20 years of sustainable business – Pablo Kraus, Managing Director, ecostore

20 years of sustainable business – Pablo Kraus, Managing Director, ecostore

I was talking about sustainability
with one of my staff members and his name’s Tony. He’s our longest standing
staff member and he told me about 20 years ago, he was talking about
climate change with his wife and they were having dinner parties and and
people thought he was absolutely crazy they thought they were heretics. Now people actually understand that there is a problem My family’s been involved in ecostore
for over 15 years now and my father tells me a story about when he was
younger and his mother was a school cleaner, she would come home stinking of
chemicals and he said that he walked out of the supermarket down the road and
walked into eco store and he said where have these products been, these products that are
safer for the environment but also safer for people. I have always sort of grown up
on sustainability and I think particularly in the last
six or seven years I’ve got two young children of my own and you know
leading by example is really important to me About eight years ago I was working as a web developer in making
websites and touchscreen applications and I was somewhat shoulder tapped by
my father to come back and work in the business and I became a director of ecostore. Two and a half years ago the role came up to be CEO of ecostore and initially I was a bit nervous to step in but after six months I was
convinced to take it on Well what’s happened in the last 20
years is people have found out about sustainability people have found that
it’s really important now, the awareness is coming out there and people
are talking about it, people are starting to make changes both companies and
government and consumers. The next 20 years is all about action, we’ve got
these goals in place now let’s smash them out of the water. It’s about the doing now and actually really getting on and I’m an optimist so I
think we can really get there It’s created that community, created
that place for people and businesses to come together to be able to talk and
share and also help help each other. It’s about doing things collectively and
starting to push real change, together. Any business trying to be sustainable on
their own can only do so much and if we’re not sharing some of the things
that we’re able to do, then we’re not going to able to get the traction and hit some of the goals that we want to achieve It was our opportunity to actually put a
line in the sand and join a number of other companies together and like I
said it’s all about action in the next 20 years and if we don’t put any goals
down we’re not going to have anything to get to and we’re going to continue to
dawdle. About five years ago we converted all of
our packaging into using sugar plastic and a lot of people don’t know this,
sugar plastic is not using a nasty petrochemical plastic, it’s not using an
unsustainable resource and it did come at almost twice the cost
as a regular petrochemical. Sugar plastic also captures carbon from the atmosphere
so we’ve actually managed to capture over four-and-a-half thousand ton of
carbon being released into the atmosphere by switching all about
packaging into sugar plastic we went into a new distribution centre last year
and also upgraded all of our forklifts at the same time to be using electric
forklifts which is quite nice even walking around the factory not hearing
much so you have to be very wary hope that they’re tooting the horn at least. I find plastic is a really difficult
conversation to have sometimes because not all plastic is bad and it does have
a purpose particularly hospital uses. What
we need to start looking at is how we can actually close that loop in whether
it’s recycling, reusing our plastic because is one way to do things but
reducing, it being conscious, using different products, using plastic
products that don’t need plastic in the first place and I think that’s where
we’re going to start to see more innovation is how do we actually
redesign our products to not start with plastic, or how do we redesign it
so that the plastic is not necessarily single-use but you actually need to at
least reuse it once to start making headway because then you’re going to
start using it three times full-time so but if we sit here and try to be perfect
then we’re just going to continue to act in the way that we’re still behaving
because we haven’t made progress. One of the ways that we’re helping during
Plastic Free July is actually really encouraging people to use our
refill stations and we’ve got over 60 refill stations around the country now
and we’re also very excited to last month launch the first one ever to go
into a supermarket which has been an absolutely resounding success so we’re
really looking forward to rolling out more refill stations and starting to
actually just change the way that we consume products because changing
consumers behavior is one of the hardest things to do

1 Comment

  • Carolyn Cox says:

    Great to hear Ecostore is part of the Climate Leaders Coalition – we've been enjoying Ecostore products and refill stations for many years!

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