October 19 2020
This is part of our ongoing series, Real Talk, where we feature real folks and real convos that are important, inspiring and true to us.
When it comes to sustainability, like much else, how much you are able to do is really contingent on how much money you can spend. It's sad, but true, especially at scale. The most sustainable medium to large sized brands that you love are able to invest in the right kinds of machinery, packaging, energy, and marketing material. You've probably even noticed a discrepancy as a shopper too— usually the sustainable product costs more than its less-sustainable counterpart, with few exceptions made for the really big CPG brands. It's one of those conditions of our current existence that just makes change or improvement even more difficult for those who care, but aren't extremely wealthy.
Goldune is a small business, and the brands we work with are mostly small businesses too, with a few exceptions. It can be hard for them to afford things like a biodegradable label for the products they package in a glass jar, or to pay 2-3x more for a biodegradable polybag, or to find a plant based wrapper to package a plant based tampon in. (Psst— one way you can be more sustainable is to shop small brands who have lofty goals of transitioning their manufacturing or packaging processes to be more sustainable. They need more capital and higher order quantities to do so, and every order helps! Consider it a vote for small business owners, for diversity in representation in business, and for the planet.)
We ran into this ourselves when printing marketing materials for our launch, out of post consumer recycled (and fully recyclable) paper with bio-inks— 100 pieces of our paper cost 4-5x the cost of 100 pieces of "regular" paper that a non-sustainable brand might use. It was never a question for us— we printed as many as we could afford to, and that was that. If something doesn't jive with our value system, or we can't afford what does, that's another obstacle we'll find our way around.
Scrappiness aside, we have dreams to grow bigger, which will mean many more tough decisions about how we can be as sustainable as possible. We started the business during the pandemic, which meant that a lot of normal business decisions (like warehousing or office space!) weren't relevant to us. (We've been working from home using a combination of grid and solar power.)
Here are a few of the goals we have for Goldune, near and far. They'll ebb and flow and change as our circumstance does, but we want to be transparent about them from day 1. Want to talk about them? Our door is always open at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goldune will be carbon negative
Carbon neutral is alright, and Goldune or Shopify offsets shipping emissions on all of our orders. (Fun fact-- every time you check out with ShopPay on a website, Shopify automatically offsets those emissions!) But it doesn't feel like enough for us to throw money at our emissions and call it even. We'd like to be carbon negative, even when we are operating an office and a warehouse at scale. That'll be, uh, a little tricky, but we'll keep you in the loop as we figure it out.
Goldune will support the work of folks who are making an impact in climate crisis related arenas
Whether it's financial, by offering incubator or scholarship programs, or with elbow grease, by volunteering as a team to organize and mobilize, we need to put our money where our mouth is. It's great to pick sustainable products when shopping, but we aren't kidding ourselves— shopping sustainably is never going to save the world. We want to use our platform to help those whose advocacy and research might.
Goldune will be a sustainable place to work
Hear us out, because we know what this sounds like— we aren't talking about an office compost bin, though, duh, of course we will be a sustainable workplace. We're talking about the lived experience of teammates, employees and partners who work with and for Goldune. This means a workplace that is equitable, intersectional and diverse in its policies and beliefs, and that actually follows through. This has started on Day 1 of our existence, and we'll carry it with us until we close Goldune's doors-- we don't believe you can effectively retrofit a business for values.
Goldune will raise the bar
We plan on working towards B Corp certifications and others like 1% For the Planet. Truthfully, right now we're a little young, and we'll need to operate as a business a little longer before we can start meaningfully giving back and demonstrating eligibility for these categorizations. That said, we want to be clear from the beginning— a stamp or a seal doesn't make something automatically good, equitable or sustainable. We'd so much rather have a conversation with you about what we do (and what we want to do!) than rely on an external mark of validation to serve as your cue that we're "good".