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      City to Sea

      City to Sea

      We are happy to have made our latest 1% for the Planet donation to City to Sea, a charity based in our hometown, Bristol.

      They are an environmental organisation who provide communities worldwide with practical solutions to stop plastic pollution. The charity’s positive and playful attitude makes their initiatives approachable and achievable, encouraging everyone to take small steps which result in big change.

      As we become more and more aware of the shocking amounts of plastic building up in our oceans, City to Sea aims to stop plastic at source by reducing demand. As well as believing in the power of the individual consumer and helping everyday activists to challenge the system, they are also behind large scale campaigns pushing for change in government legislation and calling out big companies to face their plastic problems.

      Their #SwitchTheStick campaign resulted in all major UK retailers announcing they would only sell biodegradable paper stemmed cotton buds rather than plastic. This was followed by the British government completely banning plastic cotton buds as well as stirrers and straws.

      City to Sea have successfully campaigned for plastic-free period products to be offered to schools as part of the government’s period poverty scheme. They have met with period product brands, retailers and manufacturers, encouraging them to remove single-use plastic and add more reusables to their ranges.

      Cutting out as much plastic as possible from our business has been a priority for the past couple of years. In January we were really pleased to send out our first trade catalogue with a 100% plastic-free and fully recyclable card and stationery range, following us designing new paper packaging for our mini card packs. However there is always more that can be done and we will continue to critically evaluate our company from an environmental and ethical perspective.

      Please take a look at City to Sea’s website to find out more about their work, how to get involved with their campaigns, and see what you can do to reduce everyday plastic consumption.

      TreeSisters

      TreeSisters

      Our most recent donation through our membership to 1% for the Planet was to TreeSisters, a social change and reforestation charity.

      TreeSisters fund tropical reforestation projects across 12 locations in Brazil, Borneo, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, Nepal and West Papua. Their reforestation projects are ethical and community led, they expand natural forest cover and aim to avoid further deforestation.

      So far they have funded the planting of over 15 million trees, and their goal is to plant 1 billion trees annually. We are delighted that our donation will directly fund the planting of 875 trees.

      TreeSisters stood out to us as their projects support local communities and focus on gender parity and the participation of women. They explore what it would be like if there were more woman taking leadership roles in respect to the environment, and they provide training and support to encourage this.

      Their work combines four of today’s big issues: gender, climate, behaviour change and ecological restoration. You can read more about TreeSisters’ projects, their values and how to support them here.

      We The Curious

      We The Curious

      We have made a donation through our membership of 1% for the Planet to We The Curious, an educational charity with sustainability at the heart of their work.

      We The Curious describe their mission as 'to build a culture of curiosity where everyone can ask questions, explore and test ideas out together. By creating equal spaces where people can enjoy science as messy, creative and collaborative we can solve our greatest human challenges, together.'

      Their science and arts centre is based here in Bristol, and they deliver free educational opportunities to six of Bristol’s most disadvantaged wards. They also reach millions more with their live online science videos which are viewed by teachers and learners worldwide.

      We think projects like this are a great way to tackle environmental issues in a positive way. Education is vitally important in the fight against climate change and We The Curious are inspiring the next generation of change makers. Their engaging and thought provoking projects motivate all of us to make sustainable lifestyle choices.

      We The Curious are a key member of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and were also one of the first organisations in the city to publicly declare a climate emergency. They are committed to becoming the most sustainable science centre in the UK, and their innovative sustainable approaches include the city’s first LED lit car park, green roofs and bee hives.

      We are delighted to be supporting such an inspiring charity here in Bristol. You can read more about their educational opportunities and sustainable projects on their website.

      Women's Environmental Network

      Women's Environmental Network

      We are happy to share during International Women’s Week and Women’s History Month that we have made a donation to Women’s Environmental Network! This donation was made as part of our membership to 1% to the Planet.

      Women’s Environmental Network is a feminist and community based charity tackling environmental issues. WEN works on both a local and national scale. Based in London, they have supported residents in disadvantaged areas of the borough of Tower Hamlets for over 20 years. WEN recognises the health and environmental issues caused by industrial food production so helps establish community gardens for growing food and provides plant based cooking classes. They also realise the therapeutic benefits of gardening and cooking so their projects also work to reduce depression, anxiety and stress. One programme supports vulnerable women in refuges across East London, allowing them to build and maintain green spaces, and aiding their recovery and development.

      We were particularly interested in WEN’s work defying taboos and educating young people on alternatives to single use plastic based period products. Conventional menstrual products are often filled with toxic chemicals and menstrual pads contain up to 90% plastic. These are frequently flushed causing devastation to our oceans, or they pile up in landfill for thousands of years. WEN promotes reusable and organic options and is also fighting for the 20% tax on period pants to be dropped, as this eco friendly alternative was not included in the abolishment of tampon tax at the beginning of this year.

      Climate change will have consequences for everyone but women and people of colour will be impacted the most. 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Despite this, as with most things, women are not equally included in climate action. The Feminist Green New Deal project addresses this issue by encouraging women’s organisations to engage with environmental issues and the environmental sector to involve a female approach. WEN aims to ensure women, people of colour and other marginalised groups have a say in environmental debates. The Feminist Green New Deal Manifesto will be launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November.

      To find out more about WEN please visit their website here. You can support their work by donating, volunteering or becoming a member. Members now enjoy a 15% discount on our website, as well as discounts on other ethical brands.

      Our experience of Brexit so far ...

      Our experience of Brexit so far ...

      We are six weeks into Brexit and I thought I would write about the issues we’ve come across so far.

      1. Delays, delays, delays.  Our Italian notebook supplier sped up an urgent order for us which was ready on the 12th January.  Today, 4 weeks later we still haven’t received it.  The last time we ordered (in November 2020 pre Brexit) it took 5 days to arrive.  The delays are due to a succession of paperwork and bureaucratic issues.  I’m really hoping these will improve over time.
      2. Problems for our EU Customers.  I think it varies from country to country but in Germany for example, our customers are having to pay a 20% tax bill and €8 admin fee before they can receive their orders from us.  We’ve stopped charging them VAT when they order but it isn’t ideal as we are concerned the uncertainty of extra charges is going to put them off ordering in the first place.  We've also had quite a few orders returned as the taxes and admin fees were unpaid including one urgent order which a customer was waiting for.  UK customers ordering from the EU are having the same problems.  
      3. Tariffs on components from outside the UK.  We get our photo albums made in Germany.  When we place orders we send the German supplier solid brass binding screws which we import from India and are used in the assembly.  Now, these binding screws are subject to tax and duty when they get to Germany which is adding significant costs to the manufacturing process.
      4. Sending large orders EU distributors.  Some distributors consolidate several orders placed with multiple UK publishers and get them sent as one consignment by freight forwarders.  Due to the complexities of the paperwork involved some freight forwarders are refusing to do this currently so we are looking into alternative options.
      5. Giving up.  One of our European suppliers has given up supplying the UK all together and I'm aware that some UK companies have paused EU orders.  We are hoping this is temporary.  We are continuing on but currently it is difficult.

      So overall it has been a challenge!  Hopefully we will find ways to solve these issues and any suggestions would be welcome.