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Business Success Story: Sustainability certification sealing the deal for safety supplier

3S Saftey - From Failure to Fruition

For Clint Atkinson, owner of 3S Safety, missing out on a contract to a competitor has set his business down a new, more sustainable path.  

Based in Palmerston North, 3S Safety provides nearly every safety solution a business could need - whether that’s gumboots, PPE, welding gear or kits for handling chemical spills. But what’s helping lock their clients in is the newest addition to their range - a Toito Enviro-Mark Gold certification.  

“We noticed that sustainability policies and credentials were increasingly being sought after during contracts and commercial tenders,” says Clint. “They were asking businesses, ‘Don’t just say what you’re doing - show it!’ We lost out on one tender because a similar supplier had better sustainability credentials. 

“So, we decided to go for Enviro-Mark Gold accreditation through Toito. There is a cost involved, but it was well worth it. It was less a matter of ‘Can we afford to’ than a matter of ‘Can we afford not to?’” 

“It was also about acknowledging that our business sells products that are made using fossil fuels,” adds Swati Asthana, Marketing, Sustainability & Sales Support at 3S Safety, who has led their accreditation process. “They are built and stored in factories that use electricity, we dispatch our products around New Zealand, we drive and travel. Knowing we are part of the problem guides us to focus on where we can reduce, neutralise, or eliminate our direct impact on climate change.” 

The accreditation required an audit and there was a fair bit of back and forth. “We had to start everything from scratch - we had no process or procedures in place from an environmental management point of view.”  

That said, the 3S Safety team is already seeing a shift in their strategic thinking. “It has made a difference in our awareness. We are working on a few projects this year where we will be checking our supplier’s sustainability credentials, minimising plastic packaging from our supply chain and managing PPE going into landfill.”  

“One of our challenges - but also opportunities - is our supply chain,” explains Clint. “We don’t have a lot of direct control, but we have started asking suppliers if they can send us gear with less unnecessary packaging, and some can. You just need to ask.  

“We’re also doing more thinking about what we can do with products we’ve sold that could have a second life - can we offer a repair service or take back products or packaging for recycling?” 

The rewards of 3S Safety’s efforts are very clear. “It’s added significant value to our brand,” says Swati. There’s even been a few surprising ones. “There’s a strong link, at least with Enviro-Mark, between sustainability and workplace health and safety,” adds Clint. “It’s made us much stronger across both areas.” 

So what’s their advice for other businesses on the fence? “With more and more companies looking out for sustainability credentials, it’s wise to take those right steps now. Plus, to address the current climate problem at hand, we all will need to come together.” 

Ready to take the next step with your business’ sustainability? Our Sustainability Toolkit has a great collection of free resources, as well as a detailed list of the accreditations that could help your business get recognised.  

If your business would like to explore integrating sustainability practices into your operations, we welcome questions or comments through [email protected]

This was published in the Success Stories newsletter on March 30, 2023. Sign up here to receive our newsletters directly

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