Helping Overton Businesses
By Laura from the Sustainable Overton team.
One of our first actions here at Sustainable Overton was to contact as many businesses in the village as we could. We asked them to display our flyer and tell us what support they needed to become more sustainable.
It soon became clear that many were really willing to make changes but just didn’t know where to start, which is where the idea for the Sustainable Business Audit came from.
This is a resource available to all businesses of any size, to help them to decide what action to take, rather than for us to tell them what to do. It sets out the main areas of the business where changes can be made, such as energy use, transport, packaging, or single use plastic, with examples for each and sector-specific information where available. There is then a space to record an action plan – committing thoughts to paper tends to make them more real and more likely to be stuck to – and a space to record what has already been achieved.
The changes can be small, such as cutting down the amount of direct marketing received in the post or sign-posting customers how to avoid, recycle or return any packaging. But they might also be significant, such as switching to electric vehicles. It’s down to each business owner to decide what changes they can and want to make, with a mentor from Sustainable Overton to help; suggesting ways to find out more, challenging misconceptions and celebrating every step taken together.
Here is what a couple of our local businesses had to say:
Hannah from Verbose Design (a jewellery design business based at home)
“It was really clear and easy to follow, and great to have examples attached too. It helped me realise in one place all the things I'd already considered and changes already made. I think you can tell people it's really straightforward so not something to get concerned about having time to do (I appreciate my biz is tiny so even quicker but imagine it wouldn't be onerous for others either). I've been thinking about some of these things for ages but once you write it down it’s a commitment to it. So good to write it down with a date and know you have a plan.
It’s great to have a place to write down all the things you've already done as reminders, both to feel encouraged the first time if you've already made some, and to see the progress you've made if you come back to this again and again. I think that makes it easier for people to feel they can approach it then."
Hannah chose to commit to:
1. Reviewing the products used in the jewellery making process – how can the waste be reduced?
2. Discover what options are available for buying eco-silver
3. Explore how to improve gift boxes and other packaging to make it more recyclable
4. How to communicate to customers regarding eco silver and other changes made
All with an end date of December 2020.
We’re looking forward to finding out how she got on.
Lannah from Café Pueblo
"From the start of planning to open my business, being sustainable was high on the agenda, but I soon found out it wasn’t as simple as I first thought – it’s not always easy to get clear information about the best options available for items such as single use cups or cleaning products.
Sitting down with Laura and talking through the audit really helped to realise just quite how broad sustainability can be, and how there are actions which are simple to take but often overlooked. It’s made me more determined to ensure green options are at the front of choices I make, and to tackle the simple things right away."
Lannah has pledged to:
1) Opt out of promotional mail where possible, getting catalogues online rather than paper ones which are just recycled.
2) Source a reusable coffee cup to sell (and maybe brand with Sustainable Overton too!)
3) Look into switching to a reusable energy supplier as soon as possible
4) Making sure I tell customers where possible about the changes and choices we have made.
Even with the current trading conditions making life tough for a lot of businesses, there are quick, simple and often money saving changes that can be made – get in touch to find out more about how we can help.