The Green Stationery Company selects products that are environmentally benign or have environmental advantages over the standard stationery equivalents. We aim to maintain sustainable business practices within a culture that respects all life and honours its independence, and to ease our customers' path to a modern, low-impact office.
We have a unique range of products; we are not a standard office stationer that just highlights some recycled paper products and proclaims themselves "Green". Many new Green products are showcased by manufacturers in our green catalogue before they become available to the normal office supply companies. We also manufacture ourselves and import unusual or innovative Green products from like minded companies outside the UK. We have an extensive range of papers made from unusual fibres, including recycled brown kraft, coloured, textured, and watermarked papers. We supply long life products built to last and beautiful sustainable wood office accessories. We also have unique biodegradable packaging and everything for the eco office from recycled string to glue sticks made from almonds and potato starch. Our customers include big organisations wanting to run a green conference, small pioneering green businesses, eco conscious home users, natural wedding planners and green pubs, retaurants, cafes and hotels. We have over two thousand regular customers throughout the UK and some overseas, who all want to use their purchasing power to make a difference.
Who we are and how we work
The Green Stationery Company is a pioneering environmental business. We began life in 1989 as a locally-based supplier of recycled paper called Bath Green Papers, and evolved in 1993 to offer a national service: the Green Stationery Company was born. We operate on the Schumacher Principle that 'small is beautiful,' keeping the company's physical size as small as possible so we can achieve the lowest ecological footprint. We've invested heavily in the latest technology so we can provide the most efficient service to our ever increasing number of customers, yet keep our business size relatively small.
We use only reclaimed packaging materials to protect our customer's orders, and these are sourced from local businesses along Walcot Street. The only energy used in the office is renewably-sourced electricity and we produce minimal waste (only one black bin bag every two weeks), with all other materials being re-used. The diesel used by our couriers can be offset by our customers through Rainforest Concern's 'Forest Credits' scheme - community-owned watershed projects based in Intag, Ecuador, which provides both clean water to the indigenous peoples there, and reforests the Amazon rainforest. We also have an electric assisted peddle bike for small local deliveries.
Our staff are knowledgeable and willing to give you advice on individual products and their wider impacts. There are three of us in the office, and the hours are flexible, so that staff can lead full lives as artists, campaigners, and - occasionally - normal people. We all get a say in how the company runs, and working life is generally relaxed, and has the tendency to meander into rambling discussions about deep ecology and the meaning of life, whatever that is. The majority of the business is owned by the founder and managing director Jay Risbridger. Jay has a degree in the History of Ideas and a working background in overseas development and the recycled paper industry. He has been active in green politics and has dedicated his working life to the development of green and ethical business.
The Green Stationery Company for all your office supplies
We offer a competitive and friendly service where customers can always talk to a member of staff to clarify any issues. We are happy to look at customers' individual requirements and generally the company has a 'can do' attitude towards its service.
Buying green office products does not mean a compromise on the price and quality of your stationery service. The Green Stationery Company is now in its 18th year of operation and we supply over 2,000 small, medium and large organisations with all their office needs. We do the work of finding and supplying the best green office products available in the UK today: so when you order from us, you are ensuring the greenest possible supply chain. We offer the best prices and discounts on eco-friendly stationery and do not charge a premium for green items, unlike many office product dealers. We are also a mine of information on the green office and we can untangle most of the competing environmental claims made by manufacturers. Green purchasing is an essential element in reducing the huge amount of waste generated by our disposable consumer culture, endemic in most standard offices.
As well as our green products, we supply all the other standard products your office needs, where no eco-friendly alternative exists. This business helps support our green range, as well as being more convenient for our customers. We produce a full standard stationery products catalogue and can offer excellent discounts for regular users. We are the only dedicated green stationery dealer in the UK and your custom is essential for the development of this market.
In the October 2010 edition of 'Office Dealer Support', the magazine's Green Dealer of the year 2010 says, "I have always been a strong advocate on getting a return on investment and I can't see any point in being green for green's sake."
This is how standard office supplies companies see green issues: not as worthwhile and important activities in themselves but a marketing opportunity that can grow profits. This comment was even reported by the trade magazine without any sense of disbelief. You could not make this up, most people in our industry seem to be on a different planet to us!
We are a real green business
As environmental issues have become more mainstream, many companies are engaging in some form of environmental activity and claiming to be 'green businesses'. We believe to be a real green business all the activities of a company should respect the environment and operate ethically. A recent Corporate Social Responsibility survey named British American Tobacco, Shell, Nestle and Xstrata Mining in the top ten performing companies. Jonathon Porritt called the inclusion of B.A.T. a sick joke. He pointed out that companies could spend a lot on environmental and social activities, while the business itself does not demonstrate any social or environmental responsibility at all.
At the Green Stationery Company we aim to have the lowest environmental impact possible and make our activities socially and ethically sound. We publish information on everything we do through the 'Profit Through Ethics' scheme. The P.T.E. scheme enables people to make their own judgement about the working practices of businesses prepared to sign up and show they have nothing to hide. Many office supplies companies are now highlighting recycled products in their marketing and claiming to be green businesses, but this is just greenwash designed to exploit people's real concerns. We’ve noticed many of these companies, masquerading as environmentally concerned businesses, appearing on the web. Profit Through Ethics is a fabulous antidote to greenwash. Visit http://www.profitthroughethics.com
We are a small business
In the UK over 90% of all businesses employ less than 5 people. Big business gets all the plaudits and the government aid but small business is the social backbone of our economy. We believe that supporting small business is the only way to create a sustainable economy. Adam Smith argued that the only moral and economic business was one that was owned by the people who worked in it. He said that if your only interest in a business was to get a return on your capital, then you would never be concerned about how it operated or even if it was efficient. Some economists even argue that large businesses never make profits, they just pass their costs onto the rest of society, borrow money on a vast scale and when eventually they go bust the tax payer picks up the debt because it’s politically unacceptable to see so many jobs lost.
One only has to look at the most “profitable” companies in the economy to see this is a valid argument: the tobacco industry, the oil industry, car makers, arms manufacturers and we think we can now include the banks, have all incurred massive public costs which they have never contributed towards. But things are changing. It has started with the tobacco industry and if the US government gets the power to act against the businesses that emit global warming gasses, the passing of environmental and social costs to the public by big business may soon come to a timely end.
Some genuine green and ethical businesses are not content to be small social businesses and have become addicted to growth to meet the demands of their investors. These businesses operate much like supermarkets using their capital reserves to operate on low margins and gain market share by putting other small established companies out of business. Once they have dominated the market place, the consumers get little choice and the prices go up. No matter how strong the ethical and environmental beliefs may be, once a company goes down the endless growth road it seems doomed to adopt the unsustainable practices of big business. Even Anita Roddick had to admit that Body Shop had lost its way as outside investors took more control. In the end she decided to sell the whole business to L’Oreal and use the money for projects that had more social and environmental purpose.
Watch out for the new breed of glossy hyped green and ethical businesses that are appearing, backed by investors that think there are good returns to be made from customers concerned about the environment. These businesses will be here today and gone tomorrow, gobbled up by the large multinationals.
We are an open business
We believe a business is only as ethical and green as it is open and transparent. Many businesses demonstrate their credentials by some eco label or certification scheme that proves it has reduced its environmental impact. In reality any business can conform to some quality mark or another. Mark Twain famously said there are Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. In the world of environmental performance you can prove anything you want with the right analysis. To accurately judge a business, consumers much have all the information concerning the activities of a company, not just the part the business wants them to see. This is why we are a founding member of Profit Through Ethics and believe business transparency is the only way to give customers confidence in the truth of our claims. Even the UK Parliament now recognises that certification (of MP’s expenses) is no substitute for transparency and the publication of information.
We are not great fans of carbon foot-printing as it does very little to change the behaviour of businesses. In many cases it is an exercise adopted by organisations to come up with a quantification of their environmental damage so that they can pay to offset this damage and carry on with their usual practices. In addition many environmental and quality standards adopted by big business can be a very complex and time consuming to calculate. They are only used by large businesses that have the staff and resources to complete the certification process. In many ways this is a type of restrictive practise with the aim of excluding smaller enterprises who cannot meet the cost of making these measurements, often of dubious validity.
The idea that certification and foot-printing is some sort of objective, quantifiable measure of environmental performance can be mistaken. As with all green issues there are political, social and economic interests involved and one has to take a qualitative position about which processes are beneficial to the environment. In the case of paper, the UK needs to recycle more and buy more recycled products to reduce landfill. There are also large energy savings made in recycling fibres rather than breaking down trees into virgin wood pulp. However the virgin paper manufacturers will add the planting of trees into their calculation to reduce their carbon footprint. They will also add the fuel used in the collection of waste paper to increase the carbon footprint of recycled papers. By making this type of calculation some producers claim virgin papers have a lower environmental foot print than recycled papers. In reality the collection of waste papers should be a cost borne by the original producers and the paper recyclers should be paid for clearing up the manufacturer’s waste products. This would go a long way to making recycled papers cheaper to buy than virgin papers.
As you can see these are the views of a committed green business and we do not expect everyone to agree with us, but they will give you an idea about how we feel and what we believe. We are always happy to have a dialogue with anyone who shares our concerns and look forward to your comments.
We are a UK company based in Bath. Our VAT registration number is 601 2861 78. For EU orders, VAT is charged unless the customer provides us with a VAT number. For deliveries outside the EU, including the Channel Islands, no VAT is charged, as sales are classed as exports and the customer is responsible for paying any import duties.
Our registered address is Studio One, 114 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BG our company registration number is 02834890