HSL store

HSL announces Venessa Hodgson as MD Designate; achieves carbon neutral certification

Yorkshire based furniture manufacturer and retailer, HSL, has announced that its CEO, Guy Critchlow, has now left the business for pastures new. Since joining the business in 2016, Guy has worked tirelessly to lead the board and the whole HSL family as a unified and dynamic team, and his unwavering leadership during the covid pandemic in particular was invaluable.

Guy’s commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint can be evidenced across the organisation. Developments during his tenure have earned HSL record levels of sales, industry leading ratings on Trustpilot, and numerous awards including the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

In addition, Guy’s passion for the environment drove HSL’s journey to Carbon Neutral certification, the first crucial step in their ambition to achieve Net Zero, making a pledge to decrease the business’s impact on the environment by reducing its carbon footprint and becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2025. Before exiting the business, it was announced that HSL successfully reached this milestone three years ahead of target, something that he is “immensely proud of.”

In late January, HSL appointed Venessa Hodgson as Managing Director Designate. The board is delighted to announce this promotion, and is extremely proud to recognise Venessa as the first female head of the business.

Venessa joined the HSL family back in July 2014 and has been an instrumental part of the business’s development to date in her previous role as Marketing and People Director.  During that time, she has expertly led the modernising of the HSL brand to reflect its unique offering to customers. Venessa has also always championed the wellbeing of HSL colleagues and remains absolutely committed to delivering an exceptional workplace experience with opportunities for all.

William and Debra Burrows, Owners of HSL, commented: “The business is forever grateful for Guy’s outstanding contribution, and we wish him well in his future ventures. But as this era with Guy comes to an end, we are really excited to see Venessa undertake her new position, driving the business forward as the first female at the head of the business.”

HSL has also announced that it has achieved carbon neutral certification from the Carbon Trust – a milestone achievement. The Carbon Trust is a global climate consultancy driven by the mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. They partner with businesses, governments, and financial institutions to drive positive climate action, from strategic planning and target setting to activation and communication. 

In 2019, HSL made a pledge to decrease its impact on the environment by reducing its carbon footprint and become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025, proving its ongoing passion and commitment to change.

The 55 year-old family-run business is delighted to share that they’ve successfully reached this huge milestone three years ahead of target, with the support of the Carbon Trust. The process involved measuring their carbon footprint, developing a carbon reduction plan and investing in carbon offsets. Since setting out on its mission to become carbon neutral, HSL has implemented a wide range of initiatives across its business, including replacing lighting across all its showrooms with LED alternatives by the end of 2023 and recruiting an Environment and Sustainability Manager to lead the delivery & execution of ‘Mission Zero’ – the retailer’s environmental strategy.

Additionally, HSL has purchased new company cars to replace legacy vehicles with either fully electric or plug-in hybrid alternatives, which will ensure that all company cars will be a minimum of plug-in hybrid or, wherever possible, fully electric by the end of 2023.

Reflecting on its furniture and manufacturing process, HSL also continues conversations with third party partners to increase the proportion of renewable materials within the retailer’s furniture ranges. Since achieving carbon neutral certification, HSL has set out several additional measures that have been or will be implemented in 2023 and beyond, including packaging reuse in its logistics operations.

To compliment the brand’s carbon neutral achievement, HSL has also won the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Sustainability Partner Award. The award recognises the exceptional contribution and support that a company, or organisation has made to help the British Heart Foundation raise valuable funds alongside achieving sustainability goals. Since 2015, HSL has helped to divert 7,620 items of furniture from landfill and into BHF stores.

Lydia Burrows, Environment and Sustainability Manager at HSL, commented: “I’m hugely proud of our efforts so far, and I hope that our achievements will encourage and motivate companies big and small to take action. There is still work to be done but we’re certainly moving in the right direction.”

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