Friday, 23 September 2022
Friday, 5 August 2022
Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Helmond, Groningen, Rotterdam, The Hague, Ultrecht in the Netherlands
Thursday, 14 July 2022
Market season have started and we shall be enjoying at least 3 more months of good weather this summer to hold open-air markets. The question we are often asked is: 'How do I become an eco-vendor?'.
In this blog post, we are sharing 8 tips for artisans and small business owners to help them embrace sustainability and by taking on at least some of these tips, they will automatically become eligible to participate at our Eco Markets.
We do not seek vendors who are perfectly sustainable. We believe in effort, good will, dedication and commitment - and work with vendors who are willing to do that something extra, that something different, in order to safeguard the planet. Whichever of these tips you decide to adopt for your business, it is important to maintain your core values and ethics throughout your entire business. For instance, it would be dysfunctional to minimize the packaging, while at the same time offering a product stained with human or natural exploitation. Sustainable business owners don't look for profit only; they look for a profit with purpose.
The road to sustainability is a different journey defined by each business. It depends on how the business owner sees sustainability, what s/he wants to achieve, and what will guide him/her towards those goals. The issues that you pick should have a significant economic, social, and environmental impact. For example, conservation of water may be material to a company like Coca-Cola, but not for Google, which may focus more on clean and efficient energy solutions.
Let's have a look at the proposed tips
1. Sourcing Materials
When you source locally you cut down on fuel emissions and pollution generated by transportation, usually across continents. A locally-sourced product has a much smaller carbon footprint. Small businesses depend on their local communities to survive and your support will also make it easier for you to build a lasting, trustworthy partnership with your suppliers when you can meet them face-toface. Sourcing locally will also boost your brand and sales because research shows that people are willing to pay a bit more for a product that provides value to the local community and the planet. Moreover, a locally sourced and produced product fosters national pride.
Set up a policy where you clearly explain your supply chain values and morals. Then research for suppliers that match the same ethical guidelines. Establish a trust relationship with your suppliers and keep track of their work and their progress.
The most sustainable kind of packaging to use is corrugated cardboard. They have exceptional reusability and can be 100% recycled. Paper packaging is recyclable and can also be compostable. All kinds of single-use plastic should be banned. It is one of the main culprits of pollution, and harms the environment before being manufactured and long after its short-lived life. Styrofoam (jablo) is also to be avoided. Plastic is acceptable only when it strong, durable, and can be reused an unlimited number of times.
Several options are still in their early days, like mushroom packaging, seaweed packaging, peanut packaging that dissolves with water, and bioplastics, made from various renewable plants such as cornstarch and straw. These eco-packaging alternatives are becoming more and more in demand and soon will be globally available and accessible.
3. Shipping & delivery
After you have established environmentally-friendly packaging options, it is time to educate your consumers on how to recycle, or how they can re-use your packaging. A small note on the packaging illustrating how to dispose of it or some creative repurposing ideas will have a great impact on the consumer experience. Also, you need to ensure that your packaging is no bigger than it needs to be to hold your product and without any superfluous layers. It could be tempting to beautify your packaging and make it look more attractive, however, your ecoconscious consumers will certainly appreciate the simplicity and eco-features of your packaging.
To cushion and protect your products, especially for fragile items, avoid bubble wrap unless it is being re-used. Some alternatives include shredded paper from newspapers and magazines, or be creative and use fabric from unwanted pieces of clothes.
4. Go 'Green'
Whether you work from home, or in an office, there are several ways to 'green' your own working space, which you can start doing already today, such as: convert to LEDs, turn off lights and unplug all electronics at the end of the day, reduce on printing, use both sides of the paper, recycle properly, and include a green reminder in your email signature; these can make a big difference on the environment and your pocket in the long run.
If you want and can take it a step further, you can opt for a small solar panel to fuel your working space, sort out your trash more carefully, buy a re-usable notepad, opt for online meetings instead of in-person, or at least car-pool or cycle to meetings, and choose eco-friendly office products, from your coffee to your printer. Don't forget to add a plant or two. Plants do more than just make the place look pretty; they absorb air pollution, help reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost creativity.
5. Waste reduction
By establishing environmentally friendly packaging protocols, and taking a number of easy steps towards greening your working space, you are already contributing to the decrease of waste. You can also start choosing your electronic equipment carefully by researching for brands that hold up to your same environmental standards and values. Choose companies who incentivize their clients to return their old electronic when buying a new one, for example. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. The majority of these end up in landfills but many of the materials can be recovered, reused, and recycled. Disposing of electronic equipment responsibly not only reduces environmental impact but also creates green jobs and empowers the social economy.
Watch out for Waste Reduction Week in October for ideas and opportunities.
6. Raise the life-cycle
When we throw away something, it still needs to go somewhere. As a sustainable business, you need to consider how you can increase and elevate your product's life cycle and delay it's throwing 'away' for as long as possible. This will largely depend on your industry, however, and will involve decisions on your manufacturing process and price strategy. For instance, certain materials are more durable than others but may be more expensive.
Other ideas you can examine include a return and refill scheme where customers can return the original container and re-fill it again; or a return and discount scheme, where customers can return the original packaging or part, and purchase a new one at a reduced price. Alternatively, you can use your influential power to give ideas to your customers on how they can re-purpose and re-use without resorting to landfills.
7. Get verified
Certification provides a guarantee that a product is truly ecological as it claims and is regularly controlled. To provide an element of trust to the customer, certification can only be issued by an independent body. There are several verifications bodies in Europe, specializing in different sectors, however, the most popular ones are Ecolabel and B Corp.
The advantages of eco-verification include a cutting-edge advantage in respect to your competitors, customer loyalty, community recognition, a trust-worthy and good reputation, economic benefits arising from your thoughtful initiatives, and the confidence that your business is truly making a positive impact, Getting verified is not free but the annual fees vary according to the business's income. There is also the B Impact Assessment, a free online platform that evaluates your business and helps you get started.
As an eco-friendly small business owner, you should be proud of showing your commitment to being socially responsible and doing your part to protect the environment, so make sure your customers know it. Incorporate your green efforts into your marketing strategy. You may want to ask for more 'green' ideas directly from your customers; their insight will certainly be extremely valuable to you. Communicate sustainability at every opportunity to ingrain it into people's minds and in your subconscious. If you are implementing a significant new eco-innovation in your business, you might want to reconsider re-branding in order to re-align your image with your new purpose.
Before you start marketing your green biz, make sure you are practising what you preach. or chances are that more sooner than later, you'll be exposed for greenwashing and cause irreparable damage to your business.
Eco Market will be hosting a Midsummer's Night Market at the most anticipated, family-friendly summer festival - The Farsons Beer Fest - at Ta' Qali. We will be showcasing some of Malta's top eco-friendly brands and products, in a beautiful area under the shade of this cluster of trees.
Friday, 10 June 2022
In plain words, Ecotourism is a form of travelling that is sustainable and organised with respect to the surrounding environment and the well-being of the local people. Its purpose is to benefit the economic development of a local community and to foster cultural and human rights. In its essence, Ecotourism stands for a travel experience to a destination that is relatively untouched by humans, to focus on educating the traveller with an eye to ecological conservation.
Today, Ecotourism is a term used to describe socially responsible travelling. The popularity of Ecotourism is fueled by greater public awareness of the negative impacts of tourism be it on the destination or natural environment.
As the entire world is focusing to find alternative sustainable means of energy, transporation, and production; so is the sector of tourism moving towards a new 'green' era. More and more tourism destinations and operators are adopting ecological best practices and many tourists are becoming aware of their ecological impact when they visit natural areas.
We've outlined a few ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint while travelling and make your holiday greener. Green travel is about making smart choices and keeping the environment in mind at each twist and turn. First and foremost, plan in advance. The more time you spend planning and researching options the better the chances of enjoying a smooth, sustainable empowering holiday.
Travelling by plane
Air travel is not sustainable, and even though we can never tell what type of scientific and technological breakthroughs there will be in the future, sustainable air travel is not projected to become eco-friendly anywhere in the forseeable future. The only way that we can make travelling by plane more responsibly, is to choose short routes. Exotic, faraway loctions are a thrill however choosing a destination closer to home is much kinder to the planet. Alternatively, you can compensate for your flight's CO2 on an online carbon offsetting site or app.
Travelling by boat
Cruise liners are not eco-friendly at all. They dump toxic waste into the ocean, run on giant diesel engines that fill the planet with carbon dioxide and kill marine wildlife. However, today many cruise line companies are incorporating green technologies into newly built ships, inclusive of solar panels, a cooking oil conversion system and energy-efficient appliances. Many liners are also removing single use plastic, recycle more effectively and donate unwanted furniture and linen to charities instead of being sent to landfills. The cruise liner industry is getting greener. Choose one of the cruise liner companies who are implementing sustainable practices. For instance, Carnival ships plug into electrical power when docked, eliminating noise and air pollution while idle; while Costa launched a new ship that runs on LNG, utilizing the world's cleanest-known fossil fuel.
Travelling by train
Trains are the ultimate environmentally-friendly mode of tranport. They allow you to travel long distances in a relatively short amount of time. They can carry large volumes of passengers which makes them far more sustainable than other modes of transport. Travelling by train is easy, comfortable, picturesque, with fewer chances of delays; you can read, sleep and eat or do whatever you want!
Food and packaging waste accounts for as much as half of what is thrown away in a day, especially when you are far from home. There are some easy ways for you to reduce your packaging whilst travelling; such as: keep reusable bags and containers and don't be shy to say no to more bags when shopping; choose zero-waste toiletries; go paperless.
Sustainable tourism is kind tourism. The concept of fairtrade ensures that preference is given to locally sourced products and the workers get fair compensation in good conditions. In tourism, fairtrade ensures that the benefits and income are rightly distributed amongst the local people who are involved in that product or service. How to support fair trade as a traveller? Be mindful and make conscious shopping choices by avoiding mass-produced products and instead favour local artisans and certified Fairtrade stores.
An eco-friendly accommodation refers to a place that is built or operated in such a way as to minimize both the carbon footprint of the business operation as well as the carbon footprint of those who work and stay there. You might have heard of Eco Hotels or Eco Resorts. But what does that really mean? It means that the administration is taking measures that may include reducing energy and water consumption, aiming for zero waste generation, handle the waste in the proper way, and using environmentally-sound products.
Live the local experience
Homestays, local guides and programs that give back to the community are an excellent way to enjoy your destination with purpose. Check out ecobnb for a network of sustainable accommodation, where you can see in real time the number of CO2 avoided every day, the number of trees and liters of water saved every day.
Need inspiration of where to go this summer? Check out these top 10 eco-friendly cities and countries in the world!
Top 10 most eco-friendly cities in the world
* Copenhagen, Denmark
* Amsterdam, Netherlands
* Stockholm, Sweden
* Berlin, Germany
* Portland, Oregon
* San Francisco, California
* Cape Town, South Africa
* Helsinki, Finland
* Vancouver, Canada
* Reykjavik, Iceland
Top 10 most eco-friendly countries in the world
* United Kingdom
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