Ten Ways Seed is Committed to Sustainability

ONE: Zero waste coffee

Here at Seed, we make sure sustainability doesn’t get in the way of our coffee addiction.

We’ve chosen to use Kua Coffee, a Sydney based, world-positive coffee company committed to changing Australia’s coffee culture. Their circular coffee model, which includes all their material inputs and resources, means we stay hooked on caffeine, guilt free. It’s a three step process at Kua: they source and harvest the coffee (you can read more about that source here), you purchase the coffee and sleep soundly at night knowing 100% of Kua’s profits go to mobilising their farmers in climate resilience, and then they collect and recycle the coffee grounds. Coffee done right: zerowaste, climate positive, community centred.

We’re also now officially a Green Caffeen drop off point. Over a billion disposable cups are thrown away each year in Australia, so we’re supporting our Space members to be part of the solution. Green Caffeen is a free reusable coffee cup system: scan, swap, drink, return. We host Green Caffeen cups in our kitchen for our members to borrow out, grab a coffee, and scan back in when they forget to bring their own reusable cup.

TWO: Waste streamlining

Streamlining your waste is an easy step towards sustainability, but can be a hard one to follow through on. We’re always in the process of improving our waste systems and raising awareness among our members about waste hierarchy choices. So far, we’ve streamlined our waste into four categories. We’ve got the three standard ecofriendly bins: soft plastics (did you know about the soft plastic RedCycle program available at your local supermarket?), recycling bins, and general waste.

But we’ve taken it one step further and partnered with Recyling Smart for those hard to recycle items: broken bulbs, toasters, batteries, alarm clocks, earbuds, citrus netting bags, laptop chargers, headphones and the lot.

We’ll also be introducing a worm farm and composting system to the Seed family, for our food waste.

If you’re a Space member, you can check out our article here on what to put in which bin.

THREE. Plastic free: Who gives a crap?

Well, Seed Space does. That’s why we wipe with Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. Not only are their loo rolls made from recycled paper (or bamboo fibres, which is more sustainable than tree fibres) and are totally plastic free, but Who Gives a Crap also donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets (toilets have saved more lives than other invention, and we’d like to help the 2 billion people who still don’t have access to a toilet). We can then recycle the boxes and paper packaging the rolls come in, and contribute to a circular economy.

On the topic of crapping, our Seed Space doggos can be sustainable too. We stock Oh Crap, one hundred percent compostable, corn starch (plastic free) poo bags which disintegrate in landfill within 3 months.

FOUR: Furniture

According to a Guardian article, research suggests that high-quality and scenic indoor environments help employees become more productive. Luckily at Seed, our plant-packed and light-filled workspaces do just that. But we’re not just a pretty space.

The beauty of Seed goes beyond aesthetics and into sustainability: our bespoke timber furniture is built from recycled timber, custom made by one of our founder’s friends who specialises in reclaimed timber carpentry. Not only is buying locally manufactured products supporting local businesses (especially during the pandemic), but it also cuts down on transport emissions required to get the furniture here. And let’s not forget that the furniture itself is given a second life. Next time you sit down to work, you get to wonder about the stories of the timber from before your desk was made for the Seed family.

FIVE. Zerowaste, plastic free cleaning

One of our space members, Nim, has founded All of the Good Things and we’ve been lucky to work with them to form better cleaning habits. Each day after members leave, we wipe down our benches with Hey Happy Human multipurpose spray using compostable sponge cloths (the cloths are fed to our worm farm).

You’ll fall in love with the reusable and refillable system: we bought one set of Hey Happy Human’s cleaning bottles, and it’s all we’ll ever need. Watch the magic as you fill the bottles with warm water, place a Happy Human fizzy tablet (packaged in a 100% compostable sachet) into the bottle, and wait for it to fully dissolve. We’ve also got Hey Happy Human antibacterial handwash in our bathrooms.

In our kitchens, we use ReCo Dishwashing Powder. ReCo is on a mission to end plastic waste, and similarly to Kua Coffee and Hey Happy Human, has implemented a circular system of reusing and refilling. Our refills are delivered and empty jars collected so we never have to throw away the packaging. For every small repeat, we’re one step closer to ending plastic waste.

SIX. Clean finances

Aligning our values with our actions is really important, so we put our money where our mouth is and bank with Bank Australia. It’s nice to have certainty that our money is never loaned to or invested in industries that do harm; Bank Australia doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, live animal export, gambling, the arms industry, or tobacco. More than that, they invest in better housing development, housing for people with disabilities, renewable energy projects, not-for-profits, and to top it all off, they’re a member of the B-Corp movement. Bank Australia goes beyond meeting corporate responsibility ESG checklists and have built a company around creating a positive impact for people, their communities and the planet. Here at Seed Spaces, we’re striving to do the same.

Our default super for all employees and our recommended super for clients is Australian Ethical. Australian Ethical has an in-house team of analysts using ethical frameworks to assess if companies and potential investments are aligned with their ethical principles, laid out in their Ethical Charter in 1986. The underlying criteria is that an investment’s success is linked to society’s prosperity and the planet’s wellbeing.

SEVEN. Sustainable, community driven decor

Sure, Seed Spaces is more than just a pretty space. But first you have to admit, we are a pretty space. With leafy green pot plants decked amongst timber workbenches and mismatched chairs, and the cutest devil’s ivy you ever saw hanging next to zoom conferencing units, we think we’ve struck the balance between comfort and utility.

Behind our front desk hangs a repurposed vintage bicycle, and dotted around the space are Hunter Candles. This candle company, with its humble origins in Newtown, takes conscious steps to minimise waste, uses hand-poured soy wax that is biodegradable and is free from pesticides, palm oil, petroleum and genetically modified materials (phew!).

We’ve also partnered with the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative to display and sell the artwork of its members. The co-op aims to support, promote, educate and protect copyright for its members, whose language groups exist within the NSW state boundaries. They challenge preconceptions around urban-based Aboriginal Artists and create a unique space for them within the art world. You’ll see most of the artwork hanging in our quiet Work Space area.

EIGHT. Clean power

Whilst coffee keeps us going, our printers, pendant lamps and zoom conferencing units (and the rest of Seed) are powered by Powershop, a 100% carbon neutral energy retailer. Greenwashing just ain’t it, and that’s why we chose Powershop; not only do they say they’re carbon neutral, but they’re also certified carbon neutral under the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard (run by the Australian Government). They’re the first power company to be accredited in Australia.

Powershop is owned by a 100% renewable energy company, Meridian Energy, which owns and manages hydro-plants and wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. Because all energy (no matter which retailer you source it from) is sourced from a central pool (the National Electricity Market), Powershop can’t actually determine if the electrons actually delivered to Seed are from a renewable source, like Meridian’s power.  That’s why 100% of the carbon emissions associated with our Seed’s electricity usage is offset by Powershop.

But we don’t only want to be carbon neutral. Seed Spaces is committed to going above and beyond, and so we’ve chosen to be climate positive (or carbon negative). This means we offset more than the carbon we use with Trace, a digital platform that helps us measure, reduce and offset our carbon footprint and track our impact over time. It’s founded and led by women, which makes us even prouder to work with them.

NINE. Naturally cool (we're a fan of fans)

Air conditioners are an environmental nightmare. Not only do they leak hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs), but are powerful-planet warming gases. HFC R-410A is approximately 2,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global-warming gas, and HFC 227ea is about 5,000 times more potent. Aside from these destructive chemicals, aircons also use excessive amounts of energy. Whilst all of our energy is offset, we would rather the carbon wasn’t used in the first place.

Whilst we will unfortunately admit that we do have an A/C unit (because, well, Australia), it’s metaphorically locked away in the ‘Do Not Use Unless It’s An Emergency’ box. So, unless it’s a heatwave sort of day, we find that the good insulation of the space, cross-ventilation of open windows, and several fans around the work areas keep everyone comfortable. Point is, you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than find an aircon on in Seed.

TEN. We're a FairTrade accredited workplace (and we're on the road to B-Corp accreditation)

Fairtrade empowers farmers and families around the world by addressing poverty, working conditions, and environmental conservation through Fairtrade minimum wage, premium investment, and standards of fair trade that protect workers’ rights. On top of this, Fairtrade is 50% owned by producers representing farmer and worker organisations.

Seed doesn’t sell chocolate or coffee, so what does beingFairTradeaccredited mean? As a Fairtrade supporting workplace, we make sure we always stock at least two Fairtrade products on our shelves, visible to and accessible for our clients. Currently, we’re hosting All of the Good Thing’s bottle brushdish,potandpanscrubbers,English Tea Shop‘s tea, and one of the Possibility Project’s slow-fashion dresses. It also means we support the movement in other ways, like using our event space to hostFairtrade Women in Leadershipworkshops,Fairtrade Fashion Parades, and other Fairtrade events.

On top of that, we’re learning about becoming B-Corp accredited from Beth, a B-Corp consultant, alongside other businesses in our Seed community. We’ll hopefully be running a B-Corp program here at Seed to fast track some of our members. 

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