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Corporate social responsibility

Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

CSR is about how a business acts to make sure it positively affects society.
CSR policies make us behave ethically - on our social, economic and environmental impacts.
We should meet and aim to improve on relevant laws. If laws don’t exist, we should act ethically.
York Gin is committed to behave as ethically as possible by following this CSR policy.

Who we are and what we do

We are the York Gin Company Limited
We make world-class gins using traditional and sustainable methods in York’s only distillery. We also manage two shops and we run gin-tasting sessions in York.
The company values are to:

  • create gins of the highest quality
  • treat the planet, our people, our business partners and our customers with the utmost care and respect
  • be a sustainable, responsible and efficient company
  • create a positive, supportive, happy, fun and safe working environment
  • be inspired by our city’s and gin’s long and incredible histories - hence our motto ‘History in the Tasting’
  • make York proud of us
We have 12 permanent employees and 20+ part-time retail staff (full-time equivalent of 8 staff.)
Private limited company. Turnover in the £millions. Started trading in 2018.

Looking after our team - Accessibility and inclusivity

We aim to provide a supportive, happy and safe working environment for all our staff. We are an Equal Opportunities Employer as per the Human Rights Act 2010. We employ an HR consultant, Athena HR, to ensure we are doing the right thing by our team. We make genuine efforts to comply with the spirit and letter of the equality laws, we promote a supportive and harmonious working environment and treated all our team with dignity and respect. We do not discriminate unlawfully against or harass any person on any grounds.

Modern Slavery Act 2015: The key relevant area we have identified is the farming of botanicals (spices, herbs and fruit which flavour our gins). These come from a number of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. We have made sure that our supplier for all these botanicals, Beacon Commodities are fully compliant with the act.

Health and safety policies, procedures or training: We have comprehensive health and safety policies. Staff are given training appropriate to their role which ranges from hazardous material handling, handling and lifting, dealing with customers/alcohol in the workplace and many more. These are detailed in the online staff handbook.

Staff training, appraisals and personal development: All the team receive regular reviews, training and goal setting. These include one-to-one and whole team training. Although we are a small company, we have successfully developed a number of staff into more responsible roles. Training has included leadership training, communication skills and spirits industry qualifications (Wine & Spirit Education Trust - WSET).

How we communicate with staff: We communicate with staff in a variety of appropriate ways - primarily face to face. The retail team receives a monthly email briefing. The production team has a weekly team meeting. We also make use of WhatsApp to allow off-siite staff to stay in touch.

Pay and benefits: We are a registered Living Wage employer. Our key permanent staff have mobile phones where the job requires it and access to company electric vehicles for travel with renewable energy available on site. We give permanent full-time staff a day off on their birthday and part-time retail staff receive a gift on their birthday. All staff have product discounts. And staff can take an extra day to devote to charity work.

All staff are automatically enrolled into a pension scheme with the company making contributions.

Looking after our customers

We aim to make sure our customers have a brilliant experience with us. We make fantastic products and we treat customers brilliantly. We also aim to show the value of buying local and supporting a sustainable business like York Gin.

We respond to any queries we receive by email or on social media in a timely manner. Our policy is to give the customer the benefit of the doubt whenever a problem is raised. The retail team receives regular training to ensure standards expected of a premium brand are maintained.

Every stage of production is monitored and traceable. We are close to completing our SALSA (safe and local supplier approval) accreditation. The SALSA standard was written by experienced food safety experts to reflect both the legal requirements of producers and the enhanced expectations of 'best practice' of professional food buyers. Approval certification is only granted to suppliers who are able to demonstrate that they are able to produce and supply safe and legal food, and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA standard.

With every order we supply comprehensive tasting notes. Our tens of thousands of social media followers and email subscribers are kept up to date with our latest news and offers. We make a conscious effort not to ‘spam’ customers (for example, we only send one or two emails per month).

Suppliers' Standards

Where possible we choose local suppliers. We also ensure they are working in a sustainable manner.

We have ensured that our major suppliers adhere to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We work with a good awareness of the Bribery Act 2010 with the following procedures in place: Financial diligence: Accounts are checked by multiple stakeholders, and any stakeholder can check the accounts at any time. A commitment from the board that York Gin will always transact with customers and staff in a proper manner. We make a regular review of our procedures.

Local suppliers: Where possible we use local suppliers. This policy has resulted in moving our glass suppliers from France to Leeds, our cardboard and packaging being 100% Yorkshire-made. Our gifts made from upcycled wood as well as food and toiletries are all made in York. The neutral grain spirit is all made in Yorkshire from grain grown on Yorkshire farms.

We are committed to paying our suppliers properly and on time. We make every effort to make prompt payment - and certainly within agreed terms.

Our key suppliers have a CSR policy in place - notably Allied Glass who make all our bottles.

We maintain excellent relationships with our suppliers - most of whom we have worked with for several years and most of whom are local to York. We have entered longer-term commitments with larger suppliers - eg for glassware and bottles - which makes these relationships even more secure.

Protecting the Environment

Since our launch, we have been committed to doing all we can to protect the environment as much as possible. And we are committed to making incremental steps to becoming carbon neutral.

We have made a commitment to zero waste and have entered an agreement with our partners - Forge Recycling. This agreement includes them taking all our waste from the distillery - with zero going to landfill. They produce a monthly report detailing the CO2 emissions produced by converting waste to energy and they offset this with a tree planting scheme. From our shops, cardboard waste goes to Friends of St Nicholas' Field - a York environmental charity. We encourage customers to re-use and upcycle a supply of used bottles on display in our shop for a small fee which goes to one of our charities.

Water saving: During the cooler months, we use a water management system. Water cools the gin vapours back down to liquid - previously we had to let this water drain away afterwards. We re-use this water in a closed system. We use this system when temperatures allow - and we are developing this to work during the summer months, too. Watch this space.

The materials we use are: glass, card and paper - these are all recyclable. We don’t even use plastic on our tamper seals.

Encouraging greener transport: The majority of our employees work within a mile or two of their place of work (the shops in the city centre). Three of our employees who live further away use the Park & Ride service. We provide electric vehicles powered by green energy for all York Gin business including deliveries and sales meetings.

Community Engagement

We strive to support as many local charities and community groups as we can and have supported countless raffles and other fundraising activities.

Since our launch we have raised tens of thousands of pounds for local charities.

We have collection boxes in both shops for two of our official charities, St Leonard’s Hospice and York Cats Protection.

We created an exclusive gin to raise money for St Leonard’s and recently undertook a similar scheme for York Pride.

Even our commercial relationships are designed to support the local community – we have deals with York City Football Club and York Mix Radio.

Our full-time staff can take an extra day off to spend volunteering for a charity of their choice.

We support our local community by employing the equivalent of over 20 full-time jobs paying at least the Living Wage, and we support several local small businesses - indeed for some of these, we are one of their absolutely key customers.

Measurement

We regularly monitor and assess these measures. We work with Sustainable Business Solutions on an ongoing Carbon Footprint Report.

This is a record of our emissions and our targets to reduce these emissions. Work is now in progress to measure the emissions of our supply chain.

A monthly senior leadership team meeting ensures ensures that members of the board are aware of issues arising. And each team organises team meetings to facilitate the sharing of knowledge.

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