Working and Living by My Values
Technical Nature’s Social, Ethical, Environmental and Wellbeing Considerations
As a small business, at TechnicalNature, I strive to create positive impact and minimise & prevent any environmental or social impact that may be associated with my own projects and those that I work with.
Ultimately aiming to align and continually evolve how I work, with the are of my focus, creating environmental improvement, regeneration, social justice and positive impact with creativity, care and kindness.
“Walking the talk”
As a business in the current economy, putting sustainability and wellbeing first, for yourself, others and a flourishing planet, is often, not on the face of it, the easiest (that’s because the current system has not yet got it at its heart). However, I want to share some of the choices and decisions I take behind the scenes on these.
It’s a process of continually learning, reflecting and doing.
SOCIAL CIRCULAR CONSIDERATIONS
Equipment / Materials
- When choosing materials or equipment I research and consider their environmental and social standings. Using online resources such as Ethical Consumer.
- Explore sustainable options on the market and the effectiveness of these.
- Support local and sustainability focused businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations. Such as, my daily Planner is from Ponderlilly and stationary and pens from Vent for Change
- Subscribe to ethical and sustainable news such as positive news or permaculture magazine
- Look for appliances and electronics with an energy label and ecodesign consideration, making sure it’s a good one.
- Other labels that may guide preference are certified FairTrade, FSC, recycled content and/or plastic free (if suitable alternatives exist).
- Think and look for quality and durability, ability to repair and maintain (fixed my own laptop with a new battery and use a refurbished smartphone from Back Market or Music Magpie, my extra monitor was from an office that no longer needed it.)
- Look at 2nd hand, charity shop and reused items if of a suitable quality, for my own use directly or for running workshops.
- I minimise the need to print only when necessary and if so look to use recycled paper and shared facilities.
- I will strive to use reusable options wherever possible, carry my own coffee cup and flask and encourage others to as well. No need for straws unless a condition that requires it.
Travel & Accommodation, Meetings & Events
- I use public transport where possible and if time, money and distances allow, trains will take preference to flights. When flying I try to combine work trips and offset the carbon.
- If you’re not too far I’ll probably arrive on my bike (Avocado)
- When arranging face to face meetings, I will ensure that it is necessary and efficient. If not there is the option of video conferencing.
- When looking for venues for events of meetings to rent or share, I prefer to support local community, charity or other social enterprises organisations. Alongside this I explore the use of sharing platforms such as Echo
Food (Yum Yum)
- I admit I’m not a vegetarian, but actually don’t eat meat that often (maybe once a week and if so it better be good and local), I get many vegetables from a local organic Veg Shed ( I helped crowdfund) and also have started using ODDBOX that supplies fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste.
- If I organise or supply catering I strive to choose and support local organisations and those that supply, seasonal, local, vegetarian and vegan based options. You may even get some grown from my garden (although no promises).
- I also encourage making and sharing!
- Any food waste leftovers will either be shared to take home or donate to suitable redistribution network such as Olio or planzheroes.
- I will ensure that leftovers will be composted where possible.
- Frequently working from home I have a 100% renewable energy supplier Bulb, and have renovated the house to use a Air Source Heat Pump (we’ve also added loads more insultation to the roof and have cavity wall insulation). We use little gas, just for cooking, which is offset via bulb for that not procured green.
- Switching off electrical equipment, lights etc when not in use (and will remind others).
- Switch off lights, laptops, screens etc when not in use.
- Turn the heating down or have off, wear chunky jumpers and warm slippers.
- I offset via ecowebhosting. for my website (but need to move my website across and also streamline it (less big picture heavy). This is a handy tool to understand your Website Carbon.
- I use the search engine Ecosia that uses the income from search ads to plant trees.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift – unless I can’t find them…..or we’re meeting at the top of the shard.
- I’m looking to detail my energy footprint further using tools such as those from the carbon trust.
Waste & Resources
- All resources and materials used will be carefully assessed by TechnicalNature, as to need and will be considered for their design, usage and lifecycle, alongside the best option for disposal, repair, reuse, recycling etc.
- I will consider and experiment with new and alternative sustainable business models such as rental, borrowing, subscription.
- Suitable resource streams will be found by TechnicalNature, such as Terracycle, for those items that can be reused, recycled or repaired while for any remaining waste we will explore ways to either eliminate the need in the first place.
- TechnicalNature may look to actively engage manufacturers, businesses in improving or redesigning products and services through my own work, campaigns or others.
Finance & Savings
- I use two of the higher ethical banks for my business and life, Nationwide and Triodos
- I’ve written to my pension provider and chosen their ethical/ sustainable funds – I also support the Make My Money Matter Campaign
Giving Time and Resources
- KIVA Micro Loans
- Offset Earth – Tree Planting
- Environmenstrual Ambassador
- Circular Economy Club Reading organiser
- Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society – communications support after initial fundraiser
- Various talks for IET and STEM/STEAM, Make UK, Ethical Reading, RSA on sustainable design and innovation
- Pituitary Foundation London Area Newsletter Editor
Happiness & Wellbeing
This is important, both feeling happy and in good health ourselves and ensuring that we can also support those that we work with. I aim for our projects and team working to be a happy and healthy experience.
The 5 Ways to Wellbeing
I’ve been inspired for a number of years by NEF’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing and look at how to build these into my daily life and the projects and programmes I work with.
- Take Notice
- Be Active
- Keep Learning
I encourage sharing tips and tricks for relaxing, clearing the mind as well as invigorating and motivating. For me a walk or a run does wonders, dancing concentrates another part of the mind alongside yoga, and sharing concerns openly and constructively can take a weight off your shoulders. Alongside this Action for Happiness, provide some great resources and monthly themed calendars to inspire, reflect and help take small actions to support yourself and others.
Working so much for the environment and about the environment, it’s important to get outdoors and enjoy beautiful nature, ensuring balance between time online and tech, with more physical activities and making. This is something that I’m actively looking at how to build in more fluidly into my work and life.
Aligning my work and values with the Sustainable Development Goals
Aim to explore my role as a small business, sole trader further in goals and frameworks such as Net Zero and BCorps.
Who I work with
I recognise that no-one is perfect (also that many other organisations are doing even more). I’m always open to ideas on ways to improve TechnicalNature’s environmental and social approach.
I judge my work collaborations case by case but will avoid work with organisations whose main activities involve the defence industry, environmental degradation or any known worker exploitation. I also encourage all members of the organisation to at least be paid a Living Wage and explore wage ratio limits.
Predominantly what is important in organisations and individuals is the openness, commitment and intent to learn, understand and improve!
Commitment to continually reflect, learn and evolve
I recognise the importance of continually reviewing, reflecting, learning and evolving my approach and considerations. Making space to read, question and in invest in self-development in areas that will support me in supporting and empowering others and the planet further. I aim to share some of the organisations, tool, books, podcasts that I use, learn from and am inspired by in the Resource pages.
Please contact me if you’re interested to review, audit your own social and environmental policies and approach.