Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people.
Dumbo Feather's workplace audit
Doing our bit
Doing our bit
As part of our eight-week climate change challenge, we’re encouraging everyone to use their power. One of the steps we can take is to audit our homes and workplaces, to see how we can reduce emissions and influence one another to make positive change. We took a good look at how we do things at Dumbo Feather and discovered that although we are on the right track, there are still opportunities for us as a business—and as individuals—to do more for the environment.
Where we work
We are very lucky to work in a beautiful space in St Kilda called The White House. Seven businesses share the building, which has a fully equipped kitchen, a shower for those who commute by bike, and lovely gardens to keep the bees busy. Outside the kitchen, we have not one but two compost bins—one for chickens and one for general compost—which go to our sister business Mossy Willow Farm. In return, the farm drops off CSA boxes as part of the Community Supported Agriculture initiative, enabling us to eat seasonal, organic, local (and delicious!) produce. We have solar panels on the roof and LED energy-saving lights throughout the building, and we use biodegradable bin bags throughout the house and biodegradable cups for in-house events. We work with trusted suppliers—mostly B Corps—to courier our mail, clean the offices, cater our events and keep us caffeinated. We also have a cupboard filled with Keep Cups, so nobody needs to get a takeaway cup on their coffee run.
As a print publication, we take special care to ensure our practices are as environmentally-friendly as possible. The magazine is printed on paper from K.W. Doggett Fine Paper, sourced from responsible forestry practices. Our printer, Printgraphics, leads the charge in environmentally-friendly printing. All of their practices are audited and analysed, and they are continually innovating. We also offer Dumbo Feather as a digital subscription, and we provide additional content on our website and in our podcasts.
We are a small team, and we influence each other’s habits. In the past six months we have made a real effort to curb our use of takeaway coffee cups by starting our day with a French press from the kitchen, and then for the inevitable mid-morning coffee run, we take Keep Cups in their cute carry bag, or we choose to slow down and enjoy a coffee at one of our favourite local cafes.
How do you get to work? I drive a Tesla.
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? I buy my lunch.
What does your weekly shop look like? I only shop at farmers markets.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? Philanthropy and ethical business investments.
I pledge to: Reduce my waste this year by two thirds.
How do you get to work? Bus or bike.
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? I mostly buy my lunch (that’s got to change).
What does your weekly shop look like? I shop at farmers’ markets and organic shops, avoid as many plastics as possible, and reuse bags and boxes. I also get lots of herbs and vegetables from my boyfriend’s garden.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? Eat a vegetarian diet. When I need a car, I use Car Next Door.
What environmental organisations do you support/use? I donate to the Wilderness Society.
I pledge to: Change my bank and super soon!
How do you get to work? I drive my car.
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? 50/50.
What does your weekly shop look like? I do not use plastic bags, and I shop at local markets and small businesses.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? Not enough!
What environmental organisations do you support/use? I am looking to change both my super fund and the super fund for my husband’s business. I also recently switched to Powershop as my electricity provider.
I pledge to: Only use a reusable cup for coffee, switch bank and super fund by the end of September, and set up a giving program for my husband’s business.
How do you get to work? I catch public transport (a train and then a bus).
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? I generally bring my lunch in. We’re lucky to have a kitchen at work, so some days I will prepare a hot meal from scratch.
What does your weekly shop look like? I live just down the road from a supermarket, so I shop there. 90 per cent of my groceries will be from the fresh food section, and I always forgo plastic bags.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? I eat a plant-based diet, catch public transport, and only use my heater when I have to.
What environmental organisations do you support/use? Powershop, Australian Ethical Super, and I am a member of The Greens and various animal welfare organisations.
I pledge to: shop at farmers’ markets and attend a climate rally.
How do you get to work? I catch the bus straight down to work. I don’t own a car so it’s the most practical way to do it!
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? I bring leftovers—we always cook extra food for dinner and eat it for lunch the following day.
What does your weekly shop look like? I shop at my local, independent supermarket. We have reusable shopping bags and we also use the app Paprika to plan recipes.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? Our household is mindful of electricity and water, we eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and we ride our bikes or take public transport. We also have a compost bin.
What environmental organisations do you support/use? None! That’s one area where I am not doing too great. I sign Greenpeace petitions?
I pledge to: Change my super!
How do you get to work? Either on my bike or by public transport! I drive occasionally if I need to.
Do you buy your lunch or bring it in? I usually bring it in—but buy it when I am unorganised.
What does your weekly shop look like? We are lucky enough to live across the road from an amazing farmers’ market so I do most of my shopping there.
What do you do for the environment outside of work? I love looking after my little garden at home! It has grown so much. I also try to create as little waste as possible and use compostable bags for the garbage. We also have a compost bin.
What environmental organisations do you support/use? The Greens and ACF
I pledge to: Educate myself about investing in ethical companies (especially my bank and super)
Where we can improve
Our self-audit revealed some interesting trends, and has helped provide a pathway for improvement. As individuals, almost all of us want to change our bank and super, and use less plastic. As a business, we will set the standard for the other businesses in the building, by:
It only takes a couple of minutes to look around your home and your office to see what you’re doing well and where you can do more. As our Editor-in-Chief Berry says: “Between denial and despair there must be action. It is the only moral thing left to do. To speak, to act, to read, to discuss, to lobby, to pressure, to participate.” We hope that our eight-week challenge inspires you to act, because we are powerful together.