Inspiration: Small Stuff

Small Stuff is the first UK children’s store to be Planet Mark certified, prioritising planet over profit throughout their business.

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Name of the company: Small Stuff

Who are they? 

Small Stuff is a children’s store in Sheffield, selling ethical and design-led toys, books, clothes, and accessories. Set up in 2016, they prioritise the sustainability and quality of each product that they stock.

What sustainability actions have they taken? 

  • During the pandemic, they replaced their company car with a 100% electric vehicle and started using an electric cargo bike for local deliveries 
  • Their building is 100% powered by renewable electricity, doesn’t use any gas, has only LED lighting and operates on a strict energy usage policy, with nothing on standby when not in use
  • They have repaired their roof and installed double glazing to all but one of the windows in their building to cut down on energy waste
  • They reuse 80% of their cardboard waste
  • In 2022, they removed all their new clothing lines and now only focus on their secondhand clothing range, Clothes The Loop
  • They’re members of the SME Climate Hub and the Better Business Act campaign as well as being a Surfers Against Sewage certified Plastic Free Business
  • They have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2025 

How have they achieved these goals? 

Small Stuff has focussed on taking small steps instead of large leaps within their sustainability journey. They have seen each of these steps as opportunities to invest in their brand’s ethos and to work closely with suppliers throughout the process. Above all, they have stressed their focus on people and the planet over profit at every step of the way. 

Though their progress towards a net zero future as a small business so far has been impressive, they also recognise that this is not necessarily a linear journey, but instead one that requires constant reflection and learning. 

What benefits have they seen as a result of their actions? 

Small Stuff is now recognised as a leader in their field for sustainability. They are a member of the board for the British Independent Retailers Association, playing a key role in leading their sustainability agenda, and attended as a key witness for the government’s Plastic Free Inquiry, representing the perspectives of small, independent businesses across the country.

Since implementing their energy-saving measures, Small Stuff has noticed a significant reduction in their energy bills. They’ve also seen more buy-in from customers due to their emphasis on sustainability, which has brought them media attention. 

In 2020, they became the first children’s store in the UK to be Planet Mark certified, meaning that their environmental impact has been carefully measured and analysed, and that they’ve made concrete commitments to actively reduce it. What’s more, they began their journey to becoming B Corp certified this year.

Sophie Comninos
Author: Sophie Comninos

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