A long time ago in a living room far, far away…
The year was 2002, the Commonwealth Games came to Greater Manchester and Northwest England went on the global stage.
The Imperial War Museum in Manchester opened, the nation celebrated the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Brazil knocked us out and won the World Cup… again.
Carbon Creative was just a twinkle in the eye of two creative professionals, Martin and Kate, who had recently moved to Salford and started a family.
Facing redundancy from a Manchester based agency and with two preschool children in tow, the design couple took a deep breath and decided to start their own company, a graphic and web design agency but with a difference. It would advocate sustainable communications, green design practice and raise awareness about climate change.
Our little company was set up with a commitment to become carbon neutral, unusual for any organisation at the time and pretty unheard of for a creative agency. Yet this rationale helped distill the ethos of our company whilst fortuitously helping to resolve the first dilemma of choosing our company name; Carbon Creative was born.
Like most small business start-ups, there was practically no operating capital and money was tight. However, a grant of £1,000 from Salford 100 Venture and a loan of £3,000 from the Prince’s Trust helped buy equipment and resolve initial cash flow.
The fledgling business operated from the family home for the first year until it was stable enough to make the jump to rented offices.
Working initially out of a living room was a challenge, Kate recalls:
I remember one occasion of a customer popping in to brief me on a design project whilst our children were jumping up and down on the sofa. It was quite crazy at times but we worked hard to grow the business to the point that we could afford to rent our first office and employ our first staff. I think most of the customers found those early moments endearing, that particular customer is still with us and has become a family friend as much as a business associate.
Buy one, get one tree…
We believe in sustainable and ethical business and it is something we are very passionate about. We are fully committed to carbon reduction. It’s in our name, it’s in our DNA. More than that though, we want to have a positive effect on our local environment.
In 2006 we set about thinking of ways to do this and our mission began to start planting trees. The easy route for this would of been to pay a carbon offsetting company to plant trees in exotic locations. The problem was it didn’t feel right, we wanted to see tangible results; to roll up our sleeves, dig and help plant the trees and have the pleasure of seeing them enhance the local urban spaces around us.
With the assistance of local rangers, we started a tree planting scheme in our home city of Salford. A tree is planted for every client project in local green spaces and schools, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and improve air quality and biodiversity.
Staff, local community groups, schools and even clients have got involved and helped with the planting of all our trees. The scheme has grown, including supporting local fruit orchards and one client planting their trees in Liverpool!
To date we are super proud to say we have planted thousands of beautiful trees, all dedicated to our lovely clients.
13342 trees planted (so far…)
We plant a tree for every order