May has arrived; flowers are blossoming, birds are chirping but most importantly, lockdown restrictions are easing, allowing businesses to open up and welcome back their customers and clients. This picturesque month of new beginnings is the perfect time to introduce our readers to the next BCFA Member of the Month, Hypnos. Coming off the back of a year of incredible, sustainable accolades, we speak to Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos, on the company’s journey in sustainable bed-making.
Please can you tell our readers about Hypnos?
Hypnos is a British, fifth-generation, family-run mattress and bed manufacturer.
In fact, Hypnos has been practising and perfecting the art of making luxury pocket spring mattresses and beds by hand since Edwardian days, with over 100 years of bed-making experience and insight into a great night’s sleep.
A Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reinforces Hypnos’ reputation for service excellence and the very best of British quality. Hypnos is renowned internationally as an expert and pioneer in sustainably-designed mattresses, supplying beautiful beds to eco-conscious homes and hotels around the world.
Combining traditional skills with constant innovation, and using only the finest natural, sustainable and low carbon materials, Hypnos has a reputation for making the most comfortable and the most sustainable beds in the world.
Today, sustainability is at the heart of our business and runs through everything we do.
When did Hypnos begin to address sustainability within your business?
Sustainability has been a key factor in all business decisions Hypnos has made over the past 11 years. From the outset of our journey we had the aim of becoming a carbon neutral manufacturer, whilst making sure our customers could turn to Hypnos for robust, durable and sustainably designed beds, with the luxury, comfort and quality the brand has always been known for.
We reached our goals and became the world’s first carbon neutral bedmaker, offsetting more than 9,550 tonnes of carbon during that time. In fact, this dedication to the environment has been recognised with a prestigious The Planet Mark – Carbon Neutral Certification’, which acknowledges our long-term mission to create truly sustainable sleep.
What steps have you taken within your business?
I was appointed as official Director of Sustainable Development at Hypnos in 2019 to meet Hypnos’ ambitious ongoing commitment to put sustainability at the centre of the company’s product development and the way the business operates.
This meant putting steps in place to continue our focus on naturally farmed, chemically-free and recyclable materials, which support the company’s wider low carbon, responsible and ethical business practices. The steps have impacted everything from our supply chain to our internal processes. As a result of this focus, we have achieved market-leading environmental landmarks, some of which include:
• The Global Recycled Standard – an international accreditation awarded to us this month and only given to companies to verify that their products not only contain recycled materials, but are traceably sourced and made using socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes
• The same year, we were awarded our second Queen’s Award for Enterprise, this time for Sustainable Development
Do your sustainable actions include your product, production and business?
Absolutely, our actions go right from product design, packaging and creation, to sourcing the most ethically and environmentally friendly produced materials, through to making products that are 100% recyclable at the end of their life, contributing to the circular economy.
It is this approach which we believe has seen us awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, for our pioneering commitment to sustainable and ethical product design and operation of the business.
This respected achievement is the second Queen’s Award for the company, following our 2017 win for International Trade. Highly celebrated, the Queen’s Award is only given to those who can demonstrate outstanding sustainability achievements and whose environmentally-sound products and management of the company benefits the environment, society and the economy.
What initiatives have you put in place regarding your product design and material selection?
As a business we have made it our mission to implement as many positive initiatives as possible. A good example of this can be seen in how we source our cotton and wool, both key fibres in our mattresses.
We’ve partnered and worked closely with both CottonConnect and the Better Cotton Initiative to source ethical cotton and make sure that the product we’re bringing into the business is traceable, traded fairly and from ethical suppliers of the highest quality.
This approach is the same when it comes to wool as we created an industry-first partnership with Red Tractor Assured Food Standards to ensure that not only does the wool we’re receiving come from carefully selected British farms that guarantee high animal welfare, land, soil and biodiversity management standards at all times, but that these farmers are also receiving a fair price for the wool too.
For over a decade we have not used chemical-based foams or memory foams in our beds and mattresses – removing the potential for these types of products to create harmful off-gasses and poor air quality. In addition, we use the revolutionary eOlos™ sustainable fibre, that’s made from recycled plastic bottles. To date, by using these fibres inside some of our mattresses, we’ve recycled over 235,000,000 plastic bottles that would have ended up in the world’s oceans or coastlines.
In 2020, we also created another industry first with a new recyclable, eco-friendly packaging that’s made using sugar cane and recycled plastic and used to package our beds and mattresses. As a result, this carbon neutral packaging has a carbon footprint that can be up to four times lower than that of normal plastic and is 100% recyclable.
How have your sustainable actions impacted your production?
Our sustainability pledge has allowed us to rethink all of our production processes, with a ‘lean and green’ operational culture which focuses on the minimisation of carbon emissions, energy and waste at every stage. Indeed, no production waste goes to landfill, but is turned into recycled materials. We have also been collecting and recycling old beds and our packaging for over a decade, helping to create recycled raw materials for re-use in other industries.
In addition to the materials and initiatives mentioned in the previous question, all of the timber within our upholstered bed bases is from managed forests and sustainable sources that comply with the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC® licence code FSC-C110890) and The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC licence code PEFC/16-37-1392).
We use a biomass boiler to heat our Castle Donington site, and only use renewable energy at our factories. As a result, have reduced our carbon emissions as a company by around 70% since 2011.
Why is this an industry leading approach?
Hypnos is the proud holder of a number of ‘industry first’ accreditations and partnerships – accolades which aren’t held by others within our industry. We’re not afraid to challenge the way the bed industry does things, and think creatively for the benefit of the environment and communities around the UK and the world. It’s this approach which allows us to confidently state that Hypnos’ beds are some of the most sustainable in the industry.
We’re extremely proud of these credentials and it’s Hypnos’ commitment to continue to push forwards, challenging the way our industry sources, produces, designs and recycles, in the hope that the entire bed manufacturing sector will follow suit. We see Hypnos’ role as pioneering the way for the future of sustainable sleep.
And, our environmental and social responsible ethos stretches far beyond sustainable design. Hypnos is involved in a variety of certified climate projects including planting trees in both the UK and the Amazon rainforest, plus providing clean water in Uganda, helping to make a difference within our communities and to inspire action.
In what ways have your approach to sustainability improved the strength of your business?
Consumers are keener than ever to know the provenance and impact of everything they buy and do. Whether that’s the sustainable credentials of the furniture they purchase for their home, the biophilic design principles and use of natural materials within the building and interior designs of their choice of get-away properties, or the carbon footprint of a trip away. With this in mind, the bed and contract furniture industry faces the task of being able to not only create products that are high-quality, built using natural, sustainable materials, but that will also limit its impact on the environment at the end of its life.
Our commitment to sustainability means Hypnos can wholeheartedly demonstrate numerous initiatives which we have put in place to ensure we are offering truly sustainable sleep solutions. This offers our customers a genuine story to tell, and in turn gives their customers’ peace of mind and a great sleep experience.
What do you have planned for the future?
The future of sustainability at Hypnos focuses on another decade of action, continuing to push forward with a new range of exciting renewable, carbon neutral materials and further supply chain traceability endeavours, as we continue leading the way for our industry, building on our approach to ‘comfort with integrity’.
Read more Member of the Month Q&A’s.
Contact Hypnos through the BCFA Product Finder.
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