Businesses of all sizes are quickly having to re-evaluate their strategies in order to meet the rise in consumer demand for greener alternatives.
Customers are now searching for brands that share similar values to themselves and it is said, are more inclined to purchase from a business if it leaves them feeling like they have had a positive impact. A recent study supports this theory reporting 66% of all respondents and 75% of Millennials consider sustainability when shopping with a brand.
As Millennials and Gen Z’s are continuing to represent larger portions of the consumer market, their commitment to sustainability is becoming more influential on how entrepreneurs are running their businesses.
Charles from The Pure Option, an award-winning business on the EKM platform, sat down with us to chat about all things green. The Pure Option specialises in 100% plant-based packaging and with over 300 compostable products available on their website, they have the largest range in Europe.
Their mission is simple, to replace single-use plastic with plant-based alternatives.
So how are Charles and business partner (also wife) Deborah, running an environmentally conscious business and what is their advice to other business owners looking to make changes?
Education and empowerment
Charles recognised that while people were looking to make the more sustainable choice, he believed there were very few alternatives available to allow the customer to do so, in particular with regards to single-use plastics.
“Plastic is a great material, but it shouldn’t be used for something that is a single use”. Charles Richardson, The Pure Option
Back in 2003, while wondering about what happened to discarded takeaway coffee cups, Charles delved deep into the life cycle of single-use materials. His research brought him to his plant-based packaging solutions and The Pure Option was born.
It was important to Charles to create a new solution as opposed to relying on reusable alternatives. Offering a whole new item instead of the well known reusable ones, eliminates the scope for human error, for example, the customer forgetting to bring their reusable coffee cup.
“What drives me is I want people to be aware of what their options are, I want them to not feel powerless’ he goes on to say ‘I want my child to grow up in a world that is better than what I inherited and the only way we are going to do that is by thinking differently.”
Challenges faced and overcome
It’s no secret that price point can play a huge role in manufacturing and purchasing decisions and more often than not, the sustainable option is a little steeper in cost than the not so green route. This has been a challenge for Charles and for many other businesses looking to make more environmentally conscious decisions.
One way that Charles is tackling this hurdle is through collaborations. Armed with his expertise, he finds the collaborators that have the means to create the solution but don’t have the knowledge or drive to implement it. Quite often, this can mean he works with his competitors, bringing a whole new yet refreshing meaning to the expression ‘keeping your friends close…’
3 Easy tips to make your business greener
Starting small and looking at your own carbon footprint is the simplest way to have a positive impact on the environment. Here are Charles’ quick and easy wins that you can put into action within your business:
- Use suppliers that offset their carbon footprint, such as companies who plant trees or have initiatives in place to help positively impact the environment.
- Look at carbon-intensive areas of your business, from evaluating the materials within your products to looking at the ink in your printers. Have a look for more sustainable alternatives.
- Ask your teams what you can do as a business to improve. People within your organisation may already be asking the important questions i.e. “why is this process done this way?” They may even already have a greener solution or have ideas for the company as a whole.
Carbon Neutral Britain has lots of useful information on how to make positive changes individually, as a business, and become carbon neutral.
The Pure Option powered by EKM
Having a successful online shop with EKM not only showcases your products but in cases much like these, enables you to share your expertise as a business owner and have a positive impact.
“Our website is instrumental” stated Charles, as we discussed how he reaches his customers. Alongside informing the world of their sustainable products, Charles also uses his website as an educational tool, posting blogs and articles to inform consumers, offering insight into the packaging industry and key topics surrounding his sustainability mission.
If you too are interested in doing what you love and setting up an online shop with EKM, we have written the Ultimate Guide to Everything Ecommerce which will guide you through and tell you all you need to know.
For more information on EKM as a platform, make sure you watch our platform demo and take a sneak peek behind the scenes.