Zero Waste Week: Calling Sustainable Businesses and Consumers

Picture of Mahira Kalim. Mahira is a brown woman with long brown hair. She is smiling down at a box of her Spruce product as she holds it, sitting down. She is wearing a baby pink suit jacket with a white blouse.

We asked a few members of the Hatch community to tell us about the sustainable business and consumer experience and to give some advice. Here’s what they had to say.

For Sustainable Businesses:

Sustainable businesses exist to challenge the norm, and if you don’t make each step align with your mission, there is no reason for us at all. Be led by your principles

Did you know that 468 million plastic cleaning spray bottles are thrown away in the UK every year?

“This plastic waste ends up polluting our land and oceans, getting into our food and drinking water, and causing serious health and fertility problems.”

Mahira launched Spruce as a single-use plastic-free alternative, with an innovative refill model that leads to no waste sent to a landfill.

Hatch Graduate, Mahira Kalim, was inspired to found her own business after working with a large fast-moving consumer goods company to improve their plastic footprint.

“I realised I could make a direct impact by building a business that solves some of the top environmental issues.”

Mahira’s company is legally bound to put people and the planet before profit with its B-Corp certification.

“I wanted to go beyond being low waste and having a low environmental impact. I want to create a brand that customers can really trust.”

Picture of Mahira Kalim. Mahira is a brown woman with long brown hair. She is smiling at the camera as she sits while holding spruce products.

“It’s hard for a sustainable business to turnover as much as the big brands who are doing everything cheaper due to unethical labour and unethically sourced materials.”

Mahira has faced huge challenges in running her B-corp business, including; the pandemic, Brexit, and now the cost of living crisis. With less disposable income, sustainable businesses can quickly seem less accessible than cheaper alternatives. 

“Running a sustainable business is never easy, especially as a solo female founder of colour – the group known to get the smallest percentage of institutional funding.”

To those currently struggling with similar challenges in their pursuit of running their business ethically and sustainably, Mahira advises that you remind yourself of your mission and align yourself with it. Allow your decisions to be guided by your principles, which will help you through the challenges.

For Sustainable Consumers:

We're so adapted to having items delivered to our door or laid out for us on a shelf, and what consuming sustainably starts to open our eyes to is that each of those items has its own story.

In a world where waste and greenwashing is an ever growing problem, it’s so important support brands like Spruce that are not only committed to helping the environment but also to a regenerative vision for the future.

Consuming sustainably in our globalised world is less accessible and convenient, however. That’s why educational businesses like Helen Fisher’s We are Carbon are paramount for the sustainable and eventually regenerative mission. 

Image reads We are Carbon with Helen Fisher. The we are carbon logo is a colored drawing of the earth.

“There are people behind the things we use, and when we take the time to source items that been produced sustainably, the people involved in those items often care very deeply about the way that we treat the world and one another.”

Helen recognises that financial uncertainty can be a huge obstacle towards consuming sustainably. 

“But at the heart of being sustainable is gaining an understanding of our connection to nature.”

By consuming more items that are provided naturally and can be re-used, sustainable products can be cheaper in the long run.

“Our climate is in chaos. Our resources are depleting. Our future is unpredictable. And if all of that wasn’t bad enough these messages can cause us to run out of something else too – hope.”

Rather than adding to the climate anxiety so many of us have, We are Carbon seeks to motivate people to build lives where they can thrive whilst healing the planet with beautiful and motivational messages.

They are also currently bringing people together to further explore ideas like how to creatively use waste. If this is is something that would interest you, consider joining their small cohort!

Want to start consuming more sustainably but don’t know where to start?

Here’s a few directories founded by Hatch graduates!

At Hatch, we work with entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. We help them build smart ideas into successful, profitable, and sustainable businesses that have a positive and lasting impact on their communities.

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