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4 businesses taking a sustainable stance this year

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The apocalyptic Australian skyline was a sobering opening scene to the new decade. For many, it was a  realisation that our collective lifestyle based on mass consumption and careless waste can no longer be tolerated if we wish to continue inhabiting the planet.

Consumers are increasingly moving towards brands with a greener stance, with 80% of UK shoppers saying they are now consciously buying more eco-friendly produce.

Here at Real Business, we have compiled a shortlist of the UK’s best small sustainable businesses to demonstrate how it’s done.

1. Burns Pet Food

Pedigree production: founder John Burns has placed planet health at the forefront of his business plan.

 Who are they?

The founder is vet surgeon John Burns, who heads a family-run sustainable pet food company founded in 1993. Burns and co are committed to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

How are they making a change?

Burns Pet Food recycles a minimum of a tonne of cardboard and plastic every month and have purchased their own compactor to help recycle plastic and cardboard in its warehouse. The compactor, which compresses waste plastic and cardboard into small bales, allows them to carry more waste to the recycling plant, reducing the number of journeys and fuel emissions while increasing the amount recycled.

Burns has also made improvements to its products to reduce waste, creating new packaging that is 100% recyclable. The company is working to be self-sufficient and grows its own produce in the gardens surrounding its offices, including fresh fruit and vegetables which are used in its office canteen.

The surrounding grounds on-site are managed organically to support local ecosystems, and any green waste is used in the garden’s compost heaps. Its offices also boast numerous green elements including the use of natural sheep’s wool as insulation, solar panels to heat water, dual flush toilets to save water, and an onsite wastewater treatment system amongst many other initiatives.

Any advice?

“Commit to providing greener transport for staff, our team run its own car-sharing scheme for employees to reduce the volume of traffic and fuel emissions as well as providing staff with hybrid electric cars,” says  John Burns.

2. La Milla

Fashion-forward: Kalali’s brand plant five trees for every item bought.

Who are they?

After graduating from MIP Milan, Natalia Kalali used her skills gained during her MBA by setting up her own successful eco clothing company, La Milla. A brand that creates clothes entirely made from certified organic cotton and completely free from plastic.

How are they making a change?

La Milla is committed to responsible design across its business processes. only using eco-friendly packaging and only collaborating with delivery companies which focus on the reduction of their CO2 emissions.

What’s more, La Milla collaborates with Eden Reforestation Projects. A non-profit organisation that plants trees. Currently, they plant 5 trees for every sold product. Trees absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global warming.

Any advice?

“Don’t be passive, be active! Even if you cannot change everything immediately, start with something. Consumers become much more aware of what is happening with our earth and climate. Eco-friendly businesses are on the rise and they are the future” says founder Natalia Kalali.

3.  Fatherson Bakery

Sugar rush: the snacks in Laurence’s bakery help fix the planet as well as giving consumers their sweet fix.

Who are they?

Run by an ex-marketing director of Unilever, Laurence Smith, he’s on a mission to lead the first fully eco-friendly bakery.

How are they making a change?

All the products used for their cakes are 100% recycled and suitable for recycling in the UK. By Septemeber, all cellophane used to protect cakes will be covered with plant-based material which is sustainable and biodegradable

The teams waste partner ensures zero waste from the bakery goes into landfill. All the waste card is sent to a box supplier and recycled and re-used in outer boxes they send out for deliveries. In August 2019 they introduced a re-use policy with our customers to encourage them to return our delivery boxes and they will donate 10p per box to Children with Cancer UK and aim to raise £10k in the next 12 months with this scheme.

All the bakery trays used in the distribution system are black and made from recycled plastic and these are used for many years. Using cleaning materials in the bakery are Greener Cleaner and 100% recycled green products.

Any advice?

“Now’s the chance for more businesses to go eco-friendly and really take a 360-degree look at their business model, their products, suppliers, etc, and see what can be done. Milestones help focus the team on achieving small goals throughout the year. It may be wise to hire a third-party professional to evaluate short term and long term changes you need to put in place to go greener,” adds Laurence.

4.  Patch (plasters)

Patch it up: James plaster’s help protect the planet.

Who are they?

Created by family man James Dutton, Patch is disrupting the healthcare market with the world’s first 100% compostable plaster. Not only are the plasters fully compostable (including the packaging), but they are also plastic-free.

By minimising Patch’s environmental footprint, the brand is reducing its global impact. This is achieved by offering low wastage, chemical-free, sustainably sourced materials that minimise effects on the environment. Patch does not use toxic chemicals, plastics, latex, or silicone. Instead, they reduce wastage by using fully sustainable and 100% organic bamboo fibre.

How are they making a change?

Patch provides the only latex, paraben-free, sulphate, thimerosal/ Merthiolate-free wound care on the shelf. An innovative approach to healing cuts and abrasions, with no added chemicals. Creating a solution for peoples allergic or adverse reactions to common wound care, whilst appealing to the health-conscious buyer or environmentalist who wants to reduce their carbon footprint.

Any advice?

“Creating a business and having success in the short term anyone can do, but undoubtedly you need to be wary of the long-term commitment and not to lose focus on your long-term goal. You have to unequivocally and 100% commit to your product/service” says Dutton.

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