The Sound Lounge is a music venue, arts organisation for ‘all people of all backgrounds at all times'. We want to bring people together through music, art and healthy, delicious food without causing harm to people or planet.
Why is sustainability important to you?
Our connection with the planet is critical to our personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of our communities. It is as fundamental as the air we breathe and the food we eat. We cannot be healthy if we are relentlessly consuming harmful toxins and contaminating the water we drink with unnecessary chemicals for example. When we come together as a small group of people to grow veg to make up a meal or fix up old appliances which would otherwise be destined for landfill, we are engaging in something extremely meaningful, sharing in a common goal and tapping into what makes us human with all our innovation and creativity, without hurting anything or anyone.
Sustainability can also bring enormous benefits to our local (and wider) economy. The tech world is responding to the climate crisis and constantly producing new ways of operating that is far more tender and gives us as individuals and business owners occasion to grow without causing harm. The way nature does!
As far as we are concerned the future is exciting and hopeful because of the lessons the planet is offering us now, but obviously only if we can hear those lessons and act on them. The time has to be now.
What environmental issues particularly resonate with your business?
It is very difficult to identify a particular environmental issue that resonates with us most because they are all so interlinked. Our ethos is to tread as gently as possible. Every single item we use in our kitchen, bar or cafe is either produced by us, comes from a carbon-neutral/B-Corp supplier, is local or has some kind of sustainability certification (such as UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification).
Of course we sell coffee, for example, and we know that growing and transporting coffee has a carbon cost. We are extremely mindful of that (which is why our coffee comes from a family-run, like-minded roaster in the borough). Our aim is to reduce our carbon footprint (we are currently being assessed for carbon neutral accreditation) and to run as sustainably as possible. We want to do this not only to reduce the amount of emissions we generate, but because we want to demonstrate to other businesses and individuals in their homes that there are ways of doing things that reduce harm and can even lead to carbon and/or environmental positive effects without the cost and effort that is often associated with greener practices.
What are you currently doing to be more sustainable?
All our food and drink is plant based and our menu is completely seasonal; in sync with the planet. Our ingredients are sourced as ethically, locally and as sustainably as possible. All our cakes, breads & doughs are baked in-house. Our wines are carbon neutral. Our teas are carbon neutral. Our oat milk is carbon neutral. Our coffee is Rainforest Alliance & UTZ certified and roasted locally and our beers are brewed locally.
We are currently developing our own allotment garden in which we will be growing produce for use in our kitchen. It’s an exciting project which will make us more accountable and more sustainable than ever before and we will be involving the local community as soon as it is set up.
In addition to the above our energy is 100% green & renewable in our Sutton site and we will be offering local green delivery via e-bikes.
We are currently looking into transferring all of our cleaning products to an ocean-safe range. We are looking into whether these will be EHO approved.
Why would you encourage other businesses to become a Business Champion?
Whilst we can make a great impact via our own businesses and business-communities, our impact is vastly greater when we work together. Being a business champion offers us the opportunity to share the benefits of reducing our carbon emissions and allows us to encourage other businesses to take similar action, learning from our mistakes and successes along the way.
What are your long term/short term sustainability objectives?
We will be launching our growing project in 2021 so that our ingredients are grown by us without the use of any pesticides ,weed killers, (chemical) growth promoters and without, therefore the carbon cost that comes with transport. Not only will this make our kitchen more sustainable, but by engaging the community in our seed to plate growing programme, it will help others to feel more connected to the food they eat and hopefully inspire them to grow themselves at home.
We hope to achieve our carbon neutral accreditation in 2021 but we will not be stopping there. We are part of the UN Climate Neutral Now initiative already and we are looking into B-Corp certification.
Hannah White, The Sound Lounge
Find out more about becoming a Business Champion and join Merton's Business Network for Climate Action HERE.