Are your products differentiated in any way to your competitors?
We have some products that other companies have not yet copied. Then there are other products (like clothing and bags) that are very broad, so we try to be competitive in price and overall quality. We find that there are competitors with similar products but these items are all imported. We have made a stand to support local produce which we hope will give us the competitive edge in months and years to follow.
What effect has your environmental business policies had on your business?
The effect has been positive. We recycle all our waste, which would have ended up in a landfill. We have found that this ‘recycle’ attitude has been adopted by employees (±70%) at their various households. There is a slight increase in operational costs when offsetting the power consumption.
What made you decide to go “green”?
When you learn that most of our products and lifestyles are built upon finite resources you realise that current habits must be changed or we are going to have no planet to live on. There is no ‘planet B'. Our landfills sites in Cape Town are near to capacity. We throw away an obscene amount recyclables each year, all of which can aid the millions that are living below the breadline. Our littering habits affect the eco-system around us, infecting crops, plantations, rivers and oceans.
What is your company’s environmental policy toward waste, energy and pollution?
Layman’s terms = recycle everything, wherever possible re-use packaging and paper, don’t waste anything, collect waste that can up-cycled into something new, educate those around you (eg. smokers throwing their buds on the floor) to take responsibility for their manner in which they live.
Do you think the corporate sector is doing enough in terms of sustainability?
No, there is still way too much focus on the price points. Corporates don’t yet realise that when their ‘spend’ is done locally that there is a positive ripple effect. This effect eventually feeds back into the Corporates. Money needs to stay within our country as much as possible before we spend overseas for imports.
What more do you think you could do improve your environmental sustainability?
We would like to plant more trees; set up of programs educating people on how to grow their own food; empower more people with jobs in creating eco products; we would like to educate children on what it means to live a ‘Green Life’.
Do your employees follow a sustainable lifestyle outside of work?
Not to my standards. There is a change (slight) but not enough. There is still the wrong mind set among the people of South Africa that recycling is not necessary, that polluting with litter is creating a job for someone. As long as these hurdles are there will not see the issue of waste become something of a solution.