Enfield Council has taken a big step forward in achieving its green policy targets after collaborating with Office Depot to guarantee that all of its cleaning products are free from animal testing. The move makes the council the first in the country to exclusively use products that are officially accredited as being free from animal cruelty by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV).
The decision to source BUAV-approved products was made in keeping with Enfield Council's wider commitment to maintaining and improving its environmental strategy.
Enfield Council has a wide-ranging sustainable procurement policy which aims to source green product alternatives wherever possible, and its stance on animal testing is part of an ongoing pledge to make sure that this policy informs all areas of their procurement needs.
However, converting the council's desire for an all-BUAV product switch into a reality has proved to be a challenging task, and one which Office Depot has been instrumental in helping Enfield Council overcome.
Following in-depth research and development, Enfield Council and its supplier partner, Chela, successfully developed a set of completely new products free from animal testing. However, phasing these into use as a permanent replacement proved difficult due to the lack of a sufficiently capable logistics platform. Office Depot formed this vital link, ensuring that Enfield Council's ambitions and research were backed up by a robust and reliable distribution channel.
Cllr Andrew Stafford, cabinet member for finance and property for Enfield Council, said: “Successfully switching to a full range of products that are BUAV-approved has been a fantastic achievement, even more so due to the logistical challenges that this posed. Developing a new range of products was a huge step forward in realising Enfield Council's green objectives. Office Depot's collaboration has allowed us to maintain our existing supplier relationship with Chela, therefore enabling us to fully support our cruelty-free agenda without incurring unnecessary switchover costs. From a very early stage it was clear that Office Depot understood our green goals and shared the same drive to source a fully-rounded set of animal-friendly products that catered for the council's multiple needs. The products were tested and evaluated by Enfield Norse, Enfield Council's joint venture cleaning partner. Their ability to facilitate the distribution process has been pivotal in supporting us as we set out to meet the high standard we set ourselves. Ethically, this is a natural progression of where Enfield Council wants to be, and without Office Depot it would have been very difficult to achieve what we have.”
Enfield Council's move to BUAV-approved products has not only been recognised internally, but also helped it achieve Bronze-level membership of the Mayor of London's Green Procurement Code following a successful audit of its green practices.
Office Depot's role in facilitating product availability has also opened up these new BUAV-approved products to other organisations and councils seeking to adopt green policies similar to Enfield. The partnership has introduced a total of seven new products to the market, in some cases giving a more efficient cleaning service than was previously being provided. Among these innovative products is Guardisan Fresh, a dual-purpose cleaner and disinfectant that has eliminated the need for the wider range of products that was previously required to complete cleaning tasks. Importantly, these advancements have allowed Enfield to achieve its green goals in line with budgetary considerations.
David Brown, head of public sector at Office Depot, said: “By attaining a fully-approved set of BUAV cleaning products, Enfield Council has shown that it is possible to operate ethically without incurring an unsustainable rise in costs. Our priority from the start was to introduce an efficient logistics platform that provided the council with the volume necessary to meet previous service levels without this amounting to increased costs or disrupting current operations. By streamlining the delivery process, we were able to keep costs low and performance high. With the open availability of cruelty-free products that our collaboration has provided, we hope that more organisations recognise the importance of bringing this issue into their wider green policies.”