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      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.

      James Ellis Black Friday Sale 100% to Environmental Causes

      Black Friday - We gave 100% of our sales away.

      We had an unusual sale this Black Friday.  I recently read about how the Patagonia clothing brand had given 100% of their sales to environmental causes from Black Friday several years ago.  We thought this was a wonderful idea and we decided to do the same this year.  

      I’m delighted to announce that we managed to raise £3536 which we have donated to Avon Needs Trees, an organisation that we’ve been involved with before that is involved in buying land in the Bristol-Avon catchment area for reforesting.

      Many, many thanks to all our customers.



      Our most recent donation as a member of 1% for the Planet was to the charity Temwa.

      Temwa works in one of the world’s poorest countries, in the Nkhata Bay North district of Malawi. Founded in 2003 by Jo Hook and Sophie Elson who are both from Bristol, the charity’s roots are closer to home, and their office is just across the city from our studio. When running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote village in Malawi, their friend Lotti Nkhwazi died as a result of AIDS. Lotti had been supporting his sister, brother, and sister-in-law and 15 children who were all drastically impacted by his death. After their experience in Malawi, Jo and Sophie returned to the UK in 2000 to spend the next 3 years fundraising and researching how they could help Malawians like Lotti. They called the charity Temwa, which means the love within a community.

      Their community-led approach develops self-sufficiency providing long term sustainable solutions to the problems locals face. Temwa has developed a ten year strategy in partnership with staff, trustees, community members, and local chiefs and government, and at the end of this strategy comes their exit plan. After setting up structures, training and opportunities with these communities, the locals should no longer need Temwa, but will continue to benefit from the initiatives they began.

      ‘Our mission is to develop self-sufficient communities by supporting projects in education, health, agriculture and forestry, and microfinance.’ Examples of their work include training villagers in the importance of good nutrition and sustainable farming, and promoting young children’s literacy skills and funding students through secondary school.

      As our products are mostly paper based, and we aim to minimise our impact on the environment, we are particularly interested in tree planting and combating climate change. Deforestation in Malawi has caused a rise in extreme weather such as droughts and floods. One of Temwa’s projects is carbon balancing. This enables locals to plant trees and enforce forestry management to tackle deforestation and climate change. Tree planting improves soil quality for farming and helps provide resilience to climate shocks, which in turn prevents malnutrition.

      To learn more about Temwa, and find out how you can balance your carbon through their tree planting initiative, please visit their website here.