Our commitment to Sustainable Practice
We often talk to our clients about finding their ‘why’ when it comes to developing a brand. Understanding your why helps you to develop all aspects of your brand and service: from identifying your ideal customer, to the language that you use to communicate your message and all things in between.
At Sail we are passionate about social causes and community engagement – it’s most definitely our ‘why’ – and our beliefs underlie the work that we choose to take on as well as influencing our self-initiated projects.
Sail Creative’s founder, Mandy, decided that the beginning of a new year was the perfect time to develop a commitment to sustainable practice. This commitment will focus on three core elements: social, environmental and economic.
Sail Creative’s social commitment
Our biggest passion is working with people who share a similar interest in driving social change. Therefore, much of our work is done with third sector organisations, social enterprises or community initiatives.
We commit to developing training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged or hard to reach groups within our society, for example, via the charity, Crisis, or ex-offenders.
Lastly, we commit to sharing our knowledge through public talks and workshops, particularly for disadvantaged or hard to reach groups within society.
Sail Creative’s commitment to the local economy
Developing a strong local community starts with education on our own doorstep. We believe creativity in schools should be encouraged and we commit to seeking out opportunities to share our expertise and knowledge at local educational talks, guest lectures, employment training and workshops.
For example, the month of February saw us visiting Northumbria University to take part in an interactive presentation with some practical activity work afterwards, where we sat with a number of students to help them progress on their own branding.
We also commit to seeking out and championing the work of local subcontracting groups whenever we need to, so that we cultivate talent in our area.
Sail Creative’s commitment to the environment
Sail Creative make the commitment to using sustainable materials in our work and to make steps to reduce our carbon and waste.
As a lot of the work a design agency carries out is print based, we explore ways in which we can make this as environmentally friendly as we can, for example, suggesting print based campaigns use reusable materials such as tote bags. Whenever we work with a printer, we ensure that they are FSC certified and can demonstrate environmentally friendly practices.
Whenever we organise workshops that require refreshments we look to choose suppliers that promote sustainability, such as Honest and Gutsy, a vegan and vegetarian food catering service who do not use plastic when serving their produce.
Putting this into practice
With our core values outlined, the focus is on what this will look like as Sail Creative continues to grow. In there early stages of conception, here are just some of the ways we are thinking about putting our values into practice on a personal level:
- Dedicating project time each month to pro bono/campaign/issue/third sector work
- Commitment to self initiated projects to raise awareness of social issues. Past examples include the Words Bare exhibition – an exploration of LGBTQ people’s experiences in society – and a 2018 campaign will look at pro immigration
- Commiting 40 hours training in design and branding per year to schools/hard to reach groups etc
- A focus on female equality and the work of women in the creative industry.
The last point of female equality is something that Sail Creative founder, Mandy, feels very strongly about in particular, In 2017, Sail Creative attended Kerning the Gap mentorship scheme for women in the creative industry. “Kerning The Gap is a collective of like-minded people who want to see more women in design leadership roles, hear their voices and be inspired to create change.”
Her summary of the day-long workshop noted that investment in planning and professional development will provide creative leadership opportunities to all genders. Female leadership positions can be effectively encouraged by building and supporting female talent.
Working with clients that align with our commitment to sustainable practice
Alongside the personal commitments we’ve outlined above we also have to consider how these principles influence the kinds of brands and organisations we work with – apart from picking people who are passionate about what they do, of course!
Organisations such as: Curious Arts Festival
With these three principles underpinning all that we do, we’re concentrating our focus onto collaborating with brands and organisations that support similar ideals. Although we’re only just into February, Sail Creative have started 2018 as we mean to go on by firming up contracts of work with some really exciting clients.
We are hugely proud to be working on a brand and marketing campaign to celebrate 100 years of women gaining the right to vote. With International Women’s Day just around the corner in March and it being such a momentous year for the history of women in the UK, we couldn’t be more delighted to be involved.
The second upcoming project for 2018 is in the form of a billboard campaign to support young adult carers. Again, this organisation’s values and ambitions align with our own, and we can’t wait to get started.
Becoming a Design Business Association member
Sail Creative have been granted membership to the Design Business Association. With only 450 members nationwide of which 48% are London based, Sail Creative join a select group of Northern agencies, meeting the standards of excellence required. “The DBA is the design industry’s trade association, championing the power of design, promoting its strategic and economic value to business and government.”
Design Business Association members think about the bigger picture and know that they’re stronger together. They care about raising standards and improving the perception of their industry and recognise they have a part to play in achieving this change.
Joining an organisation such as the DBA will be the perfect opportunity to explore how other businesses similar to Sail Creative may be carrying out their own commitments to social equality and we hope to learn a lot from other inspirational practices.
Creating a sustainable future for your business and local community
By sharing our commitment to sustainable practice, we hope that we have inspired you to think about what core values underpin your business. Here are a few thoughts on how you could start the conversation about social and environmental change within your own workplace.
Think back to your ‘why’ and you will rediscover who it is that you are trying to help:
- How do you ease your customer’s pain and provide them with value?
Take this one step further and think about how your organisation affects the community within which you operate:
- Can you brainstorm ways that you can foster a positive impact on your local community?
Lastly, identify whether there are any membership organisations for businesses within your industry that share similar values to your own and consider signing up. We realise that our strength comes in numbers and the more people committed to cause, the more powerful it becomes.
By taking the time to consider the above questions, we believe that not only will you be planning for the positive growth of your business, you’ll be ensuring that your influence helps as many people as possible.
Over to you! We’d love to hear how you are prioritising social, environmental and economic issues and what you think about making a business-wide pledge to committing to your values.
If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog, drop us an email. Sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with our progress in our monthly newsletter.