How to avoid the ‘green smoke screen’ when choosing sustainable partnerships

How to avoid the ‘green smoke screen’ when choosing sustainable partnerships

Posted: Thu 14th Apr 2022

Social impact start-up Refurbed is an online marketplace selling refurbished mobile devices. They recently announced a partnership with Irish tree planting initiative ReforestNation

In a bid to remain a 100% sustainable company, Refurbed led by example. We caught up with their Irish marketing manager Pádraig Power to ask about how their new partnership evolved. He also gave us a few tips on how to avoid the green smoke screen when adding sustainable initiatives to your business agenda.  

What made you want to get involved with a social impact start-up?

In the last number of years, I've kind of woken up a lot more to the environment and to my own environmental impact, and how I can improve that. Working with Refurbed was the perfect fit.  

Why did Refurbed feel they wanted to give back with ReforestNation?

The founders from the start said they wanted to be as sustainable as physically possible. What we’ve seen is that when you refurbish electronics, you save about 70% CO2, versus if you're making a new electronic. That’s good but there’s another 30% here, so when we're producing these products, we're still emitting to the environment.  

That's goes against the purpose of why we want to refurbish, we want to make the environment better. They did some research, and found out that for every tree that's planted, that does offset the 30% - making the refurbishing process 100% sustainable.  

From the very start we have planted trees for every device. And now we're going to be planting in Ireland. 

You have partnered with ReforestNation in Ireland, why did you decide to choose that company?

They plant trees all around the country with their community and volunteers, but aside from that, something that really stood out to us is ReforestNation only plants trees which are native to Ireland. That was really important to us.  

ReforestNation have their own goal to plant a million trees by 2024 which is a huge goal, and we are really happy to be part of that.  

How involved are your customers in the ‘giving back’ process?

After every purchase we email our customers to thank them for their order and let them know the tree planting countries where they can choose to plant their tree. For every customer that chooses Ireland we’ll plant a tree with ReforestNation. 

How does Refurberd decide which sustainable partnerships to get involved in? 

We try to remain sustainable in all our operations and that includes our marketing. It’s important that those we work with are sustainable, and match with our business and our values.  

There is a lot of greenwashing in business. For those wanting to get involved with sustainable campaigns, what tips have you for avoiding the green smoke screen?

Do your research. If you are going to bring in a sustainable initiative and you are choosing a partner, check a few companies out. Ask for their credentials and actual statistics. Find out what their emissions are, what their production process is. Do your research. 

Think of your end customer, and their needs. Can you change a process in manufacturing, for example, that will make things more sustainable but not impact the end result for your customer? Are secure tech options used where possible to cut down on physical products? Is there a secure platform that could replace the job of physical storge?  


Plan it with Purpose Ireland: Helping businesses develop a better understanding of environmental and social issues

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