Embarking on Sustainability and Reaping Rewards with Mirry Christie, Sustainability Consultant for OKA (episode 426)

Mirry Christie is a Brand and Marketing Director turned Sustainability Consultant who’s been helping furniture and lifestyle brand OKA not only become a more sustainable business but also to inspire their customers to create sustainable homes. OKA was founded in 1999 and now sells via their Magento site, magazines, and showrooms across the UK and USA.

Mirry Christie OKA on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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The Wider Scope of Sustainability

For Mirry, sustainability is more than just being carbon conscious. While your sustainability journey may begin with doing good for the planet, other areas of a business are also covered.

For investors, it’s about reducing risk by improving brand image and giving a company a competitive advantage. It’s also about increasing productivity and reducing costs, such as in packaging.

Becoming sustainable also increases a business’s ability to comply with regulations that can attract employees and future investors.

The impact of sustainability, therefore, is no longer just one-sided but encompasses so many aspects of a business.

Getting All Stakeholders on Board

Mirry shares that OKA’s journey to sustainability started with stakeholder engagement, or getting everyone on board and explaining why it had to be done.

She discussed sustainability plans with senior management, made sure they were regularly covered and talked to employees who would be implementing the strategies.

She also spoke with their suppliers and shared with them their sustainability goals and talked about how they could help OKA with their mission, and customers were also asked about their views on the subject.

Collaborating with everyone involved allowed OKA to figure out which sustainability pieces were the most important and put their strategies into place.

Materiality Assessment

Looking at the different topics that are important to your business, or materiality assessment, is a place where you can start.

Because most businesses have limited resources, it can’t be expected that everything can be done. Work out what you want to focus on, then build out pillars and strategies with goals relating to your priority items.

Mirry mentions the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is a list of 17 different goals that you can look at and decide what’s relevant to your business.

Engaging with Customers

Having a conversation with your customers regarding your sustainability journey will always be a good thing.

Start a dialogue with them, and you’ll find that customers love being asked for their opinions, and you’ll get interesting answers. Additionally, talking to your customers will also give them the opportunity to ask you questions, so go ahead and engage with them.

Making That Big Change

Different businesses will have different priorities, but Mirry says the biggest impact OKA had was on the packaging side.

Another thing they’ve done is join the United Nations Global Compact, an organization that supports sustainability initiatives. But because people get excited by changes they can see, Mirry says it’s the packaging that can drive people’s interest.

More Advice from Mirry

Don’t be intimidated by sustainability; just start the journey, build your strategy, and define what’s important for your business.

Talk to people you’ve worked with before and ask them what they’re doing about sustainability as well, and support each other’s initiatives.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • When it comes to sustainability, Mirry’s tip is to do collaborations, which can open up new audiences for your brand.

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Have good imagery and good styling for your product. Good videos are also important. Being able to tell your brand’s story through imagery is very valuable.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • How Boden Hit Their Carbon Neutral Target in 2022 with Ben Dreyer, Strategy, Sustainability, and Operations Director (episode 421)
  • A truly inspiring sustainable startup – Marc Bucci from Social Socks (episode 407)
  • Embedding ethics and sustainability into luxury brand Elvis & Kresse – super inspiring story (episode 392)

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