06 Apr Can Your Business Be Ethical and Sustainable?
How easy is it to be ethical and sustainable in business?
Definition of Ethical: business ethics are the standards for morally right and wrong conduct
Definition of Sustainable: doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community or society as a whole
Most of us have a strong moral compass when it comes to ethical and sustainable but sometimes that can be lost in the organisation we work for. Even if you are a small cog in a large organisation or the owner of your own business it has never been more vital to operate in an ethical and sustainable manner. On the day of writing this,
- we are ‘living with Covid’ in the UK whilst many parts of the world are still ravaged or in a lockdown situation
- the world looks on in horror as Russia invades Ukraine, and commits inhuman atrocities
- fuel prices are at the highest in history
- wheat, sunflower oil, gas and oil are predicted to be in short supply
- businesses are pressured by rises in minimum wage and 1.25% in National Insurance contributions
- we can no longer rely on cheap Asian imports
- it is difficult to import and export to Europe because of poorly negotiated Brexit deals
All of these things add pressure to business decisions be they financial, supply chain issues, or market penetration.
But all this costs money, doesn’t it?
There is a cost to everything in business, and some decisions are more ‘expensive’ than others. When we decided that we would only use supply chains that were certified to operate ethically and sustainably, we decided to swallow the 5% extra these products cost us. But in fact, we have found the decision paid us back as many of our customers appreciated our culture and were keen to improve their own credentials.
How to be sure you are using your business ethically?
Some companies are more transparent than others about their ethical and sustainable policies. If you have regular suppliers, it is easier to have that conversation with them than, say, with a supplier like Amazon. Look out for endorsing organisations such as WRAP if you are purchasing workwear clothing. WRAP ensures that the factories we purchase from, whether they are in Nicaragua, Haiti or Pakistan, have been certified to be operating in a safe, responsible and ethical way. WRAP operate a social compliance programme through visits and training to enable textile production to promote lawful, ethical and humane manufacturing throughout the supply chain. Only by purchasing through WRAP compliant factories can we stamp out the misery of labour exploitation in those areas of the world whose chief employment is in the textile industry.
At Griffin Designs, we print and manufacture most of our products in-house, and we welcome customers to share a cuppa with our happy team and see the process.
But what about sustainability?
What happens when you work with a raw material that is perceived as an environmental baddy? Read about the sustainability of vinyl here. We re-use all our own suppliers’ packaging when dispatching to our customers. Most of our offcuts go to charities or smaller businesses.
Clothing wise, many of the products we offer are sustainable. The Anthem hoodies we made for Sizu Minds are partly made from recycled polyester and are the softest, nicest hoodies we have ever worn. This lovely technical t-shirt is made from nine 550ml bottles so is a totally sustainable product. It is made in a WRAP endorsed factory in Bangladesh, where all the staff are paid the local minimum wage and are treated with respect. Makes that t-shirt extra lovely, doesn’t it? And at just £14.50 per single unit, including branding, your business can wear Ethical and Sustainable with pride.