Monthlies is a social enterprise with many aims and sometimes it’s difficult to communicate them all succinctly.
So to summarise the achievements of 2015, we’ve put together our first Impact Report in infographic form. It splits out our impact into environmental, social and engagement and also gives a view on our commercial side. It’s thanks to your support that we’ve achieved the impact we have, and it’s only with your support, that we’ll continue to deliver even more impact. Have a read below!
The aim is we can grow our impact every year and by setting these measures from the very beginning, we’ll hold ourselves accountable to these aims from the very start.
In addition to the infographic, the detail below explains how we’ve come to these figures.
The total CO2 saving of 48kg is calculated based on the sale of 2000 pads (in reality, we’ve sold slightly more than this). All of the pads we supply are made of plant starches, wood pulp and organic cotton, although they’re recognizable and just as effective as any major brand. They do have a carbon footprint but they do not contain any fossil-fuel based plastics.
Major brands of menstrual pads all contain plastic, whether it’s in the external packaging, the wrapping of each pad, the lining or the absorbent polymer contained within the pad. As these brands don’t announce what the content of their products is, we don’t know exactly how much plastic is in a normal pad. A figure which is often quoted is the equivalent of 4 shopping bags per pack (approximately 10 pads). An average shopping bag weighs about 10g therefore it’s 40g of plastic per pack or 4g per pad. Multiplied by the 2000 pads sold by Monthlies, this is 8kg of plastic.
In producing plastic, there is an average of 6kg of CO2 released per kg of plastic (source) therefore the CO2 from 8kg of plastic is 48kg.
A one way economy class flight from Manchester to Amsterdam releases 0.04 tonnes (40kg) of CO2 (source).
It’s fair to say that the carbon saving from pads alone is only one measure of our environmental impact and we’ve assumed the total saving without accounting for any impact from the pads we sell. This is a very fair point. The calculations are of course imperfect and narrow. However, when you look at the bigger picture, at the tampons and liners we’ve sold as well as the pads, and at the impact once wasted (they’re all biodegradable so won’t be polluting our planet or leaching chemicals out for centuries to come) then the saving will stack up even further. Even more so when you consider that all of the packaging Monthlies use (from the tissue paper to boxes, to stickers and flyers) are made from over 70% recycled material and are fully biodegradable. Now to only account for the CO2 saving of the pads sold really does look like a conservative estimate of our environmental saving. Our aim in the future is to measure more of these variables and have better comparisons of the carbon impact of major brands to compare to.
An easier measure, we have donated 25 boxes of Ultra pads (each containing 12 pads) split between The Marylebone Project, a centre for homeless women in Marylebone, London and donations to Supporting Sisters who distribute collections across the UK to food banks and night shelters.
We also pledge to donate at least 20% of profits to causes supporting women and girls. Don’t worry, this is still firmly in our plans and once we’ve passed the 6 month mark (on the 1st Feb) we will be able to quantify how much our first donation is, as well as which cause it will go to
Our measure of 1600 people is made up of loads of events, social media and conversations at the pub. Some of the highlights this year include:
Hosting a Lunch and Learn session about Monthlies for Innocent Drinks, to around 150 colleagues.
Presenting a session on “How to start an ethical business” to over 50 delegates at the Feminism in London conference.
Meeting brilliant like minded start-up social entrepreneurs at the Social Venture Weekend by Social Incubator East.
Running the Lets Talk about Periods event with speakers Kiran Gandhi and Chella Quint.
All of the great engagement on social media when I apprehensively launched the pilot in May and then when Monthlies launched for real in August.
We’ve sent out 204 boxes (probably more by the time you’ve read this). If we assume a fairly average menstruator has 12 periods per year, thats 17 un-interrupted years of supply!
Finally, thank you. We couldn’t have got here without the support we’ve had or our wonderful customers who believe in what we’re doing as much as we do. And we’ll get to the places we’re going for exactly the same reason!