What exactly defines a perfect eco-conscious business? Is it a business that has nothing but a positive impact on the planet all the time? Is it a business where its products and services always reflect its environmental values perfectly? Or is the perfect eco-conscious business one that isn't perfect at all and that is okay with embracing its imperfection?
To add to the complexity of it all, is eco-conscious even the correct term? What about green, sustainable, eco-friendly, environmental, purposeful, ethical...? Where do you fall within that terminology and how do you know which one to use?
When we started Tortuga Creative Studio 5 years ago, we knew that it was essential for us to have a 'good' business that gave back and used art to change the world for the better. But we haven't always been able to say no to jobs that weren't the perfect fit for our environmental and ocean-focused values. As a fledgling design company, there were times that we had to take what we could get to pay the bills and take care of our families. Although we are now much more established and can say no to jobs that are blatantly against our values (like a plastic water bottle label job that came up last year), we still sometimes have to take on jobs that aren't 100% right.
Navigating the world of eco-conscious business (or however you want to identify it) can be overwhelming at times. We see many small businesses who seem to have it all figured out and wonder how they figured it all out and how do we get to a place where we have it all figured out? How do we make sure that we aren't unintentionally greenwashing our business, how do we know that the client we are working with next is truthful in what they say they believe in, and how do we stop wondering if what we are doing is enough?
We recently heard of the term eco-anxiety, which describes a feeling of overwhelm and insurmountability when you think about the state of the environment and our planet. After learning about eco-anxiety, we realized that we have been bringing a bit of this feeling into our business by questioning if what we are doing is enough and comparing ourselves to others who appear to be doing more.
But honestly, we all have enough anxiety and overwhelm in our lives. It doesn't need to trickle into our business, and it is time to adopt a different mindset and more positive outlook that embraces imperfection and celebrates the little things.
So, whether you can say your business is 100% green, ethical, eco-conscious or not, we want you to know that as long as you are thinking about the planet and using your business to do good as much of the time as you can, that you are winning and you are making a difference.
Don't worry about all of the things you could do and instead celebrate what you are doing.
Don't compare yourselves to others and instead forge your unique way forward.
If you don't live near the ocean, clean up the lake. If you have a sustainable product but not 100% sustainable packaging, you are still doing fantastic. If you can't afford to donate a portion of your income to a charity, donate your time instead.
Don't give way to eco-anxiety or the voice inside your business brain that makes you feel guilty for not doing more. Instead, be proud of the values you have instilled in your business and celebrate all of the conscious planet-forward decisions that you have made.
We will be the first to admit that we are an imperfect 'eco-conscious business. We don't have it all figured out yet. But we are trying, and if all of us try together, we WILL make a difference.