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Our Journey to Sustainability


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Our Journey to Sustainability

To celebrate the past, we must protect the planet’s future.

We believe that statement wholeheartedly, which is why we’re on a journey to do more for the environment. There is a lot we already do, but we know it’s definitely not enough and we’re committed to continuing to learn, to change and to improve our practice as a retailer.

How We're Making a Difference...

We’ve started by making some simple changes. We’ve moved to eco friendly packaging and by that we mean, wherever possible we’ll send our products out to you in sustainably sourced and recyclable packaging. If we have spare boxes or bags in the museums, then you might even find we re-use these to send out your order. No matter what the packaging is, we want you to know that we’ve given it thought and that your items will always be packed carefully so they arrive in perfect condition.

Local Pick Up on a Range of Products

We’re also starting to roll out local pick up – with nine museums across Birmingham, if you’re local you might find one of our shops isn’t too far away to walk to. We’ve started by offering local pick up at Sarehole Mill and, as our other museums reopen, we’ll expand further. You’ll be able to clearly see which products are available for local collection when you get to the check out. 

We care about the environment and we want to work with creatives, makers and companies that share those values. Emma, our Retail Operations Manager, is currently hard at work reviewing lots of information sent in to us by our partners and suppliers. This work will help us to be sure that everyone involved in making our products is working together to protect the planet. Often we choose to work with local people and local businesses – you can get to know some of these wonderful people through our local makers profiles. We are passionate about supporting local businesses for lots of reasons and you can expect to see much more of this from us in the future. 

Refurbishing with the Environment in Mind

We’re working to embed the importance of protecting the planet in everything we do as a retailer. Environmental sustainability was a key criteria for our recent project to refurbish one of our physical locations, the gift shop at Thinktank. It had been in need of some serious love after 20 years in action! For the build itself, all the board and wood materials we used were FSC certified. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry. Knowing that these materials are FSC certified means we can be confident that we haven’t harmed the world’s forests through this project.

We also really loved that the company we worked with on the shop refurbishment offset their carbon emissions through planting trees with charitable trust Moor Trees. We could talk loads more about this project and other environmentally sustainable changes we made, but perhaps that’s a blog of it’s own for another time…

Too Good To Go

Something else we’re conscious of is food waste, you’ll find tasty treats to buy in-store and online. We’ve recently partnered with Too Good To Go to reduce our waste levels. You’ll find Sarehole Mill listed on the Too Good To Go app, and we’re planning to add more of our physical locations in future. 

Finally, we want to make it easier for you to identify products where environmental sustainability has been given much more thought.

Look out for the icon below on items throughout the online shop. You’ll be able to find out more in each item’s description.

sustainable product icon

So, that’s a taster of where we are now. We hope you’ll join us on our journey to help protect the planet!

Alex Nicholson-Evans

Commercial Director

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