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Studio policy for working towards a better world at Paula Armstrong Ceramics

I’ve always worked to make Paula Armstrong Ceramics not only a welcoming, friendly and supportive studio but also a business that improves people’s lives and looks to have a positive impact on the local community and further afield as well as in the world of ceramics and art. I find the natural world endlessly beautiful and fascinating and am very concerned about our negative impact on it. Because of this I have been taking small steps to better understand, monitor and improve my studio practice to become more sustainable.

This is very much a journey with a great many aspects to consider and I’m learning a little more all the time. +In the past I’ve taken small actions to improve the environmental impact of the studio from reusing packaging and clay bags to ensuring the kilns are as full as possible before putting a firing on but now is the time to start a more formal, concerted plan to ensure the studio is as great a space as it can be!

Objectives

The aim is to make Paula Armstrong Ceramics a business that has a positive impact on its customers and the wider world.   To achieve this, I will:

  • Always act ethically, holding true to my core values of access, flexibility and openness as well as ensuring that my supplies are ethically sourced wherever possible.
  • Contribute positively to my local communities by supporting local activities, fund raisers and events as well as working collaboratively with schools and community organisations.
  • Always consider, and where possible monitor and improve, the environmental impact of the studio activities particularly in relation to carbon, sustainability and ecological impacts.

Implementation

  • I will develop a GHG Management Plan which will identify targets for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, priorities for action, investment and reporting.
  • I will increase the proportion of renewable energy consumed in our studio to 100% by the end of 2023.
  • I will annually review our purchasing and procurement practices to reduce consumption and minimise waste.
  • I will monitor and reduce our water usage by 10% in the next year.
  • I will research suppliers of ethical materials, particularly cobalt and move to ethically sourced materials once identified.
  • I will continue to work flexibly to offer the chance to experience working with clay to anyone without discrimination.
  • I will continue to donate to charity and offer raffle/auction prizes to local organisations and fund raisers.
  • I will continue to offer video tutorials free of charge on YouTube for anyone who would like to learn.
  • I will work with Creating Natures Corridors to plant trees locally.
  • I will review the business impacts and achievements as part of the annual review process.

Action Plan

Continuous actions currently being undertaken:

  • The kilns are only fired when completely full.
  • The kilns are regularly serviced and maintained to maximise their efficiency.
  • Heaters, printer and small electrical appliances switched off when not in use.
  • Research into sustainability best practices for ceramics studios to adopt in studio.
  • Reuse of packaging, materials and tools wherever possible to reduce waste.

Future actions:

  • We will change to a renewable energy tariff so that the kilns and studio will be powered by 100% renewable energy by September 2023
  • We will purchase 25% of our glaze supplies from UK producers by September 2024
  • All remaining light fittings will be replaced with LED lighting by September 2023
  • We will measure our energy use to better understand our GHG emissions better from now on
  • Monitor and improve water usage by 10% by September 2023
  • We will plant trees with Nature’s Corridors annually as part of their rewilding schemes in the UK from now on
  • Replace my big kiln with a newer, more energy efficient model. When it breaks down beyond reasonable repair