Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023

52 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23145 Ethical Children’s Clothes Manufacturer of the Year 2023 (East Midlands): Harrison Palmer As a family business established in the 1940s as Stevex Productions Ltd, located in the famous Nottingham Lace Market, manufacturing ladies and children’s underwear, nightwear, and babywear supplying the UK wholesale market, Global Solutions for Clothing is now in its third generation of the family. By the 1980s, the UK retail market was changing rapidly from the small independent retailer to the larger multiple retailers and supermarkets. In order to meet these new customer requirements, additional production to the 120+ UK machinists was sourced in North Africa and Eastern Europe and the business moved to larger Nottingham premises on George Street, becoming George Street Clothing Ltd in the 1990s. It then began specialising in childrenswear and licensed dressup for well-known retailers including Next, John Lewis, and Disney. The new millennium saw customer demand for change from manufacturers to designers and importers and another move to out of town warehousing facilities whilst still retaining a small UK production line. Design development and garment technology was retained in the UK whilst sourcing bulk fabric, trim and production was moved to China and Sri Lanka. Now having a reliable global supply chain, GSC is not only renowned for producing high quality clothing and establishing itself as an authority on educational play, it is also praised for its socially and ethically funded operations. “Of course, dress-up role play costumes, whilst being classified as a toy, are not in the traditional sense of the word,” explains Managing Director, Harrison Palmer who took over leadership of the company in 2018. “In fact, 99% of our products are made from textile products, which are widely recyclable and we have two products which are specifically made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester fibres.” GSC’s environmental policy extends much further than simply its clothing, however. The firm’s primary focus has been on packaging, with its sewing (care labels) and logo labels being made from recycled fibres and certified to OEKO-TEX standard, and the swing tags being made from recycled paper to FSC standard, the same with the outer carton. The attachment from swing tag to costume is made from textile material (ribbon) not plastic, and all outer packaging is made from recycled plastic LDPE and is in itself recyclable again, this is GRS 4.0 standard. The factories based in China and Sri Lanka are currently going through Higg FEM (Facility Environmental Module) assessments with the target to be compliant by the end of 2023, whilst the company’s head office in the UK uses a biomas heating system powered by sustainable sources of woodchip, and electricity is self-generated through a solar system that is integrated to the warehouse roofing. GSC also uses electric vehicles in its fleet and it actively uses sustainable suppliers for consumables in the areas of stationery and cleaning within its supply chain. This is pretty impressive stuff and is certainly starting to hit the targets outlined in its strict environmental policy which aims for GSC to lead the industry in minimising the impact of its activities on the environment by: minimising waste; minimising toxic emissions; actively promoting recycling; sourcing and promoting a product range to minimise the environmental impact; meeting or exceeding all the environmental legislation; and using an internal programme to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its activities. “As a children’s brand we have a duty to be responsible to them and their futures in the context of our environmental policies and sustainability,” elaborates Harrison. “Whilst we already have a solid foundation for impact at our HQ, we want to go much, much further.” The firm also believes in giving back and has engaged with the children’s charity Barnardo’s to partner with them on such outreach schemes as Barnardo’s Big Toddle where children get dressed up for charity. Overall, through its business values, GSC intends to push hard in these extra-curricular areas to increase its impact in the wider community. It will come as no surprise then that the company, and specifically Harrison himself, were recently recognised in the Managing Director of the Year Awards with him being named Ethical Children’s Clothes Manufacturer of the Year 2023 (East Midlands). Now, looking towards the future, Harrison has further plans to increase the brand’s sustainability, ethical awareness, and meet its environmental objectives by rolling out a range of clothing made from 100% recycled materials across at least 25% of its range in the coming year. Company: Global Solutions for Clothing Contact: Harrison Palmer Web Address: Crafting children’s clothing and products which fire the imagination and encourage them to learn through play, Global Solutions for Clothing (GSC) is leading in more than just its product range – it is also streets ahead when it comes to sustainability. We find out more about the firm’s environmental commitments from Harrison Palmer as he is recognised in the Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023.