The Marketing Store’s Pamela Stathaki on the firm’s holistic approach to sustainability in toy design

Pamela Stathaki, The Marketing Store
Earlier this year, consumer engagement agency The Marketing Store (TMS) achieved certification to The Planet Mark, an internationally recognised sustainability certification.

We caught up with Pamela Stathaki, Head of Sustainability at TMS, to find out more about what’s involved in gaining the certification, and dig into how the firm approaches sustainability when it comes to toy design.

Hi Pamela; so earlier this year, The Marketing Store achieved certification to The Planet Mark. For those unaware, what is this certification and what did you guys have to do to earn it?
The Planet Mark is a sustainability certification which recognises continuous improvements and encourages businesses to take action in making more environmentally friendly decisions.

In order to achieve the certification, we had to measure and review our environmental data to truly understand the impact we are having. We are then measured on this with the goal being a 5% reduction in carbon emissions year on year. Therefore, this is a not one-time achievement but a long-term commitment which we are fully embracing and excited to achieve!

Amazing. Congrats on that! And looking ahead, are there any initiatives under way at TMS to ensure the good work continues?
Currently, the certification relates to our offices in Europe – London, Leeds, Paris and Duisburg. However, going forward we are hoping to branch this out to include our other offices in Chicago and Hong Kong.

We have created a global network of sustainability champions who are critical in driving our data collection, employee engagement, various sustainability initiatives and overall awareness.

We have created roadmaps to make sure we are hitting targets on time, we will review our travel policies, continue to improve our recycling, we have provided employees with lots of ways they can continue to act sustainably while we are all working remotely from home, and we have even created a Sustainability award in our internal annual employee awards!

Part of the certification involves you taking the challenge to your supply chain; how has this been? Are you finding partners and clients are equally keen to adopt some of these best practices?
We have always worked closely with our toy supply chain. As our clients define their goals, we constantly update and collaborate with our toy supply chain to find ways to support them achieving this.

For example, we have run sustainability workshops with them to ensure our suppliers have sustainability training and understanding of client expectations. Most importantly, this way of thinking is not just an add on, it is very much embedded in our supplier engagement process, STEP (Supplier Transformation Excellence Programme). More recently, our STEP program was shortlisted as a finalist for The Planet Mark Awards, for the supplier engagement category.

Specifically, for the Planet Mark Certification, we have really been focusing on the agency office-based activities to achieve this. We have made some fantastic changes in terms of our agency supply chain – from our electricity and energy suppliers, stationery, our cleaning company, catering companies and more. We are making a conscious effort to work with environmentally responsible companies. It is definitely a collective effort and we can’t do it without the right partners. For us, it’s a win-win situation!

Absolutely. And on the subject of sharing best practices, are there any learnings or changes you’ve made that you think are achievable for other firms working in the toy design space?
We have taken a holistic approach to sustainability in toy design.

A main element of our approach is to educate our toy designers and engineers, which is one of the best ways to integrate sustainability in the design process. Therefore, we have carried out a series of sustainable design workshops. I took everyone through the basic principles of how to consider sustainable materials from the inception of the idea, right through to end of life, making sure we are considering the full circular economy. Our Research and Development teams are constantly testing new materials for suitability, the primary areas being quality, safety and environmental. It’s a lengthy process but we are making progress all the time.

The important thing to note is that we are all in this together. Every single one of us needs to work towards a more environmentally friendly world. Sustainability shouldn’t be a separate function; it should be embedded in everyone’s role. This is why educating and providing tools to our designers is key to our sustainability goals. We should all take responsibility to make sure our actions and work is more sustainable.

I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for taking time out for this Pamela, and congrats to you and the wider TMS team on all you’re doing in this area.


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