RS brings together health and safety industry professionals and PPE buyers to share insights on sustainability

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RS, a trading brand of RS Group plc (LSE: RS1), a global provider of product and service solutions for industrial customers held an event at its Corby headquarters recently to bring together health and safety industry specialists, suppliers and organisations from a variety of sectors that buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The theme of the event was sustainability and attendees shared their knowledge and insights around this rapidly evolving topic.

The Sustainability and PPE event featured elements including a panel discussion, round table conversations and a chance to view some of the latest innovations in sustainable PPE, with a Meet the Manufacturer mini-exhibition.

Panellists included representatives from firms leading the way in sustainable PPE and recycling solutions: Avena, a provider of textile recycling and waste disposal services, and Globus Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of safety solutions like hand, eye, head, hearing and respiratory protection. The panel also featured Roy Wilders, manager, registered safety suppliers scheme, from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) and RS representatives from the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) and Safety Solutions teams.

The panel explored themes like sustainable and fit-for-purpose PPE solutions, verifying an ethical supply chain and upcoming new health and safety legislation, as well as insight on how to start or progress the journey to Net Zero.

Martin Bratherton, Head of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) at Allied Bakeries and Mills, said: “We’re very early on in our sustainability journey, so it’s great to get access to events like this where we can hear directly from suppliers pioneering new technologies and innovations in sustainable PPE. This kind of industry education is really valuable, but not easy to come by.

“RS’ event was very insightful and gave me a deeper understanding of the PPE product supply chain, a better knowledge of the sustainable products available – as we buy hundreds of different products from RS – and an idea of where the big wins are and how we can work towards a long-term strategy to achieve our sustainability goals.”

Other customers attending the event were from organisations including Fining UK, Peel Ports and Bettys & Taylors Group, among others.

Rob Russell, Group Sales Director PPE from RS Safety Solutions facilitated the panel and said: “This is the second event we’ve held for customers in this industry, as the first one focusing on inclusive PPE was very well-received. With the very real and growing topic of sustainability, we felt it was important to help our customers navigate the minefield of sustainable PPE solutions, understand risks that exist in this space – like counterfeit or low- quality goods from unethical supply chains – and help them in achieving their ESG goals through better education of the options.

“Many of the attendees were enlightened on products they didn’t know existed and had their eyes opened to the economies of sustainable options. The preconception of high cost was dispelled as many were surprised to learn that environmentally-friendly options needn’t cost the Earth,” he added.

RS Group’s VP Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Andrea Barrett, and Head of Compliance, Quality, Ethical & Sustainability at RS, Danny Hobson, also presented its ESG framework and proposition to illustrate to customers the work going on behind the scenes within the organisation to achieve Net Zero. They highlighted the ethos and criteria behind its Better World product range, which enables customers to easily make greener product selections that are better for people, planet and the business. Better World products are categorised as those which are made more sustainably, offer a sustainable solution like reducing energy and emissions or support circularity, with an increased lifespan due to being reusable, recyclable, or repairable.