In recent years, sustainability has been elevated to the top of organisations' agendas and we understand that developing a sustainable business can be a major commitment. Across our various roles, we have developed a deeper understanding of how to implement both small and large scale sustainable and ethical changes to an organisation whilst still being deeply mindful of practicalities and commerciality. This experience has enabled us to adeptly take academic research and dovetail it into the realities of day-to-day business.
We can help you to devise practical strategies that will improve your business’s behaviours, ensuring that greater sustainability and ethical considerations become a natural part of how you operate. Sustainable and ethical business practices will not only minimise your environmental footprint, but they can also help increase profits and efficiency, meeting present needs without compromising future resources.
We work with our clients to help them become more socially and environmentally responsible within any aspect of the sustainability journey, from devising company policies through to implementing change throughout the organisation. We can assist with every aspect of the business operations to achieve net zero, from tracking carbon emissions and providing advice on packaging solutions through to the lifecycle of waste and recycling and travel to the workplace and to visit clients. We can also assist with relevant accreditations and carbon offsetting - and the minefield this can be to navigate.
We can also help you better communicate your sustainable and ethical standards, plans and future goals to your team, clients and partners, deepening your internal, customer and client relationships and improving customer engagement.
Here are just a few of the organisations we've helped so far:
Blackhorse Lane Ateliers
Our friends at GTB, one of WPP's specialist agencies, were tasked with creating a brand book for Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, the first London-based jeans manufacturer to have opened in London in the last 50 years. BLA opened their doors in 2016 but owner Han Ates has been in the textiles industry since the 1990s. The company is based in a 1920s factory in Walthamstow, East London. and combines the production of selvedge and organic raw denim jeans with modern methodology, with the ethos 'Think Global, Act Local'. Using a mix of tailoring innovation and heritage construction they make high-quality garments using a hyperlocal workforce and producing minimal waste. Their focus is quality, community and eco-consciousness, all evidenced by their beautifully crafted products, their connection to and practical support of makers in their local surroundings, and their commitment to both lifetime mending of their products and constantly improving processes to reduce consumption and waste, We interviewed Han and his team at both Blackhorse Lane and their store in Coal Drops Yard, a regenerated area in London's Kings Cross, collaborated on the design and direction of the book and created the editorial. The book is due to be published in 2022.
Founder Leong Ong came to us for advice on offsetting the transport involved in shipping vintage products from New York to India for the overlaid embroidery work to The Falls brand. Leong had already undertaken his own research on the artisans he works with, their workplaces and practices, and was satisfied with his findings. We recommended starting with measuring and disclosing then reducing the company's impact and risk, financing the transition to a zero-carbon resilient economy, and advocating for change. We also advised looking at each of the products sold and activities undertaken and choosing offsetting and/or charitable donations and support accordingly, giving the added benefit of partnering up with local, national and global organisations. In the end, Leong opted to use the ICAO carbon emissions calculator and pledged to double the suggested required offset to neutralise his shipping. He then funded Gold Standard's Fairtrade Project: Improved cookstoves for women in India.
We've collaborated with Casa Cubista since launching Plum & Belle and adore their products, many of which are made by hand using natural materials and traditional craft. We particularly love their classic Pulled Star rugs, made from pre-consumer fashion waste from the Portuguese fashion industry, candleholders carved from local chestnut wood and handwoven towels created from linen grown about 8km from where they're woven. But some of the finishes on the wood in particular didn't fit with our values and so we worked with the Casa Cubista team to source a bespoke organic oil treatment to be applied to the chestnut candleholders instead of the usual stain or varnish. The result is an all-natural product with extra warmth from the oil that will develop a beautiful patina over time.
Sunday at the Villa
We worked with Jo prior to launching Sunday at the Villa and through the initial stages of creating the brand's first collection. Jo is a hugely experienced and very gifted fashion designer/maker who has a strong sense of how she wanted her brand to operate (unique pieces of womenswear created from antique and vintage textiles where the cut and construction meant that there was as close to zero waste as possible). Plum & Belle's role was closer to mentoring than consultancy in this case, where we could be a sustainably-focussed, creative and business-minded sounding-board, supporting Jo as a solo founder in formulating her vision.
The resulting relationship has lead to us carrying Sunday at the Villa as one of our hero brands, creating a collaborative collection with Jo for SS21 as well as an ongoing and mutually stimulating conversation about creating clothing/fashion in a totally new way.
Plum & Belle
Well we wouldn't be telling the whole story if we didn't talk about what we're doing to keep our consumption and waste to a minimum. At this point, our impact is minimal: we are mindful of reducing our footprint at every stage of the business, the vast majority of our products are sourced from within the UK and our travel is limited. We have scrutinised our own processes and so our packaging is plastic free and compostable (100% recycled, acid-free tissue paper from Eco Craft, eco printed stickers from Sticky Labels, recycled cardboard boxes, paper tape and a paper bubble-wrap alternative from Davpack, compostable bags from wastebased, reused wood wool rescued from Fortnum & Mason hampers). Our banking is with Starling - ethical balanced with practical - and our shipping is Royal Mail for up to 5kg as they have an existing infrastructure that we are tapping into and green courier for heavier packages. The dropship method we mostly work by reduces double journeys for all of the products we offer. By looking at the products we sell and activities we undertake we've so far run fundraising campaigns through product sales for WeForest, Trees for Cities, Cancer Research and the Fawcett Society.
We are auditing our activities and improving our practices on an ongoing basis as even though we have been founded as a sustainable, ethical and responsible business there will always be room to improve and innovations to be incorporated.
What our clients say:
Jo Headland, Founder of Sunday at the Villa
'The Plum & Belle team have been a tremendous support and wealth of knowledge during my time setting up Sunday at the Villa. Not only did they plant the seed of the idea for me to set up my own business, they also generously gifted me some of my original materials, directed me towards ethical packaging suppliers, helped me set up my studio space and generally were AWESOME supporters of me throughout the whole process.
I wouldn’t have my business without them. Thank you, Plum & Belle!'
I wouldn’t have my business without them. Thank you, Plum & Belle!'
Do get in touch at email@example.com if we can help you.