United Nations Day is a good reminder of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which lay the way for the kind of world we want by 2030. If you thought they were none of our business, think again!
Saga Furs has been a member of the UN Global Compact for 10 years now, voluntarily assessing performance and reporting on Global Reporting Initiative. This commitment, combined with the company’s overall sustainability strategy and programmes has already had a meaningful impact across the board on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To mark global United Nations Day (24 October) Saga Furs made a study of our business areas and sustainability impacts in the context of the SDGs.
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
• Saga Furs encourages a safe open and inclusive workplace that inspires personal growth and professional results.
• Our Code of Conduct forms the framework for all company operations and sets out standards of behaviour for all employees.
• Saga Furs partners in the value network all contribute to and benefit from the value we create through our core fur auction consignment business, whether through providing income to rural producer communities, including employment opportunities to Finnish nationals and migrant workers in remote geographies and in our own workforce, or providing tax and income and shareholder value to society in some 40 countries.
• In rural areas, ecosystems grow up around fur farms, for example when they purchase services from feed manufacturers, who, in turn, buy raw materials from local grain, meat and fish suppliers. From the viewpoint of this ecosystem as a whole, Finland employs three times more people indirectly than it employs directly.
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
• Saga Furs, through its sustainability programme, is committed to sustainable consumption and production. As part of the Code of Conduct, our employees pledge to personally decrease the ecological impact of their own work by reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency and preventing pollution.
• In our supplier certification programme, implemented in Finland by our parent association ProFur, fur producers are encouraged to adopt energy efficient and low-carbon practices. By sourcing unused animal and fish by-products for animal feed, farmers in Finland are also working to eliminate substantial food waste.
• Fur in itself is a long-lasting product with vintage potential for generations and at the end of its life-cycle fur will biodegrade naturally and quickly, unlike plastic-based artificial alternatives. Fashion designers have also developed a highly skilled sustainable approach to cutting fur that promotes zero waste.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
• The company has recently embarked on a plan to introduce LED lighting in warehouse area, which would bring big electricity cuts. In heating, Saga Furs sources 100% green renewable energy.
• Cutting carbon in transportation. In 2017, we reduced the number of trucks by 20% YOY, generating a reduction in transport costs, petroleum use and emissions.
• In a space-saving effort, we’ve also managed to pack the pelts for delivery as efficiently as possible by compressing them to half their original size. This increases the load capacity per transport container and lowers carbon emissions and energy spend.
• Saga Furs suppliers produce their own renewable energy from animal waste – including biodiesel and biogas. Solar energy production is also being introduced on some animal shed rooftops. These practices are core to the fur industry circular economy.
SDG 14: Life below Water
Conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources
• Saga Furs is helping clean the Baltic Sea. This is done through our farmer suppliers, as part of a commitment between ProFur and the Baltic Sea Action Group, and involves sourcing animal feed for fur animals feeding fur animals with fish that people don’t eat.
• Fur as a material, unlike faux fur as a petroleum-based product, biodegrades naturally at end of life and does not further exacerbate the global crisis of micro-plastic pollution in the ocean.
Goal 15: Life on Land
Halt and reverse land degradation
• Manure from fur animals is richer in nitrogen and phosphorus than any other animal manure. As part of our supplier certification programme, farmers are committed to the correct handling of manure, waste management and their watering system, which also form the basis of Finnish environmental legislation. Seedbeds made of fur animal manure absorb a lot of water and provide nutrients for the whole growing season.
“During the study, we found that the work of Saga Furs and its partners intersects with almost all 17 SDGs,” explains Charlie Ross, Saga Furs Business Manager Sustainability and Supply-chain Management. “However, maximising our contribution to SDGs, we’ve decided to focus our efforts on the above five goals, which we see as most relevant to our business and value network, and where we can have the most impact.”
The Global SDGs, launched in 2015, are the blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all: “To even come close to achieving these goals,” says Ross, “we’ll need an unprecedented effort from all sectors of government, civil society – and of course business must take a leading role.”