Indigenous UK

+44 (0)1993 824200enquiries@indigenous.co.uk

Home Joss’s Journal – talks sustainability

Joss talks sustainability...

Sustainability is a subject that’s really close to my heart. It’s sometimes hard to see how anything we do can really have an impact but I believe that if we all try to work harder, and consider our choices, it will surely make a difference.

 

When I’m sourcing products for Indigenous, I try to be conscious about the decisions I make and the impact that they’ll have on the environment.  I actively seek out suppliers with good eco credentials.   I’ve come to discover that Italian porcelain manufacturers, for example, are very focused on environmental impact.  I choose them not only for their high-quality products but also for their investment in their environmental record – they are consistently looking at production processes, reducing consumption of electricity and water where they can, optimising recycling. Working with these types of companies excites me.

 

I’m also very mindful of supporting design styles that are enduring, rather than following trends. Natural materials naturally lend themselves to this.  Investing in enduring styles and longevity, rather than buying fast fashion, can quickly become a personal buying habit and it’s a very positive way forward. 

 

Whether buying for myself, my family or for Indigenous, I try to consider four main areas.  They provide me with an eco-compass and tend to be more pocket-friendly too.

Choosing natural materials

There are lots of benefits to buying natural materials.  They’re kinder to the environment, as don’t contain synthetics or harmful chemicals, and they generally last much longer.  They tend to age well too, often getting better with time, and when they eventually wear out, the natural material doesn’t release harmful toxins. And, these fabulous materials are also healthier for us and are calming in our homes.

Buy better, buy less

I’ve always believed that it’s worth investing a little more for something special.  I remember hearing someone say “Buy cheap, buy twice.”  It stuck. In terms of practicality, good quality products tend to be much more durable and they last longer.  Making the right purchasing decision in terms of environmental factors – like the use of renewable resources, recycled materials and an ethical supply chain – is also a very positive step forward.

 

Special one-off items, especially those handcrafted by artisans, tend to be treasured, often becoming heirlooms.  When the item’s made from a recycled source, like many of our designs, it gives it even more credibility.  Our small accessories always tick this box for me; a charming Branchwood Stool or Petrified Wood Plate – little items that leave a lasting impression.

Carbon footprint

Because we import from all over the world, and distribute around the UK and internationally, carbon foot print can be a tricky area for us. Most of our goods are, however, shipped by sea/container, very little by air.  I’m not one to green wash and, certainly, it’s an area that we need to constantly address.  

On the plus side, I then consider the lifetime value of our products.  For example, a quality stone floor will last a lifetime compared to, say, a resilient product which will generally have a much shorter lifespan. There’s also less processing involved, as well as the wellbeing benefits that natural materials bring. It’s about balance but we’re striving to do better.

Life-cycle analysis

This is a complicated, lengthy process and it’s often hard to reach a definitive conclusion.  When you’re considering a product’s life-cycle, you need to look at the material, the manufacturing process, the distribution network, installation, use, maintenance and longevity, ease of recycling and final disposal.  Every product is different. For example, with a stone floor, much of the environmental impact is in the early stages, in the extraction, finishing and distribution. Once you get to installation, you can turn the tide by opting for a low VOC adhesive. Then, to maintain, you can use an environmentally-friendly water-based product. The impact lessens through the lifecycle and, as natural flooring lasts a lifetime, it is kinder to the environment over the longer term.

 

It’s important to look at the whole lifecycle, rather than a snap shot. I find that stepping back and taking time to consider can be hugely beneficial, not only for the environment but in terms of my own conscience.

Joss