We aren't perfect but we're trying...
Our plan in becoming more aware of our environmental impact as a business.
It's in our faces everyday, we cant escape it. Unless of course you've been living under a rock or you're a crazy conspiracy theorist, who, like Elvis not being dead, you also believe that Climate Change is a con. And if you're one of them - GET OFF MY BLOG you Flat Earther! Elvis is alive? How epic would that be? 9/11? Vaccines? Illuminate? ANYWAY - before I polarise opinion and alienate you all - let's get back on topic. Climate Change. It's a thing.
When Harry and Meghan were criticised for their private jet use over the summer - Sir Elton John quickly piped up and said he'd contributed £127 or whatever it was, to offset the carbon cost of their flight. There are companies out there which, if you're feeling the guilt and want to do something, you can pay and they'll distribute the cash to various charities or plant a tree for you. Have a google. However, isn't that a bit easy? Just throwing money at the problem? The wealthy can just pay and offset but what about us minions? And does it really offset anything in the long term? I did a carbon calculator on one of these websites to get an estimated quote on what it would cost me. Approx. £400. I could quite easily sit back and think to myself - we'll I've paid, I'm guilt free - I'm officially carbon neutral - planet saved! But no - that doesn't sit right with me. So it left me thinking, what tangible things can I do as a business? I feel I have to actively make small changes. Check out @bigpicturecollective for her insights into making little lifestyle tweaks that make a difference.
I've really had to think about what the hell I'm doing because my eyes have been opened. You may know that I've been part of a small team based in Leamington Spa organising ECO markets and once you get talking to these ECO-heads, that's it. Once you know - YOU KNOW. I couldn't even contemplate flying private jet now (ha! As if I contemplate private jets!).
SO, what are we doing to try to reduce our impact on the environment? I do think it's important that even as a small business we have a plan. We al should be conscious of the impact we have on our little planet.
1, SWITCH. I have switched to an energy provider who secures their power from 100% renewable and sustainable sources. This is an easy one that many of us, when it's time to switch, can think about doing. It doesn't even cost more. In fact as a business, we are with Opus Energy now and it was actually the cheapest.
2. LIGHTS OFF. We don't keep any lights or power sources on at night., except of course the alarm. Not even window display lights are left on. I could be better at taking plugs off standby. My mum always says "it still uses electricity even if it's switched off!" Alright mum!!! It's about 3p. But she's right - it adds up. Switching off your plugs when an item isn't in use could save an average household about £18 a year in energy costs.
3. TRAVEL. Getting to and from work. I'm bad - I do have a diesel. My lease runs out in 18months and I will consider getting some kind of hybrid. I could also ask Simon from Reload Galley across the road if he fancies car pooling once a week as we live fairly close to each other. Or we could be bus wankers together? No. You've got to be reasonable here. Car pooling is a great idea. Even if it's only once a week. His car obviously. He'd never get in mine because it's literally the Bog of Eternal Stench. (you don't know how happy it makes me that I got a Labyrinth and an Inbetweeners reference in my blog.)
4. SUPPLIERS. I want to say that all of my suppliers are green eco-warriors (Why? Why did I just get a vision of one of my account managers looking like a green Smurf type Oompa Lumpa) who are fully carbon neutral and wizards at importing with no environmental cost. But this for the time being is pretty impossible and unless I want to completely change the kind of products I sell then unfortunately I'm a bit stuck.
5. PACKAGING. This is a biggie for me and something that I can make a tangible difference in. I'm fully aware that it makes customers feel special and important and loved when they receive a package that is full of pretty paper and cards, But really??? Is it necessary. Doesn't all that end up in the bin? If you've bought from me you know I don't buy into that. Once that vase is on your shelf or rug on you floor or whatever it is - are you really thinking about the amazing box it arrived in? Sometimes you'll receive a new cardboard box from me, sometimes it will be a re-used one. If you receive a used one - think yourself special - I've just helped you minimise your own carbon footprint. You've received a box that didn't go straight to recycling, it got one more use out of it and maybe you'll find another use for it. I aim as much as possible to use lots of recycled brown paper instead of bubble wrap - this isn't always possible, but as much as I can I do. What I should do come to think about it, is get a shredder, shred waste paper from the shop and send you that. Too far?! (Oh god! But then there's the energy cost of the shredder and will it come from a sustainable source in let's be honest CHINA!?) I want you to love your purchases as much as I love them when I buy them - that's how I operate, if I don't love it, I won't buy it and you'll never see it. Whether I wrap it up in a pink bow with glitter, unicorns, petals from a meadow and few curls from the head of a baby's first haircut DOESN'T really matter. You know me and you know I bought that product with absolute love and that I'm sending it to you with absolute LOVE. FEEL THE LOVE god damn it!
6. RECYCLE. We do recycle everything we can. I hate the fact that some of our products come with a box full of polystyrene but at the moment, suppliers don't have an alternative. I hope they're working on it.
7. COFFEE. My daily coffee - yep what a nob. I have a kettle in the kitchen, but the kitchen isn't functioning as a kitchen, it's become a store cupboard and currently houses 3 massive wooden (fair-trade - YESSS) Christmas trees and a load of shelving that I dismantled about 4 years ago. So everyday I go and get my morning coffee. I bought a bamboo coffee cup from @bigpicturecollective a while back and I was being really good but I accidentally took it home and I've forgotten to bring it back in. So slap me on the wrist, I've been getting paper cups with plastic lids lately and it's annoying me everyday. Although I have noticed that the lids are decompostable - so well done @mashedswede my local café.
I'm sure there are a hundred more things I could do to make my business more eco-friendly. But for now - small steps. I think that being aware of our contribution is the first step and we will continue to build on that where we can. If you got this far, well done and thanks so much for reading.