measured Priory Direct’s scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint, with initial data for scope 3 emissions, considering business travel, electricity, gas, and waste. The data used spanned the two most recent complete financial years and we included an intensity metric of emissions in proportion to revenue as a commonly-used basis for comparison to other businesses.

In February 2023, Priory Direct gained B Corp certification. This is a significant milestone for the company and the team is continuing its mission to make ecommerce more sustainable. Their priorities are now clear and they know where they can make the most impact. The carbon footprint is one example of a tangible metric that can now be measured and reported against annually. The next steps are further goal setting and more communication around the sustainability approach, targets and progress. It is a pleasure to work with Josh and the team: the enthusiasm and authenticity they bring to their work is truly energising.

“Working with Grain brought clarity and direction to our energy and enthusiasm, giving us a laser-focus on the key topics, approaches, and opportunities that would allow us to make the most positive impact possible.”

— Josh Pitman, Managing Director, Priory Direct

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