Corporate Social Responsibility is not just trendy topic, but an attitude. The goal is to create a good life for everyone. In our new interview series, we ask our staff how they feel about one of the most important issues in our industry: sustainability. And how committed are they themselves?
We’re kicking off our interview series with Dave Gorman, Director of Customer Experience and CSR Project Officer at Spread Group. Dave originally hails from Boston, where he started his university studies in Neuroscience before completing his degree in Creative Writing. He has lived in Leipzig for over 15 years now, and previously worked as a copywriter and English Teacher before coming to Spreadshirt as a writer. Now he is responsible for the teams that handle User Research & Experience, Copywriting & Translation, Photography, and central Design functions. It was his father who used to be quite ahead of the curve when it came to recycling and conscious shopping. This is how Dave developed a keen interest in environmental issues from an early age, not least because his travels to parts of the world – where the effects of unsustainable practices are quite visible – influenced his ecological awareness.
Spread Group: How do we define sustainability at Spread Group?
Dave Gorman: We see sustainability made up of three important pillars: environment, economy, society. While the environment is a huge factor on our minds and on our customers’ minds – the economic and societal sides of sustainability are a part of our responsibility that we feel we also need to contribute to. Under the environmental umbrella, we see our print-on-demand model as the basis for sustainable commerce. It goes along with where and how our products are sourced, how much of our product range is made up of eco-friendly products, the quality and longevity of our products, our use of packaging, and a number of other green initiatives. When it comes to the society, we look at both our responsibility to our employees across the planet and the responsibility for the kind of content that can be sold on our platform. And finally, we’re excited about our economic role of supporting small to medium sized businesses and independent designers. We empower them with a place to earn money selling online, as well as the other philanthropic campaigns to provide support to those in need.
Spread Group: What does sustainability mean to Spread Group?
Dave Gorman: Sustainability has been an important part of Spread Group from the very beginning. The core of our business model relies on the print-on-demand model. Compared to typical clothing companies, we only print and sell what is purchased, which prevents unsold overstock and reduces waste. While we’re proud of those roots, we’ve seen how important this topic is for our customers, our employees, and the environment itself. That’s why we look forward to doing even more to meet those challenges.
Spread Group: How do we promote sustainability at Spread Group?
Dave Gorman: We formed a task force, a cross-company team whose job it is to uncover more about the sustainable efforts we’re already making. And we also discover what else we can do, and then drive those new sustainability initiatives. While we’re proud of the things we’re already doing, we’re really excited to tackle problems around our carbon footprint, sourcing & supply chain, eco-friendly product range, packaging, and more.
Spread Group: What are the biggest challenges for an e-commerce company in the textile industry in terms of sustainability? How do we meet these challenges?
Dave Gorman: There are some very really tough challenges for e-commerce companies in the textile industry. It starts with where and how cotton is grown (or synthetic fibers are sourced), all the way to how customers use, reuse, and recycle these products. Our print-on-demand approach solves one of the biggest issues of overproduction and waste issues that fast fashion companies face. However, the questions of a) where and how our suppliers source their materials and b) what kind of packaging involved in shipping our products to customers remain the challenges we are more than willing to accept.
Spread Group: What is your personal advice on how to be more sustainable in your everyday life?
Dave Gorman: As an individual you can live more sustainably, because you have the choice to reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can ask yourself, do I really need something? Where is it produced? And can the item it replaces be reused or recycled? There’s this great podcast series by Jane Goodalls Hopecast that I find very inspirational. She’s a scientist, activist, and amazing storyteller who takes a look at the adversities that the planet and environment face. What’s great about it is being given a view through the optimistic lens of how human spirit and hope can still make a difference. And it feels like her many experiences have made a difference already. I highly recommend it!
Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Dave!