Anita Roddick is one of my favourite entrepreneurs. A human rights activist and environmental campaigner, she is best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism.
Her famous quote ‘If you think you are too small to have an impact try going to bed with a mosquito’ has always inspired me hugely – it is printed on the bottom of all FINDRA in house brand and business guidelines. We may be a small business and brand but that shouldn’t and doesn’t stop us doing things right and working hard to build a sustainable brand and business and ultimately have a positive impact on our customers and the environment.
Back in August we announced that we had been shortlisted for the ‘Product Scotland Award’ category in the VIBES the Scottish Environment Business Awards. This came about because one of our lovely customers suggested that we should look into these awards and maybe think about applying. The Product Scotland award recognises a business that has developed a product that brings both environmental and business benefits. A total of 36 businesses from across Scotland have been included in the shortlist for these prestigious awards, which are focused on inspiring companies to play their part in meeting Scotland’s ambition to be a world leader on tackling climate change.
The application process was extremely thorough, and following the shortlisting announcement there was an onsite visit by 3 of the judges who were keen to learn more about FINDRA and the activities we undertake to grow a sustainable brand and business.
It was an intense but very positive meeting, with the judges digging deep to ensure they really got a clear understanding of what our sustainable credentials are and how we implement them across everything we do.
There is so much that we do as a small business on all levels to ensure we are ethical and sustainable, from our approach to design and manufacturing to our free repairs service. We also look to create on-going awareness around environmental issues and sustainability by sharing our knowledge and approach to design and business through educational material, our newsletters and via our brand ambassadors who do great work to highlight these issues and our ethos and values.
Last Friday myself and my partner (Roddy) attended the VIBES lunch and awards ceremony. Before the winners were announced, there was an impressive list of speeches and inspirational talks on the ways plastics are being recycled and environmental principles are becoming core to company values. It was an appropriate celebration of businesses that are driving sustainable change in Scotland and beyond.
As the awards ticked past, it wasn’t long before our category – Product Scotland Award – rolled around. The competition was seriously strong and the award went to IES who create software simulation tools for architects and engineers and consulting services for design and operation of sustainable buildings. You can’t argue with that – what a well-deserved win!
Just being nominated and shortlisted for these prestigious awards is very humbling and reassures us that we’re doing it right. Sustainability has always been at the core of what we do and it’s reaffirming to be acknowledged.
But things were not quite over for FINDRA, as unbeknownst to me, we were also up for the final award category ‘Small Business Scotland’ – a shortlist of 16 business with under 50 employees.
And we won!
It was an unexpected but completely joyful moment, the fab Team FINDRA work so hard to continually realise the vision I set out to achieve 5 years ago at my kitchen table. So I am extremely proud of them and all we have achieved together. Winning “Small Business Scotland Winner 2019” at the VIBES Awards is testament to all we do as a brand, a business and as a team to make a difference and pursue our goal to innovate design and create products wherever possible that are beneficial to both people and the earth. This includes the promotion of raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes and technical design that contributes to environmental conservation.’
We are a small team and a small business but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an impact. The recognition of that through the VIBES awards goes to prove that even when you are small you can still have an impact.
So what small things can we all do on a daily basis to make a difference?
Small steps to make a big impact
If you’re feeling inspired, but not sure where to start, then have a think about these 6 things you can do to help the environment today:
1/. Pick public transport or your bike to get around, or offer friends a car share
2/. Take a reusable bottle with you everywhere. There are plenty of places to get water straight from the tap, and coffee shops often give you a wee discount if you bring your own bottle.
3/. Reduce your food waste. It’s estimated that a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. Do your bit by eating up leftovers and use any ingredients you have spare to make interesting meals, or donate to food banks.
4/. Plant a tree. On 30 November, The Woodland Trust will begin its mass tree planting effort to fight back against climate change. They’ve requested people to pledge to plant one tree, and by 2025 they aim to have planted a tree for every single person in the UK. Head over to the Woodland Trust website to find out more.
5/. Find your local community garden and get involved! There are community gardens all over the UK where everyone works together to cultivate fresh produce and keep the neighbourhood green. Visit this website to start your journey.
6/. Stop buying fast fashion. 10,000 items of clothing are sent to landfill every five minutes due to the fast fashion trend. Look for sustainable companies using natural fibres for a longer lasting, less wasteful wardrobe.