What's your sustainability story?
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Change by Degrees and Dublin City Mum think sustainability really matters. I invited Change by Degrees to write a feature at Dublin City Mum on sustainability and give us their top ten tips on how to get started. We put our heads together and decided to approach businesses doing their best to build sustainability into their DNA. Here are their stories. We hope they inspire you.
What lies at the heart of sustainable business?
Doing business in Ireland today is tricky. Doing sustainable business might seem even harder still. Where to start? How to change? What will it cost me? are just some of the questions you ask when discussing how to build sustainability into your DNA. We talked to twelve company owners determined to do just that: some at the beginning of their journey and some deeply rooted in sustainable operations. All have one thing in common – they firmly believe they are doing the right thing, and the rewards are felt emotionally and financially.
What does doing the right thing look like?
Tight margins and large overheads heavily influence decision-making processes and businesses can feel ill equipped to introduce new operating systems and sustainability policies. However, sustainable business can involve everything from managing your waste correctly, paying your staff fairly or giving back to the community you operate in (and beyond). It could be about producing products that have multiple life cycles, reducing your operating costs without compromising your quality to buying from suppliers who source their raw materials fairly.
Some businesses do this instinctively, and tell no one about it. But this story has impact and really matters to customers. Equally, employees perform better, are more creative and have increased loyalty when they feel the boss is ‘doing the right thing’.
You don’t need formal qualifications or expertise in sustainability to work it into your systems and how you do business. Ian Kelly and Anne Marie Green of DUC (a social enterprise that manufactures a selection of products to help lift children out of poverty) used their desire to do something ‘the best’ way possible, as a starting point. Hazel Kelly and Davy Schmeits from Lille Barn (an online store for sustainable, ethically made children’s wear) says ‘We learned a lot by simply being parents! And research helps a gut feeling into a rationale’.
At The Happy Pear they constantly try to make small changes to be kinder to the environment, moving one degree at a time, closer to sustainability.