MARK Product secures £38k grant
A £38,000 grant from BIG Productivity is helping Cornish furniture company MARK Product position itself as a leader in the sustainable contract furniture market.
The Cornish brand is part of Hart Miller Design, which has been operated by co-founders John Miller and Anna Hart, for the past 14 years.
Redruth-based MARK Product, which stands for Made And Realised in Kernow, is an established furniture design and manufacturing company which produces high-quality pieces for the business to business market.
The company, working with suppliers across the region, makes furniture for use in offices, universities and hospitality interiors and has worked for high-profile businesses and brands such as the BBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sony Playstation and a range of universities including the Royal College of Art and King’s College London.
Sustainable production was a founding principle of the company and when climate action came firmly on the public agenda in 2019, John and Anna set up a project within the company called ‘Do Net Good’ with the aim to formalising their commitments and their journey to net carbon zero by 2030, in line with the Science Based Targets Initiative.
As part of that ambition, MARK Product is using funding from BIG Productivity to progress their sustainable credentials with the aim to grow their business, which has just relocated to a new, purpose-built premises at Polhigey Mine, Carnmenellis, near Redruth
“When we started sustainability was seen as a bit of niche interest. Now thankfully climate change is top of everyone's agenda,” said John. “Being sustainable has now become an essential part of many projects within the industry we work in, and our evidence-based approach ensures we are able to demonstrate how and where our business makes an impact.”
Anna added: “BIG funding has helped us achieve a number of different things. It’s meant we’ve gone through a body of work that has allowed us to build this huge growth of knowledge. We’ve been able to define our values that reflect who we are, what we do and how we do it, a rulebook for our sustainable design and making processes. We are leaders in our industry but we didn’t project that very well. We’re now able to better articulate and market the sustainable work we are doing in a distinctive way.”
Thanks to BIG funding, MARK Product carried out the extensive work needed to achieve sought-after Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), an accreditation which demonstrates the sustainability of a piece of furniture.
The funding has also been used to redesign MARK Product’s website, making it easier for their business clients to see the firm’s commitments, actions and green credentials as well as download EPDs for projects.
The team from MARK worked with local design agency A-side Studio, web developers Ampersand, and with sustainability consultants Element 4, who put together an environmental audit and wrote up an action plan with the company.
John, Anna and the team heard about BIG Productivity through networking with other businesses. They have also taken advantage of other business support opportunities in Cornwall, including coaching from Oxford Innovation. The team is also hoping to work with the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) in the near future.
John added: “As well as being the right thing to do, being sustainable is also a really important business opportunity for us. By addressing the barriers to entry by obtaining our accreditation, and letting people know we are strong in this area as we promote ourselves more, we can make the most of that opportunity. We are going to achieve greater productivity by growing, and we are going to develop in an area that we are truly passionate about.”
BIG Productivity is a £3.1m fund that offers grants from £2,500 up to £50,000 to qualifying small and medium-sized businesses in Cornwall to boost their productivity.
BIG Productivity is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme and is delivered by Cornwall Council.