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Baby Birds embraces eco initiative Ecologi

Tue 09 Feb 2021 | 03:14 pm GMT
Jacqui Parr | Products of Change Writer

Molly Francis Coleman and her mum are proud of how far the business has come

Nursery retailer Baby Birds has marked its 28th year in business by signing up to Ecologi, the climate change initiative which allows individuals and businesses to offset their carbon emissions. Managing director Molly Francis Coleman tells us more. Can you tell us a little about Ecologi and how it works? “Ecologi is a fairly new initiative. It works on an individual and company basis, and aims to plant as many trees as possible to offset carbon emissions. We have started our own forest, and will be contributing regularly to hit our target of planting 3,000 trees by our 30th birthday. Others can donate towards our forest, or set up their own. By signing up, our team become a Climate Positive Workforce, which means all of their carbon emissions in both their private and professional life is offset, including emissions from their home, travel, food, hobbies, and business trips. The money we contribute will go towards reforestation and funding climate projects from around the world.” When did you decide to sign up and how much of a difference has it already made? “Our forest has only been active since 1 February and already has 136 trees and a 7.06T reduction of carbon emissions already. This is equivalent to five long-haul flights, 21 square-meters of sea ice saved, or 17,516 miles driven in a car. For every employee, 144 trees are planted per year, removing 14 tonnes of CO2. Not bad for our first 24 hours! Every month our forest will grow and this will make a real difference to the climate.” How important is the environment and the climate emergency to Baby Birds? Or is it something you are looking to focus on more in the future? “We have always been eco-conscious, but feel now is the time to shout about it. Our company legacy has to be something more than just a market presence. For an industry so focused on the future, with 385,000 new babies born every day, it’s important to look at the world we are leaving for them. Our sister company Roma has stock shipped from all over the world to our retailers, and Baby Birds buys from other brands based around the world. We’re a global industry, and one with quite high emissions! It’s not always easy to cut down on emissions as some are just unavoidable, but we can definitely work to offset them! In the future, we hope to set more sustainability goals to counteract our impact on the environment. I have had lots of messages from other retailers and brands alike, keen to support us or set up their own company forest! I’ve been so pleased with the reaction from the industry and hope it is a sign of things to come.” You also celebrated 28 years in business this week – how does that feel? “Old! It’s a bit of a giveaway for my age, as Mum set up Baby Birds when pregnant with me. Now my daughter is a year old and I don’t know how she managed it! I’m very proud of what we as a family have built in the last 28 years. We have a great team, have grown a lot in the last couple of years, and hope to continue to have a positive impact for many more years to come.” How is the rest of 2021 looking for you? Do you expect business to return to normal anytime soon? “We don’t expect to be open any time soon and to be honest that’s ok. The most important thing is that we’re all safe. We fully support the campaign for nursery stores to be listed as an essential business, but for the moment we’re keeping safe in our bubble and working on projects we may otherwise not have time for. Our new website is due to launch in a few weeks, which will enable us to support more initiatives like Ecologi and building our sustainability programme. Until we can reopen, we will continue to offer virtual appointments and a click and collect service for our local customers. It’s important to keep the focus on bricks and mortar stores, even though the world is changing! We need all the support when we can reopen, and hopefully will see a return to the high street.”
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