Going green is also good for business

October 6, 2011
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One of Lucy Tammam’s ethical creations for her bridal range at Tammam

One of Lucy Tammam’s ethical creations for her bridal range at Tammam

Which business owners may have less to repent at Yom Kippur? Maybe these four company bosses, who have found that going green and prioritising social responsibility is good for profits.

But it's possible to keep environmentally responsible at work, whatever your business. The Big Green Jewish website has a range of resources for firms looking to improve their social responsibility. Organisations like the Board of Deputies and UJIA are also helping communal bodies and synagogues to be more environmently sustainable.

Jonathan Simmons of Public Zone

The Barnet entrepreneur is managing director of a Euston-based digital technology consultancy, focused on helping "pro-social" organisations. It helps organisations like Diabetes UK and UN Habitat to use the internet, mobiles and databases to do their job better. Other clients include homeless charity Centrepoint, New Philanthropy Capital, which helps to evaluate youth services, and Action for Happiness, part of David Cameron's campaign to "evaluate happiness".

Public Zone has just finished creating the MyFarm website, a National Trust project where, Mr Simmons explains, "10,000 people get to run this farm in Cambridgeshire". The New North London Synagogue member is a trustee of new pro-Israel charity Yachad. His biggest Jewish client is the Maurice Wohl Foundation.

Lucy Tammam of Tammam

A Central St Martins graduate from Poole, Ms Tamman's company produces ethical bridal wear and couture gowns.

"My producers are in India and Nepal," she says. "I've been working really hard with Fairtrade tailors, giving them experience so they have couture training. Every part of the process is ethical."

She trains the tailors to make sure they are "just as good as a European tailor".

The Bloomsbury company currently produces around 20 dresses a year. "I use peace silks which means that the moth isn't killed, and I'm starting to use wild silks, which means no animal is held captive.

"I use organic Fairtrade cotton, which is vegan. My clients have different ethical needs and standpoints," she adds, "so what materials are used depends on them.

"We can do boning using recycled plastic and I often use vintage lace."

Galia Orme of Choc Chick

The Argentine-born businesswoman supplies raw chocolate-making kits to department stores including John Lewis and Whole Foods.

"We work directly with farming co-operatives in Ecuador and also only source organic and bio-dynamic cocoa," she says. "This means we are able to ensure that fair prices are paid directly to the cocoa farmers who work with farming methods that preserve their natural ecological environment."

Ms Orme visited Ecuador, where she saw the importance of sourcing products ethically. "I've seen wonderful organic plantations where cacao grows together with coffee, banana, mango and orange trees. It's beneficial for everyone involved and improves the taste."

She feels her business has tapped into concerns consumers have about where their food originates . "People want to feel good about the purchases they make."

Simon Cohen of Global Tolerance

When the theology graduate worked in sales for a publishing company, he felt "part of the problem". He now runs an interfaith communications agency. "I had 30 days notice and £300 to make it work," he recalls. "It was just after 9/11 and there was a lot of sensationalism about religion. I wanted to improve faith literacy in the media and help faith groups deal with the media."

Since setting up his agency, he has worked on projects for the Dalai Lama, the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"I saw that it was a really positive thing to do for humanity, but there was also a gap in the market. It was a good commercial opportunity and the company is thriving.

"We now have offices in London and New York. We've proved you can do well by doing good."

    Last updated: 10:11am, October 6 2011