Ico Traders is only a small company, but we care deeply about this issue & we know that lots of small companies can add up to big numbers of people making changes!
We’ve seen the negative effect that the fast fashion industry has on the environment, it was one of the reasons for making a career change from the clothing industry. At Ico Traders we design furniture made from steel, a sustainable resource and a recyclable material. We audit our business yearly and positively contribute 120% carbon credits to offset our footprint. This year we audited the suppliers we work with here in New Zealand and we have begun the process to audit our offshore suppliers as well. N/B – Our offshore factories are already audited for Health and Safety of staff and environmental impacts yearly, however, we want to expand on this to understand not only our factories, but our factories suppliers as well.
We are not perfect, but we are willing to invest in learning & contributing to change. We recognise we all need to play a part in reaching the Paris agreement goal of Net Zero NZ 2050.
This is a global problem & requires a global solution. We need every person and every business big or small, to go the extra mile & help reduce our negative impact on the world.
Our Operational Impact
- Steel is one of the most recyclable materials on earth. After years of use our furniture can be stripped back and re-powder coated to look brand new.
- We design items that are simple & therefore timeless. Our furniture is made to last & we hope that we are building a brand that people want to hold on to & that can be handed down to future generations.
- Supporting local businesses that use eco-friendly materials is important to us. (Eg: using wool for our chair pads & sustainably grown oak for our furniture).
- We are focusing on reducing paper and recycling all materials possible. This includes removing packing lists & covering letters from orders & emailing them instead. We are working on new ways to pack without causing damage to the products when they are freighted.
- Our supply chain has been audited, to see what practices can be improved on.
- We think about what we gift at Christmas, eg: edible treats in recyclable packaging and Kowhai trees for planting.
Ico Traders operates from our home office & all staff live close by, minimising the carbon footprint of each daily commute & lowering traffic congestion.
Skype and WeChat is used to communicate with overseas suppliers (this was in practice even before the Covid Pandemic, with international travel kept at a minimum)
We use suppliers & manufacturers that are situated in close proximity of each other & have set specific days to visit, making less trips, less travel. We ask for materials from our suppliers to be sent direct to our manufacturers, to reduce courier impacts.
Direct shipping to customers is offered to our wholesalers, to reduce courier impact.
Our plan is to invest in an electric van when Bernie the Berlingo is replaced.
Eco Standards We Hold and Support
- Ekos Certified Carbon Positive (Ico Traders) Read more about this standard
- Carbon Click (Ico Traders) Read more about this standard
- Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex (Wilson + Dorset and James Dunlop) Read more about this standard
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Read more about this standard
- Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Read more about this standard
- CertiSource (Herman Pacific) Read more about this standard
Climate Positive Business Operations with Ekos
Ico Traders Ltd is proud to be certified Climate Positive Business Operations with Ekos. We have measured and offset 120% of our carbon footprint for the 2020 financial year with certified carbon credits. These certified carbon credits are sourced from projects that grow and protect forests in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and help to deliver climate resilience, waterways protection, erosion control, biodiversity conservation and community economic development.
By understanding the emissions profile of our business operations, we can start to strategically reduce them. Keep up to date with the changes we are making by visiting our website and following our journey.
Ekos is committed to helping reduce carbon emissions to avoid dangerous climate change. They do this by helping businesses
- Measure and verify their carbon footprint.
- Use this footprint measurement to develop and implement a carbon reduction plan.
- Offset carbon emissions that could not be reduced.
- Certify the result.
MEASURE – REDUCE WHAT YOU CAN – OFFSET WHAT YOU CAN’T
Read more about Ekos here: https://ekos.co.nz/
Health and Safety
It’s important to us to provide a health and safety conscious workplace for our staff. Our business is audited for health and safety by Safe and Sound Solutions, New Zealand.
- Redesigning packaging to get rid of all polystyrene. (This has already been achieved, for all future orders).
- Replace ALL plastic packaging with recyclable materials.
- Keeping carbon positive rather than carbon neutral.
- Full transparency of our supply chain reported and posted on our website
- Working closely with local and environmentally aware businesses.
- Looking into solar panels to produce our electricity for the office.
This is a never-ending project to be assessed and improved on every year for the foreseeable future.
Start Small, Think Big, Make Changes
Companies We Work Closely With
Our Powder Coating
We work very closely with the team at Industrial Painters for all our powder coating needs. They are located in Sydenham, only a 12-minute drive from the home office! They are a one-minute drive from the metal workers we use and just around the corner from our cushion makers, (you could run there in 2 minutes!).
All Ico Traders’ furniture that is available for custom colour is supplied prepped, ready to be coloured. This eliminates the degreasing, stripping and blasting process other products would have to go through. Industrial’s process of powder coating uses an environmentally safe waterfall of recyclable water to catch powder particles before they can be released into the air. All ovens are run on electricity.
We use exclusive Ico Traders powder that we import from China and Dulux PBG powders, which are made here in NZ. Dulux has become the largest manufacturer of water-based paints in NZ and Australia; they are market leaders in introducing VOC paints (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Our Oak Furniture
Neil our craftsman of all things oak has a workshop located in New Brighton, a 20-minute drive from our office.
The Oak used by Ico Traders is sustainably grown by mills on the east coast of America. It is sourced through a New Zealand owned supplier & shipped here via sea freight. Mirotone supplies the nontoxic finishes and stains that Neil uses, their factory in Wellington produces 95% their products. All metal components are manufactured offshore & imported by a New Zealand owned company called Mainland Fasteners.
Our oak furniture is shipped to our customers nationwide via road freight. If the customer is local, Neil will personally deliver it in his company van, or we will pick it up ourselves.
Employees at Parsons Green are reducing emissions by biking and carpooling to work.
The oak we use is associated with many mills across America through the American Hardwood Organisation. The AHO are dedicated to sustainable forest management and conduct their business in accordance with strict environmental practices. They purchase their timber under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and CertiSource.
The AHO places a large importance on making sure harvest levels do not exceed what the forest grows so that future growth capability is not degraded. In fact, the U.S Forest Service’s most recent study indicated that the hardwood forests are growing more wood each year than is lost to fire, insects, disease and harvesting.
Herman Pacific is committed to finding new ways to lessen waste. So far they have been able to reduce to almost zero waste by using off-cuts to produce the heat used in kiln-drying timbers, as well as in the production of their proprietary Vertibat product. They also supply local capsicum growers and equestrian facilities in Northland with sawdust from non-treated timbers.
Our Chair Pads
James Dunlop Textiles supply us with their Mackenzie fabric. This is one of their wool textiles and is used for all chair pads accessories at Ico Traders. New Zealand wool is sent to Italian mills that produce the Mackenzie fabrics. They are part of a larger distributed group of textile manufacturing that uses many certifications such as:
- ISO 500001 energy certification
- Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
James Dunlop focuses on their current environmental and social impact by making incremental improvements to their products and processes to lessen any negative impact while simultaneously delivery high quality products. James Dunlop has similarly analysed their business model to see where improvements in terms of emissions could be made. Since making changes to their freighting methods and focusing on mill to warehouse freight, they have seen a tangible shift in their business model and the amount of emissions it takes to deliver their product to the market. The team at James Dunlop is always dedicated to looking for alternatives to plastics used in the shipping of fabrics. So far they’ve explored fabric bags, paper/card sleeves and biodegradable/ compostable plastics.
James Dunlop deliver their fabric straight to our manufacturers in Christchurch who make the cushions. This is more efficient and cuts out unnecessary freight emissions.
The Velcro, zips and thread used for the cushions are supplied by New Zealand companies who import the products from offshore. We feel this is an area we can improve on, to see if we can find products that are locally made.
The foam inners for our chair pads are made onsite in a factory here in Christchurch. The environmental impact of making this foam is minimal & there are no combustible gases produced.
The foam offcuts are recycled and used in flooring underlay.
For all our digital needs, we work closely with The New Black Online Solutions in Christchurch. In terms of sustainability, their footprint is very low! They utilise their technological knowledge and keep the vast majority of their work online to avoid printing and use online meetings where possible.
The staff also mostly work from home during the week. Kylie is conscious of her environmental impact and purchases carbon credits to offset her emissions when flying and drives an electric vehicle.
When they do client gifts, they make sure to use local suppliers and edible gifts with recyclable packaging so there is no plastic waste.
Our Office Stationary
Total Packaging is a New Zealand company in Christchurch that supplies us with stationery for the home office. They import the bulk of their products however; some are manufactured locally. Total Packaging source both directly from factories where they are made, as well as importers. They carry out audits of their major suppliers to ensure only ethical and legal business practices occur.
* We feel this is an area we can improve on by looking for and using more eco product options.
Wilson & Dorset
The sheepskins used by Wilson & Dorset are a byproduct of pastoral farming in New Zealand. As the sheep are raised primarily for meat, utilising their wool is important for making full use of the resource. Wool is durable, long-lasting and 100% biodegradable. In terms of animal protection, New Zealand is placed first in the world thanks to the enforcement of comprehensive animal welfare regulations.
Wilson & Dorset’s supplier have a full time purchasing manager who travels from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island to source premium quality sheepskin. Once sourced, the sheepskin is sent to an offshore production facility in Northern China where a third party regularly monitors all stages of the production process. Their supplier is very conscious of their environmental impact and has made great improvements in terms of water, energy, emissions, recycling, and chemical reductions with the help of the Oeko-Tex standard. For instance, they have adopted solar energy to heat up to 2,000,000 litres of water per week. They have also decommissioned their coal boiler for natural gas and have since seen a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
TIPTOE is an innovative French furniture company. They have created 5 principles for sustainable design that guide their design process
- Make things simple
- Make more with less
- Use the right materials
- Build to last
- Design for disassemble
Their furniture and products are designed in Paris and made in factories throughout Europe in France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom. Their main partner is a family run factory based near the Alps Mountain in Chamonix.
TIPTOE has chosen to use robust materials for their furniture, that has either been recycled or can easily be recycled. This includes steel, aluminium, wood and recycled plastic. Currently, 80-90% of all steel used in Europe is estimated to have been recycled at least once. Recycling steel also produces significant energy savings of around 75%.
Their wood is exclusively sourced from European forests that are sustainably managed and operate under the FSC and PEFC labels.
TIPTOE is also constantly working on ways to further use up-cycled materials like recycled plastic in their products. (The Genova and Venezia Recycled Plastic Coffee Table, the Recycled Plastic Chair & the Lou Stool)
The Sandstone and Riverstone Willowby Cube tops are made right here in Christchurch, by The Granite Bench Company.
The terrazzo style, stone tops are made from a renewable source of vegetable origin ran BIOresin from Compac.
The non-silicon surfaces have an NSF certification for food standards, meaning there are safe and hygienic for use in direct contact with food.
Compac’s ultimate aim is to be an eco-efficient company that uses 100% recycled or renewably sourced raw materials for the manufacture of their products.
Pressed Tin Panels
Pressed Tin Panels is an Australian, family owned and run business that is located in Bathurst, Central West NSW. They use high grade metals such as aluminium, galvanised, copper and zinc. Once the panels arrive into New Zealand, they are shipped nationwide, directly from our distribution centre in the North Island.