Sustainability is not just a PR exercise - it is a fundamentally profitable approach to business
Last week, a good friend of JNI: London passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Disni Jayasuriya was a beacon of hope and optimism and all who knew her could not help but smile in her presence.
Since her passing, our company has been in a deep state of reflection.
Disni fundamentally changed the way our business operated and changed the vision we had of ourselves over the next 5, 10, and 20 years.
Before Disni – which means shining in Indonesian – JNI was a business that saw sustainability as a necessary, but frustrating diversion, another business cost, an additional overhead. In an interview between Disni and JNI CEO Elizabeth Venz, Disni shattered this thought process and initiated a path towards sustainable enlightenment.
Through meticulous research and ground-breaking surveys, which may seem normal now but were not at the time, Disni explained to JNI’s decision-makers that there is real consumer demand for ethically sourced, compliant products.
She proved that 97% of consumers want to buy products that do not harm people or the environment, and 88% of consumers would happily pay more for these products.
She highlighted the important role businesses have in proving to consumers that when they spend more on ethical products, that they actually are ethical and are not hidden behind murky, half-baked promises.
Since these revelations, JNI has changed drastically and we take communicating with consumers and suppliers a lot more seriously.
Disni’s devotion to sustainability
Disni Jayasuriya was an ambassador for true sustainability. She argued passionately and eloquently that ethical sourcing and using sustainable products was not just an exercise in marketing and public relations.
Sustainability is fundamentally profitable.
Before coming into contact with this amazing woman, we had no idea about this. Sustainability is good for your business in the long-term.
Specifically, Disni Jayasuriya helped JNI: London figure out which factories and suppliers to avoid due to the use of sweatshops or child labour. She highlighted to us the importance of picking the right factory, not just for our own business, but for communities and people in China, Indonesia and elsewhere.
Disni was ahead of her time. She was preaching ideas and ambitions long before the world properly took notice. She was asking the questions that companies everywhere are only just beginning to ask themselves.
The sustainable legacy she left at Jack Nadel International: London
Today, since Disni Jayasuriya left her mark on the organisation, JNI: London is a much-changed brand. We still have a long way to go to become a completely sustainable company and her death has reminded us of this objective.
Our company is unique in that it operates as a middleman between suppliers and clients. Our clients are changing too and are demanding more and more products that are sustainably and ethically sourced.
Merchandising classics such as t-shirts, pens, cotton tote bags, and notebooks – which previously only sold if they were affordable – are now being sold based on their sustainable credentials.
Organic cotton, bioplastic, hemp, recycled cork – these are all hugely popular materials that our biggest clients are demanding from us.
Sustainability is profitable
Sustainability is the optimal solution for any business. Sustainability raises standards, not just of the quality of product but also of the quality of life for everyone involved in the making of the product.
In addition to this, the end-user, the customer, the receiver of the gift is usually far more satisfied. Gone are the days of cheap plastic tat that is good for a few minutes before you forget about it. People want quality and brands want their merchandise to convey quality.
This is sustainable, and profitable, for all involved.
Disni knew this before anyone, and that is why she will be sorely missed.