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- Silicone. An Eco-friendly alternative?
With the ever-increasing awareness of the issues of plastic pollution, an array of alternatives are springing up, all claiming to be the ideal solution. There has been a huge increase in the number of silicone products hitting the supermarket shelves. So......how eco-friendly is silicone? Let us shed some light on the subject. What is silicone & how is it made? Time for a science lesson! It’s probably helpful at this point to clarify that we are talking about SILICONE and not SILICON here. SILICON is the 14th element of the periodic table and is a component of silica, one of the most prevalent substances on earth. SILICON in its elemental form is found in bricks, glass, and concrete as silica. In enamels, pottery and ceramics it is found as silicate. SILICONES are synthetic polymers made of silicon, oxygen, and other elements - most commonly carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is manufactured using petroleum and natural gas. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining these hydrocarbons can have an environmental impact. To counterbalance this, however, silicone is extremely durable and long-lasting, and if you look after silicone products well, they should last a lot longer than plastic alternatives. Evidently, if you choose a product with a longer life, the environmental impact will be less. There’s no doubt that using products with a longer lifespan is much better for the environment in the long term. How durable is silicone? One of the key benefits of silicone is its durability. As an example, when used in bakeware, it can be heated to (-55 to 300 degrees Celsius). Provided you’ve chosen good quality silicone, it will be: Boilable Freezable Microwaveable Unbreakable Dishwasher safe Sterilizable Given the above attributes, silicone is becoming commonly seen amongst kitchen and cookware offerings. Cake molds, mixing spoons, and now silicone straws are all amongst items you could consider as a plastic alternative. We compared alternatives to plastic straws, including silicone straws here. Is it recyclable? The short answer is yes. But kerbside recycling rarely accepts post-consumer silicone. Terracycle schemes are usually the most easily accessible, although you may need to club together as a group to make this a cost-effective option. Does silicone break down in landfill? Unlike plastic, silicone does not break down into small pieces, so does not produce the microplastic phenomenon that is so harmful to wildlife. One of the reasons why silicone is considered to be a good alternative to plastic is because it doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals we’ve become aware of that linger in plastic items, such as phthalates and BPA. Overall, in comparison with plastic, silicone offers a longer-lasting, more durable, and certainly more sustainable option. Photo by hue12 photography on Unsplash
- What you should know about B Corps
If you’re operating in the green or sustainable business sector, you’ve most likely come across the term ‘Certified B Corporations.’ So; what are they? How do you become a Certified B Corporation? What’s the benefit to your company? Read on and we’ll shed some light on the subject... What is B Certification? Certified B Corps are a new kind of business that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This community is driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good. Profits from B Corps are used in a number of non-traditional ways; positively impacting employees of that organisation, their local communities and the environment. Why become B certified? If your company becomes B-Certified, you have shown that it is meeting the highest possible standards of performance across the whole environmental and social spectrum. B Certification addresses a company’s entire supply chain, looking into sustainability and raw materials, and will drill down into your company’s employee benefits and charitable givings. It may seem daunting for a small startup to achieve B Certification when the process appears so involved. By setting your sights on this goal from the outset, and by being involved in the requirements, you will be able to make sure your company grows with this endpoint in mind. Small changes early on in your company’s growth will make a big difference further down the line and will be worth the investment. What do I need to do? To become B Certified, you undertake an online impact assessment on behalf of your organisation. For the short assessment/’quick snapshot’ report, this can be carried out in 30 minutes or so, with the full impact report taking 2-3 hours to complete. Get started here. The resulting assessment report will show you where your company is already excelling, and which areas require additional focus. You are then able to use the resources and best practice guides provided to create customised improvement plans for your organisation. How much does it cost? Providing your company meets the necessary requirements, and therefore meets B Certification standards, there is an annual fee payable to the organisation. The amount is dependent upon revenue, but for companies with a turnover of <$150,000 is $1000 per year, and for those generating under $699,000 pa, your fees increase to $1,100. Is it worth it? This is a difficult question! With some of the big names now signing up to meet B Certification status, there’s definitely a trend towards sustainability. As a B-Certified company, it’s likely that potential consumers would see you as taking your sustainability efforts seriously. In terms of credibility and trust, or indeed competitive advantage, we see that can only be a good thing. You can find more advice for your green business here. For inspiration for your ethical business, visit the Spotlight or to brush up on or learn new business skills, browse our recommended Courses.
- Interview with The Scottish Bee Company Co-founder Suzie Millar.
Most of us will be well aware of the plight that is facing the UK's bee population, and the hugely important role that bees play in our ecosystem and food supply chain. We caught up with Suzie Millar, the Co-Founder of the Scottish Bee Company, who seek to put passion and purpose at the forefront in their mission to increase the Scottish Bee population by 20% in the next 3 years. Which came first for you - passion for business or passion for the environment? The environment but, as we were looking into things we could do to help, having a business that could do things for the environment made us passionate about ‘profits with purpose’ businesses. What was the key motivating factor at the time you started your business? To increase pollination across the country How did you finance your business? Family and friends invested with us in the business and also we had a couple of grants from the Scottish Government. Did you have any initial challenges and how did you overcome them? Figuring out how to actually sell honey! We had no idea where to start, our initial ideas of building an ecommerce honey site and have it take off immediately were naïve so we quickly realised we needed to build relationships with retailers to create a better brand awareness. What are your main revenue streams? Ecommerce, retail and export. If you were to start from scratch, are there any changes you would make? We wouldn’t have wasted time trying to see if the ecommerce would get going quickly and would have worked harder to get into retail outlets. Is it difficult to make a green business profitable? No, having a ‘green’ business is a huge marketing tool, people are willing to spend a bit more on a product that is helping the environment. Do you have any top tips for those launching a green business? Keep your vision strong, remember why you are doing it, always focus on that because it's super hard and emotionally challenging setting up a business but if you have a strong belief that you can make a difference, then so will others. What gives you the most hope for the environment? The fact that people are now recognising that it’s something we need to take care of. I think over the past 2 years there has been a significant shift in peoples' and governments' attitudes so there is hope....I hope!
- Support for sustainable businesses and information for concious consumers
- EVENTS | Green Springboard
Free webinars for sustainable businesses Are you running an eco-friendly business? Want to know more about trends in sustainability, how to use your environmental credentials to gain new customers, increase sales and recruit staff? Keen to learn how to secure funding for your sustainable business? Our webinars are led by industry experts and are designed to give you a competitive edge. to be the first to hear about upcoming webinars, and catch up on previous webinars below. Join us Telling your Sustainability Story: Guest speaker Caroline Aistrop, Green Spark Marketing A perfect introduction to the importance of PR for eco-friendly businesses, this webinar is designed for those already running their own business who want to gain new customers, increase sales, recruit or retain staff. In this inspiring talk, Caroline talks us through the importance of compelling communication to your sustainable business. Whatever your company is doing to care for the planet, you need to be telling your customers about this. Learn about the key principles behind creating compelling communications which grab the hearts and minds of all those you want to reach and takes them with you on the sustainability journey. Discover how to compose and organise your story and the importance of wearing other people’s shoes. Caroline has over 30 years experience of running national awareness-raising campaigns, handling PR and press relations at local, regional and national levels. What's next in sustainability: Guest speaker Abigail Herron Green Springboard invites guest speaker Abigail Herron of Aviva Investors to bring us up to speed on 2020 sustainability trends, essential to help green and sustainable start-up businesses stay ahead of the curve. With only 10 years remaining to achieve the there's increased importance and opportunity for business owners to embrace them, whilst building a profitable yet purposeful business. 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals This webinar is designed for those already running their own business who want a sense of which sustainability trends are gathering momentum. As we have seen with the Blue Planet 2 effect on the issue of plastics, sustainability issues are catapulted into the spotlight for many reasons. This short webinar offers insight from a long time sustainability practitioner about what the hot topics are, within companies, investors and the media as well as where the money is flowing to. What investors look for in a Green Business: Guest speaker Abigail Herron Green Springboard invites guest speaker Abigail Herron of Aviva Investors to share insights around how green and sustainable businesses can best position themselves to gain interest from conscious investors. This webinar is designed for those at an early stage of their green or sustainable business concept as well as those who are ready to scale up their business model and seek additional capital. Hear about what impresses large investors from a sustainability and governance perspective, what questions you may be asked in order to demonstrate your credentials and what keeps investors awake at night. The perspective given is from a large scale investor but many of the principles are applicable if you’re seeking venture capital, crowd funding or angel investing inputs too.
- Conservation | Green Springboard
ECO CATEGORY: CONSERVATION ALL COMPANIES LOCATION LAUNCH STATUS ECO CATEGORY AEITHALIS LOCATION LAUNCHED PRE-LAUNCH ECO CATEGORIES UK The UK’s first Zero Waste extra virgin olive oil producer and wholesaler. Award winning, hand harvested extra virgin olive oil supplied through zero waste stores across the UK, on a refillable basis. Launched MORE INFO WEBSITE MUD N BLOOM LOCATION LAUNCHED PRE-LAUNCH ECO CATEGORIES UK Subscription boxes which inspire children to connect with nature. Perfect for 3-8 year olds. Launched MORE INFO WEBSITE THE SCOTTISH BEE COMPANY LOCATION LAUNCHED PRE-LAUNCH ECO CATEGORIES UK Uniquely flavorful heather and blossom honey. Working with local bee farmers to grow the bee farming industry in Scotland Launched MORE INFO WEBSITE LOAD MORE