VivaGreen: Innovation in Sustainable Products
Business Type: Research, develop & manufacture innovative, sustainable products for retail and commercial markets
Location: Dublin, Ireland
No. of Employees: 16
VivaGreen has been operating since 1992 with the sole purpose to develop an innovative range of biodegradable, chemical-free and recycled products to substitute the myriad of harmful chemical and plastic-based products used in our homes and workplaces every day. VivaGreen is a world leader in the research and development of these materials and are committed to making products that are not only the greenest but of the highest quality too.
Overview of CSR Initiative:
CSR is at the core of what VivaGreen do and stand for. The success of VivaGreen and the communities within which it operates requires a commitment to the sustainable management activities. These commitments can be broken down into four main areas: Social Impact, Environment, Ethical Sourcing, and Youth, Education and Research.
2 engineers: Russell Walsh / Garrett Walsh
Adequately resourced internally at the moment but will need to expand engineering resource as our product range and distribution channels grow.
1) Identifying sustainable substitute product materials with similar cost base to the harmful products to allow our products to be competitive.
2) Our products, which are made from sustainable materials, must perform at least as well as the non-environmentally friendly products they are replacing.
Increased turnover in markets across the world as consumers and businesses switch to more sustainable products and practices.
For us as a business it has been game-changing. We have grown turnover by 100% in last 2 years and +65% of turnover is exported. So our products are not only helping Ireland but helping the world.
How was/is this initiative promoted?
Marketing through social media, website SEO, PR, consumer & trade exhibitions, distributors, etc.
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.
• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.
Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?
VivaGreen is committed to researching and developing innovative products made from renewable resources. Where possible these products are made locally allowing us to minimise our carbon footprint. These products are not only the greenest products but are also of the highest quality too.VivaGreen’s mission is to develop products such that when they have served their function they will break down into natural by-products with no environmental impact.
Here are examples of how our products achieve this:
Our GreenStake Landscape Stakes are made from by-products of the vegetable processing industry. They are used for numerous applications including pinning turf, weed-barriers, tents, etc. To date metal and plastic pins have been used but their function is only required for a short period of time after which they remain in the ground for many years. GreenStakes disappear completely within 12-18 months breaking down into carbon dioxide, water and humus (soil).
Our GreenSax Compostable Bin Bag Range, the 1st compostable bag range on retail shelves to line the brown organic waste bins. Again, they are made from vegetable matter and disappear after they serve their function when they are disposed of with the organic waste in commercial or domestic composting systems.
Our MossOff Chemical-Free was developed, patented and produced in Ireland by us is the world’s only chemical-free product to get rid off moss and algae off any surface anywhere, whether it is on your patio, drive, deck, fence, roof or even your lawn. Because it is chemical-free it is completely safe to use around people, pets, plants and pond-life, hence there is none of the small text regarding safety or warning symbols showing dead fish on our labels. The regulatory authorities around Europe governing the use of garden chemicals, including Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, have deemed, after a lengthy evaluation process, that MossOff Chemical-Free falls outside the biocide regulations governing all other garden chemicals, the only product in the world to have this status.
This means that none of the restrictions in handling, use or storage that apply to all other chemicals apply to MossOff Chemical-Free which means it can be used freely and safely around the home and workplace without risk. We see this product as a truly ground-breaking and innovative step in the mammoth task to compete against and reduce the world-wide, high-volume use of chemicals and their impact on people and the environment.
(Pictured Above: Diarmuid Gavin with MossOff Chemical Free VivaGreen Product)
A new initiative (and direction) being undertaken by VivaGreen, resulting in the development of our ReMade Range, is set to tackle the mountain of plastic waste being generated in Ireland on a daily basis, some of which is being recycled with the balance being landfilled, incinerated or worse still ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a valuable commodity and this initiative is part of a strategy by VivaGreen to keep this value within the economy by diverting more of this waste stream into making other useful, everyday products. The first of these products to come under our ReMade brand is a range of refuse sacks made in Ireland from 100% post-consumer plastic waste collected from Irish homes and businesses. We are collecting waste, cleaning it, re-pelletising it and blow moulding our plastic bags. Over 98% of plastic bags sold in Ireland through retail stores are made in the Far East containing no recycled plastic content. Therefore, ReMade is a truly sustainable solution as it is not only helping to tackle Ireland’s own plastic waste problem here in Ireland but is also creating employment here. This is the true definition of a circular economy.
EthicalSourcing: VivaGreen products are made from natural origins and sustainable sources, these ingredients are ethically sourced and sustainably produced.
Youth, Education and Research: VivaGreen is committed to educating a new generation to encourage the green movement, being actively involved in local community and helping local projects drives this message. Research with customers, communities and environmental experts is vital to VivaGreen as this uncovers problem areas sparking the development of new, green solutions.
Social Impact: VivaGreen products are designed to allow individuals, companies and communities to substitute harmful products with environmentally friendly alternatives. Partnerships with local communities and local projects allows an opportunity to support causes that are making a positive impact. This support can include education, product samples and man-power.
By continually adhering to the points above, it allows VivaGreen to have a positive social impact on our business and employees, the suppliers which we source from, the customers who use our products and the communities in which we operate.
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
Since we have started business we have substituted:
• over 285,000kgs of plastic and metal stakes with our biodegradable GreenStake range.
• over 325,000kgs of plastic bin bags with our GreenSax compostable bag range.
• close to 500,000 litres of chemical-based moss killer with our MossOff Chemical-Free.
• over 20,000kgs of virgin-plastic bin bags (imported from Far East) with our 100% post-consumer Irish plastic waste ReMade bin bags.
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
SDG 9: Industry, innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and Communities
SDG 12: Responsible production & consumption
SDG 14: Life below water
SDG 15: Life on land
What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
CSR is at the core of what we do and stand for. By other businesses adopting CSR initiatives this will help drive demand for products such as ours. We need to keep watching and listening to what the markets require as companies (and individuals) need to adjust their thinking, purchasing and practices to being more considerate of the world around them. This will feed into future product development at VivaGreen.
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
Your customers are expecting you to adopt a more responsible approach in how you operate your business. It is becoming a key element in the marketing strategy of any business in order to maintain existing customers and attract new business.