We talk to Tyler Chaffo – global sustainability manager, Avery -Dennison. Avery Dennison doesn’t just talk sustainability. Their commitment to people and the planet fuels social compliance internally and is the foundation of a broad offering of responsible, ingenious solutions.
From labels made from recycled yarn to supporting emerging designers who use a diverse portfolio of sustainable branding elements, we help apparel and footwear brands meet consumer demand for ethical, green products. With high sustainability standards that exceed the industry norm, they are also committed to leveraging our reputation among retailers, manufacturers, and brands to accelerate performance intelligently while delivering positive economic, social, and environmental impact. With their RFID chips implanted in most everyday items, businesses can not only track and reduce on-hand inventory but also reduce waste. Listen and learn more in this episode.
This week we talk with the Sustainability Director of Avocado mattresses, Bri Decker. Avocado organic mattresses are handmade with only the finest naturally non-toxic and 100% certified organic materials from their own farms in sunny California. A Certified B Corporation, Avocado mattress was born when one of the founders Jeff D’Andrea couldn’t find a green mattress for his newborn baby. Their mission is to be the most respected source for organic mattresses and pillows at affordable prices — while maintaining environmentally conscious, ethical, and sustainable business practices — to help safeguard the health of people and the planet. Learn more about their journey in our next episode.
Woven Air – as muslin was known in the 1600s…the Portuguese legend said it was the fabric woven by mermaids. What makes a fabric muslin? The original muslin was produced solely from a cotton plant called, Phuti Karpas, which grew exclusively along the banks of a certain stretch of the Brahmaputra river. The extracted cotton was then hand-spun into an extraordinarily delicate yarn in villages near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Six yards of muslin cloth could be fitted into a matchbox, sixty yards would fit inside the shell of a coconut, a pound of this yarn could be stretched for 250 miles.
The finished cloth woven on looms that have barely changed over the centuries was sought after by royalty and traded globally across the Middle East and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, earning enormous revenue for those involved in its trade. Tragically, the industry was deliberately and cruelly erased by past colonial rulers, especially the East India Company and replaced with their machine-made fabrics in the 19th century.
As a result the plant, along with muslin’s spinners and weavers, receded into the pages of history. Today, the best examples of the finished product are in the custody of Western museums and viewed mostly by Western audiences.
We talk to Saiful Islam, Managing Director of Bengal Muslin, that has identified the DNA from the fossilized plants to revive and grow the plant again. He talks to us about the challenges that Bengal Muslin faced to find, train and motivate the traditional generational spinners – who still had the collective memory of the fabric to weave 400 count Dhaka muslin. Listen to this passionate Saiful Islam only on Mindful Businesses. Saiful’s picture was taken through muslin for the cover for this episode.
The Farmlink Project was started at the height of the pandemic in April 2020 to fight food insecurity by repurposing surplus produce. Back home in Los Angeles at the start of the pandemic, with nothing but time on their hands, Aidan Reilly and James Kanoff were like many of us disturbed by the long lines at the food pantries alongside farmers throwing away their produce, eggs, milk … and their harvest. The boon of an efficient supply chain in the food industry can be a major problem with any slight disruption. The Farmlink Project, a non-profit run by 200 plus volunteers, operates in 48 US states and Mexico bringing the excess produce of farmers to food banks. They are the recipient of the 2021 Congressional Medal of Honor – Citizen Honors Award – awarded to outstanding Americans who have gone above and beyond to perform extraordinary acts of courage or service. Listen to their story of compassion, drive, and vision on Mindful Businesses podcast.
With a vision to shop plastic-free, Ella Shone (founder of TOPUP TRUCK) drives a milk float around Hackney, East London, refilling consumables that her customers pre-order. Ella and I chatted virtually over a cup of tea – she had her classic English Breakfast with oat milk and I had an African Rooibos. She recounts her journey with laughter and enthusiasm about founding TOPUP TRUCK – the refill store that floats to your door.
When she was furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic, Ella volunteered at the local food pantry. She found it very fulfilling as she biked around Hackney during the lockdown dropping meals to those who couldn’t come to the community kitchens to pick up their meals. With a head full of various business ideas, Ella came up with the idea of the TOPUP TRUCK. She wanted to reach out to the reluctant environmentalists and make it easier for them to shop plastic-free. She partnered with Re-Stor, a local refill store, and started TOPUP TRUCK.
Learn more about her journey right here on Mindful Businesses podcast.
When Manish Kothari, Managing Director of Rhino Machines and a second-generation entrepreneur involved in the casting and foundry industry in India, saw how dark, dusty and dangerous this industry was to the environment and the workers, he decided to do something about it. He is a social entrepreneur with a passion for innovation who decided to tackle the dust and sand waste that the foundry creates. He reached out to Shridhar Rao, a partner in the architect firm R + D studio to make a brick by combining the foundry dust with plastic to create the first Silica Plastic Block (SPB). The SPB tested 2.5 times stronger than regular brick and it was comparable in cost to the regular bricks in Indian metro cities. They have created a sustainable alternative to traditional brick.
Manish is adamant about not patenting his innovation and in fact, believes in assisting and sharing the know-how with other sustainable entrepreneurs. Learn more about these enterprising, creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs on Mindful Businesses podcast.
We talk to the energetic Karan Shah, director of Emoss, an Indo – Dutch company that is an independent supplier of fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Based on over 20 years of experience in the development and production of EV and HEV, Emoss not only offers complete electric powertrains for all your vehicles, but it also supplies high-end battery systems, fuel cells, range extenders, generators, power electronics, and control systems suitable for different industries.
Karan talks about how Emoss is working to shape the commercial EV landscape in India. Can such innovations be successful in a nascent market like India and what can legislations and governments do to assist the industry? Karan, Harvard Business School MBA 2016, reflects on how being amongst peers from varied backgrounds gave him a broader perspective and helped him become a better leader and entrepreneur. Listen more on Mindful Businesses podcast.
Whether designing for equity in education, accessible healthcare, inclusive communities, new scientiﬁc discoveries or the “next big idea” in business, Cannon Design leverages a full suite of end-to-end services to help organizations and the people and communities they serve to flourish.
Cannon Design does this through a design approach they created called Living-Centered Design. Living-Centered Design realizes that to create a world where people continuously flourish, we must address the complex interdependencies that exist between people, businesses, communities, society and the environment.
We talk with Eric Corey Freed, director of sustainability at Cannon Design, about how a well-designed building can not only have an environmental impact but also increase productivity. How can we achieve that? Listen to Eric on Mindful Businesses podcast.
Renee Dunn, Founder of Amazi Foods, studied abroad and did her thesis research in Uganda. While living there, she was blown away by their organic tropical fruits, bursting with flavors unlike back at home in the US. But stand after stand, people traded fruits raw or looked for cheap ways of processing or exporting. She had heard stories about cocoa farmers never saw a chocolate bar. Those at the heart of the resources were completely separate from the opportunity and innovation that existed in the global market —resulting in high unemployment and food waste. This sums up a lot about our supply chains as a whole.
Meanwhile, back at home, consumers look for products that serve a higher purpose. She realized there was a huge opportunity missed not only for local industry and job creation but also to satisfy a growing need for US consumers. Amazi Foods source directly from farmers and keep production in-country by partnering with Ugandan businesses. By creating over 150 jobs and paying 2-3x the local wages, paying farmers up to 67% above market price, prioritizing women and smallholder farmers, and committing to contribute over $13 million to the Ugandan economy over the next 4 years, they bring 100% made-in-Uganda products to the US markets. Listen now only on Mindful Businesses podcast.
Vending machines and sustainability seem to be diametrically opposite objectives, But Upmeals is bringing together these two objectives in its innovative. Drew Munro, a professional Vancouver-based caterer, and Ryan Angel, a Red Seal Chef and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. He saw a market need for an option that allowed businesses to provide healthy, ready-to-eat meals for their employees or customers, in a scalable, cost-effective way. UpMeals is a flexible alternative to costly traditional catering or meal delivery services. Freshly made meals are delivered weekly to each refrigerated vending machine that can be monitored remotely via an app to determine the popularity of menu items and reduce waste.