As part of starting Porter & Gold I wanted to learn the language around sustainability, and what is real in terms of greener practices, and what ‘greenwashing’ actually is. Serendipity strikes! and I enrolled in a course on Organisational Sustainability with the West of England University, with the aim of learning more, and how I could explain to clients that working with us could offer real tangible opportunities to lower carbon output, at the same time as offering a beautiful and bespoke interior service. I am just over halfway through the course and I am really enjoying it. 
The other business owners taking part are totally different to Porter & Gold and that makes it even more interesting. As part of the course we had a site visit to Future Leap, https://futureleap.co.uk , a coworking and cafe space that also holds events, talks and markets as well as a shop with gorgeous gifts - all sustainable and local, or ethically sourced. The cafe uses fully recycled compostable packaging, and all the ingredients are sourced from local food suppliers. Future Leap’s building is heated with air source heat pumps, and the electric is on movement sensors and timers so the light is not wasted. The carpets are made from recycled plastics, and the furniture is second hand or locally made. One amazing rainbow coloured chair in the co-workers networking area is made from recycled crisp packets and then 3D printed into a piece of furniture. It really is a window into the future and shows so many ways to be sustainable in business. 
 
It was a brilliant tour of the building and business, with talks by Fenna Leake, the managing director of Future Leap, and Mira from Mojakids, a sustainable clothing brand for children. We also met with Tom Batten, head of consultancy at Future Leap , and he spoke about Future Leaps journey, and how they work with other businesses to advise on sustainability practices. Tom explained how to unpack ‘carbon jargon’, and the need for specificity on measuring outputs business to business, and I finally started to really understand how to verbalise how Porter & Gold can help property developers and owners on their own journeys towards being carbon neutral. An example he gave was of a hotel that has an open fire place in the reception area. The crackling open fire is the heart of the hotel and creates warmth and welcome for the guests. A generic sustainability report had suggested the hotel owner remove the fire to lower carbon, however that would have negatively affected the business; Tom Batten and Future Leap’ consultancy offers a human and business specific service and were able to offer other solutions to lowering carbon for the hotel that would not affect the guest experience in a negative way. 
 
We went into how to become a B- Corps recognised business, and how Future Leap are doing with their own audit. There is a free framework with a thorough form (on the B- Corps website https://bcorporation.uk ) for businesses to fill out and discover where they could make changes. We also learnt about EGD, a labelling system for products quite widely used in construction: EDG stands for Environmental Product Declaration. It lists the amount of carbon in products, and therefore offers a way to measure carbon. I asked him about how Porter & Gold could talk to our clients about how to measure outputs using vintage, pre-loved and antique pieces. His advice was to be transparent on our marketing, and with our clients about our methods at all stages, and about where we were on our journey to being sustainable. This will relate to our own business emissions, as well as when we are talking to clients about how our service can lower their emissions going forward. Using second hand options, vintage and antique pieces is by its very nature a green practice as the circular economy is all about reusing pieces that are already available, so no new materials or manufacturing are needed. For Porter & Gold, our main emissions are transport and computer use; To remedy this we are going to be looking for electric van couriers for moving our larger pieces, and will be buying local whenever possible. We also plan to offset our carbon from computer usage by planting trees for now. More and more business are turning with the tide and the growing requests from younger people for companies to provide their ESG (Environmental Social Governance) information, and also to reveal the details of their supply chains, means that the trend towards greener business practices is gaining momentum, and we at Porter & Gold are excited to be on this journey! 
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