Last month, Made in Britain members were joined by other UK manufacturers at Made in Britain’s first public webinar. Guests joined to listen to an expert group of manufacturers, that specialise in Home and Living products. The panellists included the Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company, Caribbean Blinds, Dartington Crystal and Esse. Joining the panel, Rosie Paterson of Country Living Magazine moderated the discussion alongside Victoria Page, Green Growth Programme Manager at Made in Britain.
Opening the discussion, Rosie Paterson explored how the word sustainability means different things to different people, with young people having a strong affinity to the term, and actively seeking out brands that live sustainably.
The notion of items being designed for obsolescence also struck a chord with the panel, who felt passionately that every item should be built to last. Dartington’s Warren Gell commented that the business is seeing a shift in its typical consumer, as younger people buy into brands that last. Harry Thompson, Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company, added that younger people are more conscious of where their products originate from, how they are made and with what materials. They want to live sustainably, and that means spending their money responsibly, on items that one day, could become an heirloom, rather than end up in landfill.
Esse’s Mark Blewitt contributed that the materials used to make each oven are recycled, and intends for every oven to be used for as long as possible. Recently, an Esse stove which dated back to 1910 was carefully restored. The idea that items should stay in use for over a hundred years is fundamental to Esse’s approach to business. Complementing this, Stuart Dantzic of Caribbean Blinds is experimenting with different materials and how to position this with consumers. For many of Stuart’s consumers, the thought of buying recycled materials is a barrier to purchase. Caribbean Blinds has had to think creatively about how to use more sustainable materials, whilst pleasing the customer.
Caribbean Blinds also works hard to engage their staff in sustainable business, through regular meetings to take on board feedback and suggestions from across the business. Speaking to a cross section of employees is especially helpful to gain an insight into the inner workings of a business, as can sometimes be a bind spot for leaders who are often a few steps removed from the production line.
Lastly, the panel discussed Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company’s central pillar of sustainability journey - their commitment to carbon neutrality. In fact, they are the first UK iron bed manufacturer to become carbon neutral through purchasing 100% renewable energy and implementing an Environmental Management System and has a goal of net zero by 2030.
The Sustainability Matters Webinar Series is hosted by Made in Britain’s Green Growth Programme. Accessible via member’s profile pages, the Green Growth Assessment provides a self-checker to measure your business’ sustainability progress. It is the entry point to the Green Growth Programme, a portal full of practical advice and tools to help every manufacturer advance their progress on sustainability.
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