What are the advantages of using local London suppliers?

by Simon McClelland Morris
Customer service, Environmental

Using a local supplier in London can lower your carbon footprint

There is a definite link between reducing and shortening your supply chain operations and reducing carbon emissions. Crucially, the less distance your end product has to travel to the final point, the less carbon enters the atmosphere mainly through transporting.

Discover how The Graphical Tree are focusing on lowering environmental impact, there are some key advantages of using a local supplier. We’re aware that producing large format graphics comes with a burden to the environment. We know there is a lot of waste, that some graphics are just temporary, that others just can’t be recycled – and even if they can, some local authorities do not offer a wide gamut of business refuse and recycling options, if they offer any at all. 

For a company like ours looking for a low environmental impact, whilst it’s not immediately easy to obtain, being well informed, having a long term vision and good decision-making allows us to make some gains in creating a sustainable practice. You may have already seen we are a founding print partner and advisor to isla, the sustainable organisation for the event industry – we try to back up our words with action.

As central London slowly becomes less retail orientated, with more apartments and homes appearing, this will bring a variety of stores to the neighbourhoods in artisan food stores, galleries, boutiques, home decor shops, cafes, markets etc.

These types of stores and the clientele who use them are natural community makers. And whist the retail landscape will undoubtedly metamorphosis over the next few years into a more residential mix, the likes of Oxford Street and Regent Street are unlikely to change. But it means, while we’ll be a local resource for the smaller shops, galleries and other businesses that start to flourish and grow, we’ll also remain a local supplier for the central London retail flagship stores. These all fit perfectly into our set-up, along with campaign roll-outs, a bespoke set of graphics produced specially for this high footfall marketplace which draws in local workers, residents and tourists alike.

And while the shops may start to become smaller and more specialised in their offerings, think fruit and veg shops, delicatessens, butchers, dry cleaners etc. this range of smaller enterprises will allow for local, low impact living in the centre of town. 

We’ve noticed while working for many of our local neighbours past and present, Moooi, Bjorn Borg Underwear, Fritz Hansen, Halcyon Gallery, The Social, as well as flagships for Topshop, Oasis, H&M and Uniqlo etc., that operating locally to the end destination of a project gives some counterbalance to the seemingly unavoidable nature of producing large format print. All of these stores, and in fact, anything along the main retail high streets and surrounding areas of Mayfair, Covent Garden, Marylebone, are easily accessible on foot – the size of graphics being delivered permitted, of course. But even if a vehicle is needed, it’s always a short journey that cuts down on emissions.

A few facts we like –

  • Half of our central London staff cycle to work.
  • We use push bikes when possible for deliveries.
  • We often walk a job to you ourselves if time allows, or encourage you to pop by to pick up your graphics on foot (it’s nice to see a friendly face after all)
  • Our main ink and media suppliers are located in London.
  • And our waste supplier is ace!

Talking of which – in Westminster, where our central London HQ and studio is situated, the council does not offer waste removal for businesses. But thankfully as a result we work with a great refuse partner in First Mile. First Mile not only supply a host of individually named bags to help separate your waste into, but they also offer a comprehensive recycling programme including the notoriously difficult to recycle hard plastics. Anything which cannot be re-used or recycled is burnt to create green energy – so no landfill.

Lastly, for you, the user of The Graphical Tree, working with a local graphics supplier in central London allows us to provide a lower impact service, which you intern benefit from. Brands can contribute to a reduction in their own carbon footprint by choosing a local supplier. There’s aren’t many genuine central London large format print companies with production facilities in-house. A lot claim to be, but they are glorified sales offices and production often happens out of town resulting in long-distance delivery methods. When possible, we produce everything for local customers under our roof in W1. Although even the work which we produce in our west London facility is carefully collated and delivered to us together in a single daily drop to our HQ ready for local distribution, all produced using material from a specially selected supplier just down the road from us in the same postcode.

It can make all the difference knowing where your supply chain comes from and the journey it takes to get to you. Being able to retrace your steps to a safe, trusted environment is beneficial, in more ways than one.