One of the aims of our “Featuring Green Tech” initiative is to educate businesses on how they can operate sustainably and ways that they can introduce and improve their green operations, regardless of the sector in which they operate, to contribute to an eco-friendly environment.
Here at ADLIB, we take going green seriously. To name a few, we have: installed a filtered water tap to deter the use of single-use plastic, we are working towards being completely paperless (we’re nearly there!), we recycle all food, plastic, cardboard, tin, electronics, toner cartridges and more. Additionally, we fill the office with plants to clean our air.
But are we all, as a collective, actually doing enough? What are the best practices and how can businesses optimise their processes as much as possible?
In this context, we caught up with Ecosurety; a leading producer responsibility compliance scheme for packaging, WEEE and batteries making a real impact on UK recycling.
ADLIB: For some background information, who is Ecosurety and what makes your business offering unique?
Ecosurety: Ecosurety is a market-leading environmental compliance scheme working with more than 1,000 members, including brands such as Danone, The Co-operative Group, Nestlé, Morrisons and Virgin Media. We help them comply with the UK regulations for packaging, batteries and electricals – it is a little-known fact for consumers that if a company puts any of those materials onto the market they are probably required by law to register with the Environment Agency and pay a significant proportion towards the costs of recycling them.
We proudly stand apart from other compliance schemes, however, as we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of UK businesses and actively support efficient and more transparent investment in UK recycling projects via infrastructure, innovation and consumer awareness campaigns, on behalf of our members.
ADLIB: Can you share a few key areas where Ecosurety has seen the most success/made the biggest impact?
Ecosurety: Undoubtedly the biggest impact we have made over the last few years is to commit ourselves to walk the talk, going beyond offering a basic service to ensure we make a tangible, positive impact on UK recycling.
It’s easy to pay lip service to environmental issues, and so many companies do, but when you actually stand up and make a tangible difference it gets noticed. In this way we’ve been able to bring many major brands along with us on our journey, resulting in further investment in new recycling innovation and technology, not to mention unprecedented industry-wide collaborations on campaigns to improve on-the-go recycling such as our latest initiative Swansea #InTheLoop.
ADLIB: From your perspective, what can businesses be doing to make themselves more sustainable and reduce their impact on the environment?
Ecosurety: Seek out those areas where you can go beyond the basics – and don’t give up at the first hurdle. A good example is that one of our biggest environmental impacts as a service-based company is from our staff commuting to work.
Back in 2015, we were trying to set up a car share scheme on our local business park, Aztec West, where up to 8,000 employees travel every day. The commercial schemes were prohibitively expensive, but after meeting with the local council we sparked an idea that led to a collaboration which saw us create our own bespoke solution called joinmyjourney.
Four years later and it is now being used at over 30 sites across the South West to help employees commute to work by car share, cycling or walking at no cost to the organisations.
ADLIB: Can you tell us of any exciting green tech businesses that you’re working with?
Ecosurety: We go out of our way to work with exciting green tech businesses! Through our investment in recycling innovation, we are working with a number of key partners. These include Recycling Technologies who have developed a chemical recycling process in the UK that can ‘recycle the unrecyclable’, such as crisp packets and plastic wrapping, turning it back into a raw material that can be used to produce virgin quality plastic.
We are collaborating on another project called PolyMet with Impact Solutions which aims to remove the colour from waste plastics, potentially transforming it from a low-value waste stream to a high-value resource. Another recycler we support is Indigo Environmental who have developed a new plant to recycle contaminated plastic materials that traditionally end up in landfill or incineration.
There are many more examples, some of which we aren’t allowed to talk about yet!
ADLIB: And finally, what’s in the pipeline for Ecosurety? What’s on the horizon?
Ecosurety: We have some genuinely exciting times ahead of us, thanks to several key initiatives that are set to take our green credentials and impact to a whole new level. Unfortunately, they are top secret whilst we bring them to fruition, so we can’t go into any details right now. We are very excited that 2020 is already shaping up to be a big year for Ecosurety!
Have you ever wondered what life as an eCommerce Manager is really like? What does it take to break into the industry and to stay on top of the game?
If you’re considering a career within Digital Marketing or are planning on adding an expert to your team – you can find some first-hand perception right here.
ADLIB: In approx. 30 words what does your role as an eCommerce Manager involve?
Rob: Managing all aspects of the online business. From the products and brands, we sell, through to acquisition, merchandising, website maintenance, copywriting and everything in between.
ADLIB: What has been your career highlight so far?
Rob: So far it would have to be repositioning our paid activity across social media. I was able to change our tactics in order to quickly increase ROI across these channels whilst raising brand awareness and increasing our following.
ADLIB: In a nutshell, what is a typical day like for you? (…if there is such thing)
Rob: Each day is really varied, but typically in a day, I’ll be monitoring all of our paid acquisition activities (FB, Google Shopping, etc) to make sure we are focussing on the right areas. There are always new products to be listed and added to the site so I may help with some of that, or I may be working on developing creative strategies to increase awareness of the brands we stock.
I’ll often find myself away from my desk, liaising with warehouse staff on how we can improve the processes we have in place there. I’m also a sucker for a spreadsheet so there’s always a bit of data analysis to be done!
ADLIB: What do you like most about your role?
Rob: What I like most about my role is being able to have a positive impact on small business. Everyone involved works hard to achieve the same goals so when something goes to plan, or we hit certain targets, it’s really rewarding because you can see the direct impact you have had. Working alongside some of my favourite brands is also a huge plus for me.
ADLIB: What do you see as the top 3 skills it takes to become an eCommerce Manager?
- A strong understanding of how to read and react to data you collect
- Be able to put yourself in the shoes of all types of customer in order to help the business provide the best service
- Be able to stop what you’re doing and tackle something else at a moments notice!
ADLIB: And finally, what top tip would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge within eCommerce remain top-notch?
Rob: Never stop learning about your brands, customers and competitors.
Thanks so much for sharing!
As part of our Design For Good initiative, we aim to seek out and promote those that are designing for good. To shine a light on how creative innovation can be a driver for positive change and to raise awareness of the people and teams making it happen.
First up, we’d like to feature a company that is connecting businesses and local good causes to make a positive impact. In this context, we had a chat with Daniel Pidcock, Contract UX Designer at Neighbourly.
ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far, leading you to where you are right now?
Daniel: Many years ago, I ran a design agency that specialised in start-ups and digital transformation. A company would come to us with a problem or an idea. We’d research the market, build a basic prototype, prove the concept and pass it back to the client. We didn’t think of this as ‘UX’ (User Experience), I had never heard the term ‘MVP’, we were agile but scrum, to me, was still something that happened at rugby!
Discovering that there is a whole product design and user experience industry, with tried-and-tested processes for user testing, blew my mind. A whole world opened up.
Ever since I’ve been applying these techniques and seeing the impact on large companies and start-ups.
ADLIB: Let’s start with “how”. From your perspective, how does emotive design help spread the word about charitable causes?
Daniel: Neighbourly’s purpose is to help local charities and good causes. It was evident that big companies want to help these causes, but it was difficult and expensive for them. Much easier to write a big cheque, send it to a national charity and call it a day. So Neighbourly now makes it easy for businesses to help at a local level.
The word that has come up most whilst working at Neighbourly is ‘human’. At the core of everything we do, it comes back to people helping people (and sometimes animals, but you get my point).
I could tell you that £8 million pounds have been pledged, 18 thousand days have been volunteered, or 17 million meals went into bellies rather than being thrown away, and you will probably raise an eyebrow, or make a vaguely impressed noise.
But if I tell you the story of a young mother who was considering suicide till her local food bank gave her hope that things were going to be ok – suddenly the true magnitude of what these organisations are achieving hits you.
UX is all about turning statistics and data into the voices of real people. Discovering how we can help those people. Whether that improves the experience of ordering a pizza or helping someone who is rough sleeping find a home.
It’s all about humanity.
ADLIB: What has been the key thing you’ve learned about working closely with charities and not-for-profits?
Daniel: It constantly surprises me just how much these causes do with so little. I’ll speak to a small charity cooking for vulnerable people and nothing will go to waste. Anything that can’t be eaten will be composted to help a community garden and help teach children about the environment. All of this will be done by a small team of volunteers who work harder than anyone I know.
Many people working in these small charities don’t have the time to be highly technology literate. Creating products that really help them needs LOTS of testing in the real world.
I’ve been speaking to people from a wide variety of good causes and they are all up against it, all the time. Every grant, scheme or initiative that is set up to make life easier actually creates more work for the charity. For example, I’ve seen 7-page applications for £500! One thing we’ve tried to focus on at Neighbourly is reducing that pressure and harnessing technology to help rather than hinder.
ADLIB: In your opinion, what is the most important factor to consider when designing for a charitable audience?
Daniel: Accessibility is a key concern when designing for this sector. There are lots of people with varying disabilities working hard to help others, and the great thing about good accessibility is it makes life better for everyone. Clear contrast and a well-labelled button will help someone with low vision as well as that person with 20/20 vision but in a tremendous rush.
And when talking to companies and individuals looking to give support, it’s really important to focus on the human aspect. Stories are so much more compelling than stats.
ADLIB: And finally, do you have one piece of wisdom for aspiring designers that would like to use their talents to design for good specifically?
Daniel: Get out of the office.
So often, I think ‘that’s an easy problem to solve’ then when I speak to real people, I quickly see that it is so much more complex than I could have imagined.
This isn’t to say these problems can’t be solved. This sector is bursting with opportunity to apply technology to change the world for the better. If you can create something that is accessible and actually reduces the time and effort to achieve something, you will have something that will make a big difference.
Or, simply put, don’t forget you are designing for humans.
As part of our Design For Good initiative, we hope to make a real impact. If ‘designing for good’ is also something you are involved in please do get in touch – we’d love to chat through how we could work together and lead by example.