11th May 2022
On this year’s Earth Day we talked about how we have decided to invest more of our time in asking those who have the biggest influence and impact to do more for our planet and the life upon it. We do this already in a more organic way but I want it to be more effective, build it into the structure of our day and have a focus.
The two main areas where we have chosen to concentrate our efforts are clean energy (for obvious reasons) and nature because we know by now that when we care for nature, nature cares for us.
The first campaign we are supporting is Nature for Everyone, brought to our attention by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. #NatureforEveryone is about equal access to green spaces near to people’s homes. There is a huge disparity between who can and cannot easily benefit from the positive impact that natural environments have on our wellbeing and we agree with the Wildlife Trusts and 60+ other organisations that this needs to change. Many studies have shown that living close to nature and even views of nature from a window can support our physical and mental health, it can reduce crime and conflict in neighbourhoods and help children to learn. Everyone should have a legal right to nature and whilst the government are talking about their ‘Levelling Up’ plans and will be implementing new laws this is a great time to tell them that easy access to nature is vital for good quality of life.
So as a start to support this campaign we have:
We will continue to follow and support this campaign as it progresses. Would you consider supporting it too?
16th Feb 2022
What do you consider to be the essential qualities of an ethical business?
In the ethical business world we often highlight practices such as waste reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, supply chains, cruelty-free, organic, Fairtrade and so on as marks of responsible ways of working. But what about customer care? Surely showing care for your customers is one of the most ethical things you can do as a business?
A couple of years ago I experienced uncaring customer service from a well-respected, large ‘ethical’ company. We had specifically chosen this company for their ethical track record, for the efforts they were making to raise standards in their industry and for the benefit of the planet. We were proud to say we were their customers. We had stayed with them for many years even though their service was a significantly higher price than others. However, when an issue arose (two mistakes made by them that were costly and stressful to us) and they demonstrated that money was more important to them than providing a caring service, we could no longer stay.
It is vital that we acknowledge we are all human and can make mistakes. But even more important is it to understand that human compassion is needed when your mistake may have caused someone else an inconvenience at best and at worse distress. This was why, despite how much I had previously appreciated the provider mentioned above, I couldn’t keep our custom with them. They just did not show any compassion for the problems they had caused after the mistakes they had made. That lack of care is not ethical.
Despite the fact that we talk about our service being powered by renewable energy an awful lot, we know that green credentials aren’t our clients’ only concern. To be treated with care and consideration are just as important. We are all people, not simply an account or the sum of money we pay.
We receive lots of lovely feedback from our clients about how reassuring our service has been, especially when transferring their website to us. So we have added a new ‘Testimonials’ page to our website to show them all in one place. You can also see them in our ‘Happy Clients’ Instagram stories.
1st Nov 2021
COP26 is officially underway. Now is the time that we want to see world leaders make real commitments to reducing carbon emissions. Amongst other means, two proposed measures to achieve this are to accelerate the phase-out of coal and encourage investment in renewables.
There will need to be some bold pledges from those in power, and waiting for them to take action can leave us feeling a little powerless. However, as we know, every change can make a difference.
In our world of web design and website hosting, we know of a few ways that small changes to our online activities can collectively have a big, positive impact.
Here’s what we all can do:
Why should we do these things?
Despite the internet appearing to be an intangible thing, it is very much made up of physical resources and consumes huge amounts of energy, 24 hours a day. Read more about this in our previous articles...
27th Oct 2021
Next up in our Client Origin Stories is Corinne Thomas, Founder and MD of Ethical Sales. To me this story really demonstrates the realities of creating and running a new business and how success comes when there is both a real need for and love of what you do. Over to Corinne...
My Founder Story so far….
It felt like a big achievement to sign off Ethical Sales’s first annual accounts with my accountant this week and I have enjoyed taking some time out to reflect on where it all started….
Around two years ago, pre-covid, I was licking my wounds from a failed business venture. I spent a decent chunk of an inheritance launching and funding an online start up, an ecommerce platform of British beauty brands called ‘Rare Beauty’. Despite my best efforts, it did not go to plan and I was wondering what an earth to do next.
I cut my teeth in telesales at just 15 years old so I had a decent career in sales behind me. Having also launched a CSR consultancy in the past I decided to harness these core skills and explore the world of sales and marketing consulting. I won a few clients who liked what I did at Rare Beauty and also, out of curiosity, ran a survey all about sales for ethical businesses.
The results were startling and demonstrated the daily struggle that many ethical businesses face when trying to keep the wheels turning operationally and grow their customer base with sales activities.
The survey takers provided honest and open responses when asked about growing their sales, such as:
“Fear of rejection. Worry about not reaching targets set.”
“When it works – elation! When it doesn’t – fear, disappointment, resilience.”
“Enthusiastic about the possibilities and opportunities. Lack of sales knowledge however makes me feel totally unequipped and daunted.”
Armed with this knowledge I decided to set out on an ethical sales mission. I wanted to harness my skills and experience, to take the sting out of sales for purpose-driven businesses so that they could focus on changing the world, one customer at a time.
Then….covid struck. I was all set to launch the business and the world stopped turning (or felt like it had). The consulting clients I did have and some sales agency work that was paying the bills all but dried up.
It would have been easy at this stage to throw in the towel and give up. After all, I’d done it once before! But this time, it felt different. I also had some encouraging conversations with trusted people who reassured me, and I quote: ‘this one is going to work Corinne, you need to register Ethical Sales as a proper business, and make a plan for future growth’. So I did.
Fast forward to now, post-covid and I am celebrating onboarding our 21st new client by adding to our little grove of trees. We plant trees in honour of our clients with Trees for Life, a rewilding charity in the Scottish Highlands.
My team has grown, and I have an amazing group of talented sales consultants who work with me to deliver strategic and targeted sales campaigns. We love representing our varied clients - from a zero emissions logistics firm to a sustainable fashion online startup and helping them to secure the right b2b sales partners. All our clients have one key thing in common, they are ethical businesses on a mission to change the world. And they need help with their b2b sales!
I’m really proud of our website, built on a shoestring initially, but it now has a whole range of free sales resources to help demystify sales for the ethical business community, from guides to prospecting on LinkedIn to how to make a confident sales call.
And finally, over the Summer, whilst I re-located my young family 550 miles away to live by the sea in the Scottish Highlands, I also launched a sister company with a longstanding business associate.
Ethical Pioneers is a strategic retail and sales growth service for ethical pioneering brands with sustainable values. We launched this month with some fantastic ethical brands and exciting plans for future growth.
If there is one thing I have learnt in the past two years, it is to recognise when business is going well, and trust in my instincts to allow it to flourish!
I am really excited to see what the future holds and honoured to be serving ethical businesses, from early stage startups to established market leaders by being their trusted b2b sales partner.
And I still love talking on the phone!
6th Oct 2021
Next up in our Client Origin Stories is the first charity of the series. We have been working with Haller for many years and it is so interesting to see how they are still developing and working with people in Kenya from these beginnings in the 1970s. Here's Zoe to tell the story. Over to you Zoe...
The Haller Foundation is a UK charity and Kenyan NGO which unleashes the power of people and nature to create thriving ecosystems and communities. We strive to ensure what we do is both sustainable and environmentally sound… and that includes our website which has been hosted by Green Hosting since it’s launch.
We take our name from Dr. Rene Haller - an award-winning Swiss environmentalist and UNEP Global 500 Laureate. Over the past 50 years Dr. Haller has been driven by a growing passion for resourcefulness; experimenting with nature to restore life to degraded landscapes.
It was in the 1970s that Dr. Haller developed an approach which has been the source of our inspiration. The Bamburi Cement Company in Mombasa wanted to repair the damage to the landscapes caused by quarrying and allowed him to access it’s acres of disused limestone quarries. It was a wasteland: abandoned and forgotten. But Dr. Haller believed he could bring life there again.
Through experimentation, science and years of careful observations of the ways in which plants and animals interact, he was able to transform the moonscaped surfaces of the quarried landscape into an abundant and diverse forest ecosystem. Within 20 years he had created a sanctuary for endangered species, and a resource for local communities. He was able to nourish the land through the introduction of “pioneer” plants, red-legged millipedes and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms.
Due to Dr. Haller’s regenerative work on the harsh landscape, the former limestone quarry became known as The Haller Park. Covering 7km2, it is now a flourishing hub of biodiversity, home to over 2 and a half million indigenous trees, wildlife, birds and insects - all of which play a key role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. But Haller’s vision wasn’t just for ecology, it was also for the local economy to grow, convinced that both could work in harmony. The Haller Park became financially and environmentally sustainable through the creation of 46 natural business streams from fish farming to agroforestry. This in turn, provided livelihoods, supported its regeneration and improved biodiversity.
The park is now recognised by the Eden Project as one of the ten most effective environmental restoration projects in the world. It stands as a beautiful nature reserve, but serves as an enduring reminder of the importance of safeguarding biodiversity for the success and sustainability of our ecosystems.
Dr. Haller’s restoration projects didn’t stop with The Haller Park. Throughout his lifetime, he took the lessons that he had learned and adapted his methodology to continue rehabilitating other degraded landscapes in the Mombasa region. The Nguuni Nature Sanctuary was formerly a Jurassic shale quarry and today it is a one square kilometer ecological haven - a combination of savannah grasslands, wetlands, acacia and palm trees, making it a perfect sanctuary for African wildlife. The sanctuary is bordered with urban settlements and yet provides the green lungs of Mombasa demonstrating how people and nature can co-exist in harmony. Both tourists and local residents frequently visit Nguuni for the opportunity to see an exotic array of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats.
It was Dr. Haller’s model for sustainable living and the balance between ecology and economy that captured the attention of Julia Hailes and Louise Piper who had visited him in Kenya previously. Founding Trustee, Louise Piper said, “We were inspired by what we saw and wanted a vehicle to scale the impact of the methods he used. We wanted to raise awareness of the potential to repair damaged environments and to work with the local communities to help them benefit”. They believed that Dr. Haller’s work could become a blueprint for restoring badly eroded soils across the region. Together they co-founded The Haller Foundation in 2004 which aims to build on the lessons learned in the rehabilitation of degraded landscapes, and use his ecological approach to help the millions of smallholder farmers living on depleted soils.
Over the last 17 years Haller has worked with over 50 communities to enable them to restore their soils, green their landscapes and to make a viable livelihood from farming.