An easy and beneficial guide for businesses to make environmentally friendly choices for their brand.
As consumers we are all excited to purchase our products from brands which are environmentally friendly, in fact 88% of consumers want brands to help them make sustainable choices. By purchasing products from environmentally conscious brands, consumers are forcing businesses to rethink their environmental impact. Brands such as Starbucks and IKEA have announced efforts to become ‘climate positive’, kicking off a movement for brands to become more transparent in their carbon footprint and the methods they use to reduce and offset them.
What is a climate positive brand?
In short, it means reducing your environmental impact as much as you possibly can, and then removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than you emit. In other words, proactively having a positive impact on the planet, not just cancelling out your impact!
But how do you make your brand more sustainable?
We've noted down the benchmarks trace looks for in a climate positive brand so you can play copy cat.
Manufacture locally (if you can)
We know it is tough and not always possible to manufacture locally - in fact of all the clothing sold in Australia, 92% is imported! If you have to manufacture overseas, try to ship your product instead of flying it and you can even consider offsetting the emissions of the transportation through trace.
Manufacturing your goods locally has a lot of great environmental benefits;
- It significantly reduces the waste from unneeded products such as packaging labels, this in turn reduces the emissions and energy waste.
- Transportation is a huge emission & cost driver but if you have to move product from one country to another consider the mode of transport - shipping your product has much lower emissions than flying. By 2050, greenhouse emissions from logistics are set to rise by 250% - making it more important than ever to be mindful about transportation.
- Using small-scale productions also means you can hold the manufacturers accountable ensuring environmentally friendly practices when it comes to their carbon emissions.
Use sustainable materials
By actively using sustainable alternatives, businesses are limiting their climate impact, reducing the amount of chemicals, water and waste used in production. trace looks out for brands that recognise the importance of the materials they use.
A few examples we like are;
- Recycled cotton or upcycling materials which can be used create affordable home decor and jewelry items.
- Using hemp for fabric has become more popular as it uses much less water and pesticide in its manufacturing process. Hemp actually uses 50 percent less water than cotton making it the ideal fabric to be used in sustainable fashion.
- Using beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic wrap. It is easy to mould providing you with a great sustainable option to protect your items!
And don't forget your packaging, this should be sustainable too! We all know plastic isn’t good for our environment but we see it all the time in the packages we receive. In fact, Australia alone uses 6.9 billion plastic bags a year- enough to tie around the Earth 42.5 times! It is simply not sustainable for businesses to keep utilising plastic packaging.
Brands like grounded packaging are beginning to invest in new packaging innovations that reduce food waste using lighter weight packaging which significantly reduces the carbon footprint.
Launch waste reduction initiatives (Promote a circular economy)
In the workplace
Reducing waste in workplaces through simple schemes like going paperless has a huge positive impact on the environment. Australians use around four million tonnes of paper each year — an amount equal to nearly 200 kg per person. With businesses using online programs like Google Docs to share information the need for paper in the workplace is nearly non-existent. Simply put, less paper waste means less trash in landfills.
Recycling other items in the workplaces are also great ways of reducing waste for example aluminium cans, ink cartridges and even office machinery and equipment that is no longer being used.
In your product lifecycle
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has set a goal for Australian food and grocery manufacturers to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025. This encourages more brands to increase the recycling rates of their identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in their packaging.
If you handle food you could even consider setting up a composting bin!
All of these waste reduction initiatives are not only great for the environment but they engage employees too meaning the impact is likely to stretch further than just the workplace!
Create a sustainable workplace
Whether your staff work in an office building or at home try to use renewable energy where possible.
Through encouraging green practices within the workplace, businesses can ensure their employees are environmentally sustainable beyond the workplace. Creating an environmentally aware work culture can be as simple as eliminating plastic bottles from the workplace and distributing reusable ones or making sure you have recycling bins in the office.
Now more than ever it is important to consider how you can encourage employees to be environmentally conscious at home. trace has built a carbon footprint quiz which can be used alongside an internal campaign to engage and educate staff about their personal carbon footprint.
Offset your carbon footprint
Carbon offsets are credits that are earned or bought by investing in projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions, such as producing renewable wind energy for communities or building bore holes so communities have access to clean drinking water without having to burn forest wood. The practice of buying carbon offsets can be controversial because it can be seen as a way to act publicly but without taking important steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a company’s direct operations.
At trace we believe offsetting is an effective way to reach net zero within the next 10 years so that we can meet the IPCCs recommended maximum of 1.5C of warming. It is really important that offsetting is used as a part of a broader climate or sustainability strategy which aims to reduce emissions.
Watch this short video to learn. more about what trace offers in this space.
Becoming a climate positive brand with trace
At trace, we support businesses to become climate positive by working with them to ensure that they are making sustainable choices across the board.
trace helps consumer brands by measuring your footprint using public benchmarking emission factors, offsetting your emission through high integrity projects & then providing you with the marketing assets to tell your customers all about the great work you are funding.
trace believes in affordable & simple climate solutions in order to reduce the barriers to taking action: our measurement process is not certified or audited as this attracts huge costs. In fact, we prefer to overestimate your emissions so that you know for sure that you are climate positive.
It is important to us that offsetting is not used to get away with not taking action to reduce emissions. Offsetting has had a bad reputation in the past because high polluting industries have used it as a quick way out. This is often referred to as green washing.
How it works
To get started all we will need from you is some readily available information about your operations and supply chain; for example, where you ship your product from and to or the type of materials you use, and you can leave the rest with us.
trace invests in carefully selected projects that are truly impactful and measurable. We understand that as a consumer brand it is really important that your customers know about the great work you are doing, that is why we provide you with assets to share with your consumers.
By creating a climate positive brand, your customers can have peace of mind that they are having a positive impact with their purchase.