5 Years of Green Business
Published: 21st Sep 2009 in Ethical Business
This month Make Hay turns 5 years old. The time has flown so fast but at this milestone it makes us very happy to take a look back and a look around, to reflect on how we’ve grown and how responsible business is becoming more mainstream. There’s still a great responsibility for the business world (including us) to increase and improve our green and ethical habits but we should celebrate the achievements too!
Business Driven by Purpose
Make Hay was officially founded in September 2004. Long before then though it had had been whirring around in our brains. Disillusioned by traditional business models and encouraged by the potential of business driven by purpose, not just profit, we decided it was time to take our combined positive experiences and skills and make our contribution to changing the world. I know that might sound a bit cliché but that was, and still is, the driving force behind our business.
Back in 2004 the world was a different place. It was quite unusual for a new business to say they would turn work away if it meant making money from a particular industry or market or seek out suppliers with positive ethical credentials even though they may be more expensive. As we excitedly told friends and family what we were planning to do we were often met with bemused looks or remarks like “that’s crazy, you’ll never make any money”. Concerned supporters suggested “why don’t you start off without an ethical policy and when you’re established then go down the ethical route?” – There was no question of that. We did have positive encouragement too and to those people we are hugely thankful. Without it the beginnings of our fledgling business would have been difficult and isolating.
It wasn’t long before we found a few other businesses that we could look to for collaborations and support. I remember very well one of the first businesses we discovered was Ethical Junction. In great anticipation of meeting more greeny business types we added our details to what was then a humble directory ran by a handful of folks. Now, I’m happy to say, Ethical Junction are a mighty force, connecting responsible business owners all over the UK and we’re very proud to still be members.
How Things Have Changed
Personal highlights in our Make Hay journey include setting up Make Noise, to help promote the work of our amazing web design clients and adding the Green Hosting arm to our business, which enabled us to provide websites powered on renewable energy. We also co-founded and became host to the Green Girls Global blog and later Green Guys Global and joined the steering group of a local Fairtrade campaign as business representative. More recently we launched our Make Mail service, providing clients with e-mail marketing newsletters so that they could reach out even further and our blog, another useful voice in sharing the work of our clients and news and views on responsible and sustainable business.
More widely we’ve noted some vast changes in the business world as you will have too. Nowadays we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to green stationery, equipment and furniture. We can have our offices powered by the wind and become listed in a wealth of useful directories and networks working hard to get green to the masses. Gone are the days when shop keepers look at you aghast for bringing your own bag and even the big supermarkets are hiding their plastic carriers under the till.
Let’s not be fooled or get complacent, there is a still a long, long way to go and it won’t be easy. But we can be buoyed by the way that green business has begun to seep into the mainstream, even in Make Hay’s short lifetime, and use that to drive us forward. Let’s see what we can achieve in the next 5, 15, 50 years!
All that remains to say is a big thank you to our clients, colleagues and friends for your support over the years. As a way of showing our gratitude we have a prize for one lucky client to win. Please see the details in our latest newsletter.