Welcome to the very first edition of Green Stories. We’ll be looking at people who are making a difference in the environmental space, profiling their views and discussing their work.
First up is Vince Schutt, founder of Enviromentum. He’s a data geek and focuses on helping people adopt environmentally responsible behaviours through motivational interviews. This is the final part of his interview and we’re talking about the future. You can find the beginning of this series here.
Making a process truly circular
V: For something like clothing manufacturers, if you’re saying this is sustainably made, then take that opportunity to do the littlest amount of education to your client like on the tag of your jeans that says, when you’re done with these jeans, we’ll take them back and reclaim as much of the fibre as possible for a special recycled clothing product line that they have. So, customers can see, oh my jeans is going to turn into that thing once it’s done. And I might buy that now!
Showing people that there’s a supply chain and creating a value chain out of waste when they would otherwise be done with it would drive sales. Because it speaks to your values through and through. And you can’t do that if you haven’t done a design process that says we’re going to design it through and through and look at end of life and roll it into the next design process.
So, we need to build things not just out of recycled products but also so they can be recycled at end of life. That way it’s a given that there’s going to be recycling processes.
Buy less, buy durable
A: Any quick tips for greener consumption?
V: If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Some people in the business world might look at that and say that’s shrinking the pie and making it smaller. You’re not shrinking it, you’re baking your own pie based on your values! Then you could grab more of it and have a truly sustainable business model instead of one that says how are we going to do for the next 1 year?
Draw the people away and say, we don’t need you to buy our product every week or every month or whatever it is. We’re going to a made a durable product that you enjoy that you don’t need to buy all the time. And that’s our promise to you. What we ask for in return is that you come back to us and we will make sure that the quality and durability is there for you. Like Patagonia’s don’t buy this jacket campaign. Like backpacks, they fall apart all the time and I want one that’s not going to fall apart.
A: I had one backpack for the last 15 years now. I bought it from Wildcraft and I’ll probably go back when I need another.
V: So yeah, and you’re going to hope they haven’t lost their way. Buy less, buy durable, and cheap isn’t always bad and expensive isn’t always good. Look at the product and decide for yourself and really try to think critically about is this what I want and need?
Spending $1k for something does not mean it’s more durable. My wedding ring costs $15. I could have spent $1,500 for it. My ring is made out of tungsten. It’s one of the toughest hardest metals there is. Pretty much one of the only things that could scratch this is a diamond and since I’m not fighting with any married ladies, the ring should be pretty safe!
This thing is going to last my entire life. It will look the same way 60 years from now when I’m gone as it does now. It’s not going to need cleaning as it’s resistant to corrosion and it’s not going to stain my fingers, not going to need polishing. And all those things and it cost me $15. So I wasn’t driving another $1,485 up to DeBeers and driving incredible amounts of GHGs. I also reduced GHGS from driving to get it cleaned every year.
A: Well said! And thank you! What an incredible conversation we’ve had. It’s been great speaking with you, Vince.