Sustainable Development Goals - Our Commitment in Action

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global initiative launched as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, aimed at addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing our world today. These 17 goals cover a wide range of issues, from reducing inequality and poverty to tackling climate change and preserving the environment, all with the aim of creating a better, more sustainable future for everyone by 2030.

The Normans Education team understand the importance of these goals, but we also appreciate that it’s not practical, or relevant, for us to tackle all 17. That’s why we’ve looked at the individual goals where we feel we can make changes to support the overall objective. Focusing on specific SDGs that align with our strengths and values, allows us to integrate sustainability into our business practices in a meaningful way. We're committed to making a positive difference, focusing our efforts where we can contribute the most, and working towards a sustainable future in partnership with the Music Education community. 

Here you will find details of how we’re trying to make a difference in the way our business is run. Clearly this is a long-term project, as we can’t change everything overnight, so we’ll keep this page updated as and when we achieve our mini targets or set new ones.

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Goal 3 is about ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages. 

We are starting by supporting employees to ensure they have a positive work/life balance and encouraging team activities to enhance both physical and mental health. In January 2024 we started the Normans Run Club which gets together 2 or 3 times a week to pound the pavements of Burton-upon-Trent.

Goal 4: Quality Education

Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

We have seen many student work placements and apprentices through our doors over the years and currently provide support for employees to gain external qualifications. This is an area we are looking to expand, so that we can offer structured training to more of the team. By providing continual opportunities to improve the skills relevant to their role, it will enhance their opportunities both in current and future employment.

Our 3 company Directors have over 70 years of combined experience in the musical instrument/education industry and are passionate about mentoring the team and seeing them develop.

We can’t talk about quality education without mentioning our commitment to Music Education. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to explore the world of music. Through various initiatives and partnerships with Music Education charities, we have helped to make playing an instrument accessible to as many children as possible, regardless of socio-economic background.

Goal 5: Gender Equality

Goal 5 is set to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

As an equal opportunity employer, we fully support equal pay for work of equal value and welcome the benefits a gender diverse workforce offers. We have a Director (shareholder), Warehouse and Customer Service Managers who are all female and have significant influence on the successful running of the business. 

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Goal 7 is about ensuring access to clean, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all.

We do not use gas in either our offices or warehouse and are solely powered by electricity. Our contract is due for renewal later in 2024 and we are currently researching the market to find the most suitable Green Energy supplier we can switch to once the opportunity arises.

All of our lighting is now LED and the warehouse has been fitted with PIR motion sensors, so that locations are only lit when there is activity in that area.

We are also in the process of reviewing our procedures around power management and will be fitting timer switches where appropriate and putting in other measures to ensure that non-critical electrical equipment and appliances are turned off outside of normal working hours.    
As well as our operating energy, we are also reviewing any components within our products that require power. For example, we are switching the practice amplifiers in our electric guitar packs from being mains powered to a smaller USB rechargeable model. This not only reduces the power required to run it, but has the added benefit of being smaller, meaning we can reduce the packaging size which has a positive impact on the shipping element of their carbon footprint.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 8 promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

Over recent years we have significantly expanded our own brand offering and key to this has been finding the right manufacturing partners to work with. Each and every factory we source directly from has been visited personally by our Directors, who have met not only the owners but have talked to their staff working on the factory floor making our instruments. Ensuring that we are working with well-run factories, where owners look after their employees and provide them with a safe environment, is a core value of how we operate.

Our commitment to Health & Safety on our own sites is very important and we work to develop a culture where everyone can enjoy their work in a safe environment and employees look after each other’s welfare. 

We are constantly investing in our IT infrastructure and by adopting new technologies can improve the efficiency and output of the business. Alongside this we foster an entrepreneurial culture and our senior management team invest time in mentoring younger team members to help them develop themselves and impact the wider business.  

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Goal 10 covers reducing inequalities within and among countries, be it income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity.

As an equal opportunities employer we are fully aligned with this goal and welcome the positives that a diverse workforce can bring to our business.

We are currently developing a living wage policy and aim to be an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer in 2024.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 12 is about ensuring responsible, sustainable consumption and production. Including 12.5, by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Due to the nature of our business, we feel this is an area where we can make meaningful changes and are working to adopt more sustainable practices to help us achieve the commitments we have made to the SME Climate Hub.

We are in discussions with the manufacturers of our in-house products to reduce both the amount and type of packaging used in our products, a key target being to remove as much plastic packaging as possible. A good example of this is our plan to replace the plastic bags used to protect our A-Star Percussion instruments with Sydney paper (the type you would find on a bouquet of flowers). We are also trialling the use of cardboard based boxes for our percussion packs instead of plastic tubs.  

Any new cardboard boxes we purchase are sourced from an ISO 14001 certified company, Sandland Packaging, who were the first corrugated sheet plant in the UK to become fully carbon neutral.

Our waste cardboard is compacted in our on-site baler and shipped directly to a local recycling mill for processing.

We recently switched our UK palletised shipment deliveries to a local transport firm (based less than 3 miles from us), this not only means we’re supporting a local family business but also reducing the distance their lorries are travelling with empty space to collect pallets from us.

The introduction of the recent Extended Produced Responsibility for Packaging (EPR) regulations has meant we need to look much more closely at the volume and type of packaging that moves through our supply chain. We have welcomed this as an opportunity to review our activity in this area and take steps to minimise the environmental impact of our activities.   

The launch of our ReTune Instrument Recycling Scheme has been well received by Music Education Hubs and we are proud to be helping them recycle or repurpose their old, unwanted instruments.

Goal 13: Climate Action

Goal 13 is focussed on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

In late 2023 we partnered with Earthly, who help companies invest in high quality nature-based solutions that remove carbon, restore biodiversity and improve livelihoods. By making contributions to selected Earthly projects on behalf of our customers we are helping some of the communities most impacted by climate change. You can see the impact to date on our Earthly Dashboard.

We recently introduced a company Electric Vehicle Scheme and are currently looking into Cycle to Work Schemes to encourage and support our team to commute in a more climate friendly way. Most of our employees live within 5 miles of our head office and several already walk to work or take the bus.

As a digital first business, we are constantly reviewing our systems and processes to remove the need for printing documents. Most of our systems are cloud based and staff are encouraged to share files digitally wherever possible rather than using paper.

In 2023 we launched our ReTune Instrument Recycling Scheme which has been well received by Music Education Hubs and any surplus generated by the repurposing of the instruments is donated to one of our chosen Earthly Projects.

Goal 15: Life on Land

Goal 15 is about conserving life on land and protecting forests, land degradation and biodiversity loss.

Recycling has a big impact here and by baling our used cardboard, responsibly disposing of our IT equipment through CDE and our ReTune Instrument Recycling Scheme we are already doing some positive things in this area. Our digital first/no paper ethos and commitment to packaging reduction are also important.

We are currently undertaking a detailed review of all our internal activities to identify wasteful processes and practices within the business and once highlighted will be working to eliminate them wherever possible.

Our partnership with Earthly is an ongoing commitment to support nature-based projects that remove carbon and restore biodiversity.

The content of this publication has not been approved by the United Nations and does not reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or Member States.