The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030, High Level Political Forum and “The Future We Want” are likely to become household buzz words as the UN’s plan of action for “people, prosperity and the planet” gains momentum. These include goals such as “to end poverty and hunger in all their forms and dimensions”, “to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence”, “to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth” and a pledge that as they “embark on this great collective journey”, “no one will be left behind”. Strategic partnerships and stake holders will work together in an “integrated manner by pooling financial resources, knowledge and expertise.” The theme of the January 2023 Partnership Forum was “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.”
This sounds like weighty stuff and decisions surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 do indeed take place within the top power houses around our globe. So, how do they relate to us? What can we do to take some of the concepts and implement them into our own businesses? And how in particular can small crafting businesses run with these ideals?
Our world is made up of many small communities and while ending all poverty and having zero hunger (goals 1&2) might seem somewhat unrealistic goals for us to tackle within our own businesses and communities, we can certainly develop practices and habits which will make an impact on someone. And, if this is extended to many small businesses and then to consumers, the impact will be larger.
As a small craft business owner you will be very aware of the raw products you use and indeed sourcing locally produced products is a selling point which you should advertise. However, there are some products you will not be able to procure locally and you could look to buy these from businesses which are registered as fair trade. Coffee beans and cotton are two obvious commodities whose production can cause real harm to those who harvest and process them. Not only can the hours be long and the conditions poor, but the chemicals used can be very detrimental to those in contact with them. Choosing to buy fair trade will be more expensive and this price increase will have to be handed on to your own customers; use your fair trade policy as a selling point and you may be surprised at how this will draw rather than deter buyers.
Incidentally, if you own or are starting up a business selling handmade goods you will need to know about the regulations surrounding safety, including clear labelling. As you check out laws on selling handmade crafts UK a good place to begin could be the local Trading Standards office if there is anything about which you are unsure.
Number eleven of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In the U.K. most of our communities have a rich history, with crafting woven through the centuries, telling us stories about the place and its people. Local communities have not sprung up in isolation and having a good understanding of the history and heritage of where we dwell will help to build strong and resilient communities. From the knitwear of Scotland to the willow weaving of Somerset, each of our regions will have distinct crafts which reflect both the geographical and political nature of those areas. Crafters are in an ideal position to keep these traditional crafts alive and enable our unique and regional heritage to be celebrated. There are many ways to display these crafts; perhaps in conjunction with local or regional museums, maybe at craft fairs or possibly at historic or re-enactment events. These are all fantastic opportunities not only to sell your own produce and showcase your particular skill but also to educate the public on the wonderful crafting heritage passed down to them. If you are considering branching out into any of these exciting opportunities this year, remember to check out laws on selling handmade crafts UK and ensure that the correct public and liability insurance is in place. It might seem overwhelming at first, but a little investigation into the laws on selling handmade crafts UK and the right advice you will be able to navigate what you need to have in place for your business. Give us a ring and we can make sure you are covered and all set for these next adventures! As you bring alive a community’s sense of place and history, you’ll help people to identify more with the place in which they live, feel a sense of pride in it and gradually become more committed to investing in it, at the same time forming the kind of relationships and networks which build resilience.
Another of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals which might be easier to consider implementing is number twelve, which aims to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” This is one in which, as a small, locally based crafting business you have many advantages over large multinationals when it comes to sustainable and ethical production of your goods. Sourcing raw products locally reduces travel miles, and for those materials or ingredients you cannot find nearby, you can choose fairly traded products. You have control over your packaging; you can recycle boxes for shipping, use old newspapers for wrapping and paper bags for craft markets. You can work using recycled materials; sea glass for jewellery, recycled fabric or even an assortment of plastics. You may make products which will encourage your customers to walk more lightly on our beautiful planet, for example fabulous beeswax wraps or trendy fabric shopping bags. Furthermore, your products will be durable and last for years.
Small is definitely beautiful when it comes to working ethically and sustainably so make sure you advertise this well as you promote your business. Take inspiration from the colours and textures from the natural world. And enjoy the process of creating stunning, durable products with skill; this is in itself a reflection of the wonderful world in which we live.