We recognise that the nature of many of our products makes it even more important that we leverage our innovation to create sustainable collections to promote to our customers and beyond.

As the world develops, populations are consuming more, which becomes an issue when a large proportion of goods are not only single-use but also not recycled. This leads to more waste going to landfill, contributing to global warming and contamination of our oceans.

Design Group are committed to promote positive change; to use sustainable sources, to design sustainable ranges and reduce the use of single-use plastics across both our products and their packaging.


Raw Materials

The integrity of our product starts with responsible sourcing from both an environmental context as well as a social one. As a business where paper is one of our largest raw materials, we are committed to ensuring that only sustainable sources of paper are used in the near future, to go beyond compliance and certify high standards of forest management. Further to this, our values extend to the fair working conditions and human rights at all stages in our supply chain.


Raw Material Key Performance Indicators:

• % of our suppliers that have completed our Sustainability Supplier Survey

• Fair working conditions and supplier conduct

Maintain strong relationships

We maintain strong relationships with our suppliers by having robust policies and procedures in place that ensure we are legally and ethically compliant throughout the supply chain.

Regular communication

We regularly communicate all relevant policies and procedures to suppliers.

Independent auditing

Our supplier management includes an independent auditing programme which reflects the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

Wood and Paper Purchasing Policy and Due Diligence

We have implemented a Wood and Paper Purchasing Policy and Due Diligence system in line with the UK Timber Regulations and the European Timber Regulations. Click here to download our Timber Sourcing Statement.

Legal and Certified

We ensure all products are legally sourced and wherever possible, certified or recycled material is purchased.

Supplier management

We have developed a supplier management system for our buying and technical departments, extending the due diligence system to grade our suppliers based on capability and compliance. This includes a robust on-boarding process for any new potential suppliers.

Sustainability Supplier Survey

We have launched a Sustainability Supplier Survey that provides us with full visibility of their current environmental standards and targets, to ensure accountability throughout the supply chain.

Sustainability in paper-based industries

DGUK is passionate about paper. We are also passionate about sustainability.

The Paper Industry is subject to numerous misconceptions about the environmental impact of paper use. The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), who are the leading trade association representing the UK’s paper-based industries, provide a wealth of information on their website to promote a positive image for paper and its core value as a uniquely renewable and recyclable resource. Check out their ‘Myths and Facts’ booklet that aims to dispel the myths surrounding paper by providing a factual and balanced view of the UK Paper Industry and highlights why paper is the sustainable, renewable choice.

Paper Myths and Facts

Sustainability throughout our supply chain

Our raw materials approach encompasses the whole supply chain. Understanding that sustainability is a priority to our suppliers and that they monitor their own sustainability status and goals, ensures that accountability is running right through our supply chain.

As our main paper supplier, UPM, is an excellent example of a key partner taking this approach. Check out their website section – ‘Approach and Performance’ that shares their actions in the different steps of the value chain and dives deeper into their sustainability agenda.

UPM Approach and Performance


We are championing the reduction in unsustainable packaging to reduce the waste and pollution that our business is responsible for.


Packaging Key Performance Indicators:

• % of our packaging that is fully recyclable

• % of our packaging that is made from recycled material

• % of plastic free packaging

Packaging Materials Policy

We have created a Packaging Materials Policy based on a Red, Amber, Green system to guide our designers on sustainable options, supported by reference to the Waste Hierarchy.

Keeping the environment in mind

We design all of our products with the environment in mind, minimising all ‘red’ materials from our product and packaging.

Further reduce

We are committed to further reduce the amount of packaging used, to increase the recyclability of it and to increase the amount of recycled material in it.

Communication and transparency

Communication and transparency of the sustainability and recyclability of products is becoming increasingly important to our customers. We are striving to increase the simplicity and clarity of this message further by referencing on the front of product packaging, in addition to the ‘On-Pack Recycling Label’ (OPRL) symbols on the back of packaging. We believe that education is paramount in our endeavours to promote environmentally friendly products and habits.

UK Plastics Pact

We are Associate Members of the UK Plastics Pact that commits us to delivering their targets by 2025. We believe that to drive positive change to the impact on our planet, we need to work alongside other key stakeholders, including a number of our customers, on consistent goals.



We are actively researching and designing ways to reduce the single-use plastic content of our products to reduce the waste and pollution that our business is responsible for. We aim to leverage our design and innovation skills to continue to develop new, sustainable ideas and product collections.


Product Key Performance Indicators:

• Fair working conditions and supplier conduct

• Number of SKUs of sustainable products sold

• Recycled paper content in products

• Elimination of single-use plastics

Minimising ‘red’ materials

We design all of our products with the environment in mind, minimising all ‘red’ materials from our product.

Reduce our carbon footprint

We re-shore products manufactured in the Far East to the UK where appropriate, to reduce our carbon footprint and to support local employment.

Removed single use plastics

We have removed single use plastic from our products e.g. cracker content.

Removed glitter

We have removed the use of glitter from our own brand ranges.

The Woodland Trust Partnership

We work in partnership with The Woodland Trust to work towards offsetting our carbon footprint from all domestic sea freight and all our Eco Nature branded products. Find out more in Planet.


Eco Nature

We have developed sustainable greetings & stationery collections which use 100% recycled paper amongst other environmentally friendly raw materials and only have recyclable packaging. By promoting these collections, we are encouraging a circular economy which reduces waste and the impacts of production, consumption and disposal on the environment.

Check out our ECO Nature range here

Sustainability Case Studies

Case Study: Reducing Single Use Plastics

We are actively removing single use plastic from our packaging to create more sustainable Celebrations, Gifting, Stationery, and Creative Play categories.

Lucy Regan, Supply Chain Controller and Sustainability Ambassador at DGUK, shares the journey taken by the teams across the UK offices.

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Case Study: Eco Nature Collection

We have leveraged our design and innovation skills to develop new, sustainable product ranges that are created with the environment in mind.

Emily Thomas-Hey, Manufacturing & Operations Director and Sustainability Ambassador at DGUK, introduces the new ECO Nature Collection.

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Case Study: Building a Sustainable Culture

We strive to create a working environment where our employees feel supported and valued, with their achievements recognised and rewarded.

Melanie Jenkins, HR Director and Sustainability Ambassador at DGUK, shares our vision for our talented and dedicated teams.

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