Fostering sustainable growth in the developing countries in which we do business
WHAT WE MEAN
Our view of sustainability is a mind-set that requires the conscious balancing of relevant environmental, social and economic factors.
Our absolutes are:
- Environmental – We only use natural materials that are abundant and not endangered, protected or threatened.
- Social – We empower each member of our company and associated communities as far as possible. We treat each person with respect and dignity. We source, innovate and produce to maximise the benefit to local economies and with due regard for cultural preservation and enhancement.
- Economic – We make our economic decisions first and foremost congruent with our mission. However, since reasonable and stable profitability is a pre-requisite for stability, our operational decision-making is profit-oriented. Our investment decisions are made for the long-term interests of all stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers and owners.
SUSTAINABLE NATURAL MATERIALS AND TRACEABILITY
We have strong core values that drive our material choices and hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard than local or international regulation requires. We assess each natural material we use/would use for environmental sustainability. As far as possible, we aim to monetise previously value-less materials for our sources.
Nature provides us with such a great diversity of materials, and we work with a wide variety ranging from the mundane to the unusual: from leaves, seeds and barks; sea shells and eggshells; to bones, fish skins and feathers.
We add value by identifying a by-product of an industry or activity that would otherwise be discarded as waste; or by finding a fast-growing and abundant material.
Our first question is always: are these materials safe and sustainable? If necessary, we will consult with subject-matter experts (e.g. conservation experts, conchologists, rangers) as well as local experts (e.g. fishermen and farmers) to ensure that there are no global or local environmental concerns on supply.
We further identify and assess our source(s) to ensure they meet our standards for both environmental and social welfare.
RESINS AND OTHER MATERIALS
The chemicals and other non-natural materials with which we work must be the most environmentally-friendly option there is, that is fit for purpose.
In addition to this, they must be transported, used and disposed of in accordance with local best practice and manufacturer’s guidelines; and, where of EU origin, they must be REACH-compliant.
PRESERVING AND FOSTERING CRAFT AND HERITAGE
Centuries old techniques are what have perfected our skills, elevating craft to art.
We aim to be responsible stewards of local culture, employing traditional techniques and skills as widely as we can, enhancing them with complementary knowledge capital from Europe in materials, machines and tools.
Our craftspeople are encouraged to develop their existing heritage skills, working in ever finer detail. This also helps towards our goal of zero wastage of the source materials.
We firmly commit to multi-skilling and skills transfer, with a training and personal development programmes for our people.
In the wake of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, many local communities were devastated, and became dispersed, which led to the loss of indigenous weaving skills in the Cebu region. Nature Squared committed to employ a core group of weavers to ensure a living archive of their community’s skills heritage, which was in danger of being lost, whilst ensuring a source of income for the affected families. We commit to their continued support and the further development of their craft.
PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY
We ensure our employees are well-remunerated in wages and benefits, including healthcare. We commit to gender equality and a non-discriminatory workplace at all our locations; and we take a strong stand against child labour. Further, as far as possible, we work with supplier communities that subscribe to the same principles.
Since we control all production in our own factory and we do not outsource any production, we are able to assure that our principles are followed.
More intangibly, we facilitate interaction and communication between our people and our clients; and regularly share project results with our people, thereby celebrating their achievements. The knowledge that Nature Square products represent the pinnacle in its realm of quality and ingenuity, leads to a virtuous circle of greater self-esteem and creativity.
Beyond our immediate workforce we undertake initiatives in our local community, especially in education and environmental initiatives in line with our operational activities (e.g. sourcing from cooperative community activities that have conservation aims).
We are privately owned by three partners, all of whom are active in the business and commit to activist stewardship and advocacy of holistic sustainability.
The partners undertake charitable initiatives that do not have a direct operational link, for example soft lending to employees to deal with exceptional needs; education related activities and discretionary charitable giving.
Discuss your next project
If you would like to speak to us about any of our furniture collections, materials, wall coverings, or a bespoke project, please email or call us on the number below during standard UK office hours. Alternatively, please fill in your details on the form on this page (including an overview of your enquiry) and we will contact you.
Due to the nature of our materials and products, if you would like to see samples, we would need to visit you to present the options available.