An entrepreneur who set up a luxury accessories brand using recycled products has spoken to Tees Valley business leaders about the benefits of running a sustainable company.
Kresse Wesling MBE was speaking at the first Business Exchange event of the year at Teesside University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development in Darlington.
Kresse is a multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader with a background in venture capital and significant start-up experience.
After first meeting with the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Kresse launched Elvis & Kresse, which turns industrial waste into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to charities related to the waste. Elvis & Kresse’s first line is made from decommissioned fire hose.
The company now collects 12 different waste streams, has several charitable partnerships and is involved with collaborations across industries, from fashion houses to FTSE 100 companies.
The Business Exchange is a network of senior leaders from businesses and organisations in the North East and North Yorkshire, with events held at the University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development throughout the year.
At the latest Business Exchange, Kresse talked about how she established her business and why she feels it is important to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill by trying to find new uses for it.
By recycling offcuts from the leather industry, she was able to turn waste with potential landfill costs of £600+ into luxury goods worth over £100,000.
She said: “To be a truly circular economy, we have to think of all natural resources as being permanently in use.”
She added: “We need to completely and dynamically change the value of waste and if we do that we will change people’s perception of waste.”
Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise at Teesside University, said: “Kresse has turned her passion for the environment into a successful business that is influencing the behaviour of global players. She gave us all some real food for thought about our attitudes to waste and the part we all have to play in achieving real sustainability.”
For more information on services to business at Teesside University visit www.tees.ac.uk/business