Hello there, it's Eloise (Marmor Paperie's apprentice) here, and I want to tell you about an exciting little project we have brewing in the studio…
We want to become more sustainable as a craft business this year. Through a series of initiatives, we hope to explore different ways of making our products more durable and look at the materials we use, from our paints to our packaging, to find sustainable alternatives where necessary.
So what exactly is 'sustainability'? It’s about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It can also be seen as a state of mind, a way of being where pleasure and satisfaction are derived from being in harmony with nature rather than working against it.
But this term has come under scrutiny recently since it's become emblematic of 'greenwashing': when companies advertise the 'sustainability' of their products without providing any evidence, or in order to cover up some of their shadier, more questionable practices. In opposition to this phenomenon, some companies are hiding their eco-friendly practices instead of promoting them because they're scared of being called out for greenwashing, despite their positive innovations. This can be quite stifling when it stops valuable information from being shared and learnt from. Indeed, transparency is key.
So we, as a small craft business, would like to start an honest and positive conversation around sustainable practices. We sell physical products, specifically paper stationery, so we could never claim to be completely sustainable – because at the end of the day it would be most sustainable to avoid buying anything – but we can certainly try to make our products and practices as sustainable as possible. Hopefully one day we won’t need to rely on finite natural resources at all, but until then we can try to minimise our impact by making mindful, informed decisions about our purchases, caring for items and making them last by repairing them when necessary.
In order to have an impact, we'll need to dig deep into our production methods to learn more about the past and future lives of the materials we are using. As we take on this challenge, it quickly becomes apparent that every solution will come with its very own set of questions. For example, if packaging is compostable, how do I go about composting it? Is it better to use recycled paper or to opt for a more durable kind of paper? Becoming more environmentally friendly is a minefield, with layers of misinformation and obscured details to wade through. In some cases we may need to weigh the good and the bad, but either way we will do our best to shed some light on our experiences in the hope that it can help others.
Turning the world of manufacturing completely sustainable is a colossal task that requires continual rethinking, adapting and building upon. The definition of 'sustainable' is ever-changing as research progresses and as we try to avoid over-using and draining certain resources. Yet the only way we can move forward collectively is to see this task as a work in progress and to keep learning from each other.
So, on that note, we welcome any advice, experience and suggestions you guys might have for us as we take on this project. We also hope to document our efforts in a series of blog posts as we go along, so please stay tuned to find out more! In our next post, we’ll be taking a look at our current practices and suggesting different areas of improvement before we start experimenting.