MIA Interview on our Sustainability Journey

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To celebrate International Women's Day, the MIA are dedicating their week to women; to recognise the work that they do for the music industry. Today, they talk to Kate Greenall, Chief of Staff here at Warwick Music Group. Her role is the day to day management of the team; she ensures that activities are streamlined within the organisation, supporting the priorities of the business to help it grow. Everyone in the company is conscious about how they operate sustainably. Here, we talk to Kate about why responsible manufacture and protecting the environment is so important to Warwick Music Group.

 

Q: Why is responsible manufacture and protecting the environment important to you and the Warwick Music Group team? 

Ever since we started manufacturing in 2010, we’ve always been thinking about our environmental impact. The challenge with recycled plastic is that it can be very hard to obtain the necessary safety certificates because you can’t know for certain the original source of the recycled material. Manufacture of brass instruments is not very environmentally friendly – very energy intensive and materials such as nickel, brass, lead are all pretty horrible – by manufacturing in recyclable ABS as we do then it’s a lot easier for us to be sustainable. As a mum to three primary-school aged children, I can tell you it’s important to them and it’s also important that we leave the planet in a much better state for them.

Q: pInstruments are made out of plastic, how do you look at reducing your impact on the environment?

Plastic instruments are much more energy efficient to make than brass and we’ve saved over 3 million kilograms of CO2 emissions already from our customers buying plastic instead of brass. In 2020, we became the first instrument manufacturer in the UK to have all our products independently assessed as carbon neutral. That means that we’ve completely offset the very little amount of CO2 emissions we generate in the manufacture, distribution and sale of every single product we make. But we are constantly looking at ways to reduce the CO2 we generate as a business – for example our office is powered by wind power, our company cars are electric and we’ve severely limited our use of paper.

Q: Tell us about the manufacturing process – are you able to reuse and recycle materials? 

The benefit of using recyclable ABS and our injection-moulding manufacturing process is that we can easily grind up excess production parts and put them back into the manufacturing process. That means the waste from manufacture is very small. Also, as we use some of the top automotive suppliers in the world, quality is very high and the products are designed to be tough and robust – although not indestructible! We provide a complete range of spare parts for all our products meaning that the lifespan of plastic instruments can be extended constantly. And at the end of the day, they can always be recycled.

Q: Do you think that consumers consider the environmental impact that they will have by investing in your brand over another? 

Yes, we believe consumers really do care about this issue. The problem with environmentally friendly products is that there is no national or international standard which consumers recognise. There is a lot of ‘green-washing’ in other sectors where retailers and manufacturers make claims which simply aren’t true. I know Steve was recently helping the Competition & Markets Authority in a roundtable as they start to look into this a lot more seriously. So when we make claims about sustainability and carbon neutrality it’s because we’ve used one of the top independent assessors in the UK and we’ve been completely transparent with our customers about what we’ve done.

Q: What advice would you have for other MI companies who are looking to become more sustainable? 

Becoming sustainable is a journey – not a single piece of work. Every MI company right now can do something to be sustainable – from just being smart with paper to sourcing from sustainable suppliers. I’d suggest you start by looking at your supply chain – whether you’re a retailer or supplier – and ask them about sustainability. The music industry is quite a way behind other sectors and there is a lot to learn – so get started as soon as possible, take that first step.

 

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