The pressure on businesses to cut out the plastic waste that pollutes our oceans – as dramatically highlighted by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II – has intensified month after month, but for those willing to provide alternatives to plastic, opportunity knocks.
Transcend Packaging, based in Ebbw Vale, is a great example. This innovative business spotted a gap in the market for biodegradable paper straws and has now won a contract with McDonald’s. It has gone out and sourced machinery in China, to enable it to fulfil the contract, and hopes McDonald’s will be just one of many big names on its customer roster.
At the present time, there are 20 employees in Transcend’s workforce, but it anticipates employing ten times as many by 2019, with many more machine purchases in its business plan.
These predictions may not be pie in the sky. Those coming up with solutions that will eradicate single-use plastic should have a golden opportunity to succeed. 2017’s most-watched TV programme has encouraged environmental campaigns such as The Last Straw, Straw Wars, Straws Suck and No Straws Please – some indication of the mood of the nation on this issue.
However, start-ups like Transcend, which believe they will expand swiftly, need to build their business on the basis of comprehensive commercial insurance and watertight health and safety procedures. Rapid growth has impacts on working environments which are continually evolving, making it essential to have risk assessments and method statements that are living documents. Frequent reviews and updates are required, to ensure the business continues to comply with health and safety law.
Managing risk during periods of growth is not easy, which is why many fast-growing businesses need the ongoing assistance of an experienced health and safety consultant and insurance broker. Serious issues can lead to directors and officers of businesses being sued, so having Directors & Officers insurance in place is a wise move.
This type of cover offers protection when legal actions are brought for breaches in health and safety, because of negligence that can result in a prosecution for corporate manslaughter and for a variety of other issues. For instance, it can help defend or settle claims arising from breach of trust or duty, pollution, negligence, defamation, the operation or administration of a pension or employee benefit scheme and wrongful trading under section 214 of the Insolvency Act (1986).
Whether operating in the plastics sector or not, if you are a start-up director you should address your risks from day one. From there, you can seek help with managing risk challenges, as the business takes off. If you are ready to put this plan of action in place, please contact us on 02920 822600.