Good-Edi Newsletter May 2023
Hello from Good-Edi HQ!
We’re back with our next newsletter, keeping you in the loop on all things Good-Edi.
We’ll start off with an update from our founders:
“The 22nd of April marked a significant day – Earth Day. We had the opportunity to celebrate not only this day, but the full Earth Week with some of our amazing partners around Australia. Just to name a few - WeWork, The Commons, DSmile, and Optus. We are so happy to see how many awesome companies have such a strong focus on sustainability. Next month marks Good-Edi’s 2nd birthday – so watch this space for some exciting news.”
Cheers, Cat & Aniyo - Good-Edi Founders
What does it mean to develop a truly sustainable product?
Many products claim to be sustainable these days, but what should you consider before developing or buying something that claims to be environmentally friendly or sustainable? In this article, we’re looking at the whole value chain which is key to this question.
First up, what does a value chain include? According to our friends at the University of Cambridge, it covers the whole lifecycle of a product, right the way from the materials that make up the item to the end of its life. It encapsulates activities, resources and stakeholders within each stage.
There’s no denying this is a lot to consider when you’re looking at making or buying something truly sustainable. Each piece of the puzzle must meet your core values. However, it’s also an important step to take for a sustainable future.
To help you along the way, here’s the stages laid out with some recommendations on what to look for within them.
Ingredients or materials
The ingredients or materials used play a big part in the value chain of a product. If you’re developing a product, you must consider what the best materials will be, how you can source them and how they need to be processed. Depending on the product you’re creating, you may place more emphasis on longevity provided by the materials or on whether you can source them locally.
For our Good-Edi cups, we decided we wanted good quality grains from Australia to keep it local. We looked into different vendors agricultural and processing methods to ensure they aligned with our emphasis on a sustainable future.
Once you have your ingredients or materials, you need to consider how you’ll manufacture your product. This includes any machinery you may need and your overall energy consumption during the process. Your carbon footprint can really stack up at this stage as heating and cooling are big energy guzzlers and are often essential to a manufacturing process.
The easiest way to reduce your greenhouse gas output is ensuring you’re with a green energy provider. Switching is easy so you just need to find the best company that services your area. You could also install solar panels yourself, reducing the infrastructure used to get electricity to you. It’s best to use electricity as your energy source rather than natural gas. Electricity can be 100% renewable whereas gas is a fossil fuel by nature. Therefore, gas is detrimental to both the environment and our health.
Another step you can take is reducing your energy usage in the first place, which is easier said than done when it comes to manufacturing a product. Consider whether you can power down your machines completely during non-working hours, rather than leaving anything on standby. When you need to replace machinery, you could look at newer models that will likely run from less power.
Packaging and postage
Now your product is made, it’s time to look at how you’ll get it to customers. Today, everything comes in some sort of packaging, especially if it’s edible. This is a valid necessity for hygiene reasons but still another hurdle to overcome when considering the sustainability of the value chain of your product.
You may choose something recyclable, like paper or cardboard, or biodegradable, such as some plastics. An important consideration is ensuring the packaging gets the item to customers in one piece. It wouldn’t be sustainable to have to send replacements!
Who you send it through is also a piece of the puzzle. There are now carbon neutral options in Australia such as Sendle and AusPost now offering options. This is a good step to take to reduce your carbon footprint, especially given the size of Australia.
What about how your product will be used? It’s all very well and good developing something that uses sustainable materials and a supply chain but if it cannot be used in a sustainable way it defeats the objective of the whole process.
For instance, our edible coffee cups were developed to solve the issue of disposable cups creating plastic pollution. The world over won’t stop drinking takeaway coffee so we wanted to fill a gap in the value chain of this market. On the other hand, if a product is developed that doesn’t meet such a need and is fanning consumerism, is it truly sustainable?
Finally, how will whatever you’ve made be disposed of. As we discussed in our previous article, there are ways the final piece can claim to be environmentally friendly in the way it is disposed of at the end of its life. These range from being recyclable to biodegradable to edible.
Depending on the product, you may have to choose one over the other, or none of them! The materials you use might be sturdy in order to ensure longevity but inhibit the ability to recycle the item it at the end of its life.
Ultimately, how sustainable the value chain of a product is will have many influences. In conclusion, it is important to consider all the materials that make up the final product as well as the full value chain from sourcing of raw materials & creation of the product through to end of life. Our final tip to make sustainable choices when buying, consuming or making a product - is think local! Choose locally sourced products which are as close as possible to their original form.
Blog post by Genevieve Ladd for Good-Edi.