A Green Apple Gold Award for Ethical Design through Sustainable Consumption.
If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed that we recently won a Green Apple gold award for Environmental Best Practice 2018. We shared the news across our social channels, but we haven’t explained why we won.
The Green Apple Awards is an annual campaign, organised by the Green Organisation – an independent, non-political, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.
On the 12th of November, we were invited to attend the houses of parliament to receive our award. At that stage, we knew that we had won but we didn’t know whether we were going to collect a bronze, silver, or gold award. Bringing home the highest level of recognition for our investment and commitment to being an ethical agency was a boost to our team.
We were nominated for the award with a project that we’re deeply passionate about, entitled Ethical Design through Sustainable Consumption.
At Studio Republic, we pride ourselves as an ethical creative agency. We deliver innovative solutions to charities, not-for-profit organisations, and like-minded business. Our long-term goal is to underpin our ethical intentions with a sustainable business practice that supports both people and planet.
As an agency, we use a renewable energy provider, a family run hosting facility with carbon-neutral UK based data centres, rechargeable batteries, and FSC certified stock for our in-house printing. In addition, we recycle ink cartridges and office waste.
For us, one of the biggest triumphs to date has been cementing ourselves as leaders in the digital industry and moving towards the goal of being in a position to offer sustainability consultancy during 2019.
Committing to being more environmentally sustainable in the workplace has inevitably led to personal developments. These developments have included team members aiming to reduce reliance on single-use plastics, some transferring to fully renewable domestic energy suppliers, and others taking used tea bags, coffee grounds for home composting to further personal measures.
Why and What?
Last year, Studio Republic celebrated its 14th birthday by committing to becoming an ethical agency. Part of our rebranding process has meant that we’ve made conscious purchasing decisions resulting in the minimisation of our single-use plastic waste, a reduction to zero in chemical cleaning products. It is crucial that we walk the walk and not just talk the talk in order to demonstrate that relatively small steps can have a huge positive environmental impact.
We’ve addressed the following areas:
- We’ve measured our direct carbon footprint and offset it. We hope to see a reduction in our footprint for 2019.
- We have achieved accreditation as carbon neutral.
- We’ve always bought fair trade coffee and tea. More recently we switched coffee to a fairtrade product sold by a social enterprise whose profits are supporting a charity. This has the dual benefit of supporting sustainable farming and supporting seafarers working in the shipping industry that is responsible for bringing 90% of the UK’s consumer goods.
- Our milk supplier, who had been delivering in recyclable bottles with non-recyclable caps, offered reusable glass bottles as an option so we’ve transitioned to those.
- We’ve replaced dish and hand soap, along with our surface cleaner, to plant-based, cruelty-free products reduce our chemical ecological impact. The products we’re using are packaged in recycled, refillable containers which we will refill as opposed to replacing.
- As our cleaning cloths and scouring sponges reached the end of their lives, we sourced recycled alternatives to the single-use predecessors.
- An alternative to recycled paper loo roll, we’re using bamboo which is packaged in recyclable materials.
We’ve taken all workable measures to eliminate single-use plastics from our purchasing. Through the switches we’ve made, we have prevented an estimated:
- 12 hands wash bottles and pumps
- 12 single-use washing up sponges
- 312 plastic milk bottle caps from landfill which would have taken 500 years to degrade.
100 coffee filters and grounds and an estimated 3000 tea bags will be composted each year from our studio.
The sustainability benefits to the environment were planned and intended. The personal, individual benefits to the team have been greater than anticipated and the united sense of positivity about the impact we can have more widely as we support clients to undertake similar changes is encouraging.
Ethical design through sustainable consumption is one project on our journey to providing an environmentally sustainable platform from which to advise and guide the clients we’re working with. Our aim as a business is to become carbon positive and to support clients on their own environmental journeys.
As we move forward in our business growth plans, we are looking forward to offering sustainability and ethical consultancy support to the businesses, non-profit organisations, and charities we are working with. We are developing our consultancy services so that we can help businesses understand their own vision for sustainability, and to become changemakers in the ways that best suit their vision and their people.
Taking time to write this post has forced us to reflect on our achievements since we were nominated for the Green Apple Award. In 11 months we’ve been on a journey that has had its ups and downs. There have been times where we’ve omitted to take home the compost, and times when we’ve bought hand soap as we’ve not timed the refilling right. We’re not perfect, but we don’t beat ourselves up for those times where we fall short. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back on the wagon.
If you’d like to know more about starting your own sustainability journey, drop us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.