Over the last few years VST has been working with a number of clients across the circular economy landscape, allowing us to get an inside look into the industry and its core principles. Going into 2023, VST have decided to explore the circular economy as an additional expertise channel – with the goal of becoming industry sector specialists in this field.

“To remain relevant, all businesses are having to embrace a new way of working and the changes can be huge especially when working towards net zero. By educating ourselves early, it allows us to further help our clients or at the very least least talk the same language when discussing environmental impact and also how outsourcing their sales can actually assist with their targets” – Andrew Smart

As a result of these progressions, we recently held a Q&A style discussion with two senior members of the VST team to discuss all things Circular Economy. Below are some of the takeaway points and key quotes outlined by Louise Howson (Managing Director) and Andrew Smart (Founder of VST and now Solutions Director) throughout the discussion. 

What changes have VST made in relation to the circular economy model?

“We’re putting serious time into educating ourselves on how we can become more green. In everything we do here at VST, whether that be our hybrid working model, green qualifications, carbon literacy and environmentally driven changes ” – Andrew Smart

VST has already begun to transition by implementing changes for their staff such as a hybrid working model.

“The fact that we have a high performing hybrid workforce already, is an excellent start because only three years ago we were fully office based. During covid we went fully remote but now after testing various scenarios we’ve settled on a 50:50 hybrid model which is working really well” – Andrew Smart

Looking at new ways of working ourselves, we’ve been looking into any potential ‘green qualifications’ for our staff – almost as a way of ‘practicing what we preach’ but also to get a really good understanding of exactly what’s happening. 

“We’re looking at some educational programmes too, where we might start creating some internally, enabling our staff to obtain green qualifications internally and externally – so that is very much on the horizon. 

I think the point is, we want to become industry sector specialists in the circular economy. We’re already working with several leading and large brands, but we want also want to work in the mid market of that particular field as well.” – Andrew Smart

VST understand that the small changes make a big impact, by buying supplies in bulk, moving to bottles rather than plastics, being paperless, car sharing and moving office to a countryside business park with EV Chargers for example, they hope to be heading in the right direction.

“We’re quite an efficient business already really, we went through this a couple of years ago by cutting out unnecessary waste, and going paperless etc. but it really is a continuous journey and needs to permanently be on the agenda.” – Andrew Smart

How do the circular economies key principles align with VST’s?

“We’re working on a new business plan at the moment actually. Which will redefine our business streams and direct our future sales and marketing efforts etc. So, as part of that we will be republishing our own green promise footprints to ensure we are aligned with the people that we serve” – Andrew Smart

VST understands that there is a lot of work to do to achieve climate change goals and net zero targets. They are currently in the process of developing their pledges towards a greener footprint to ensure alignment with the people they work with and their own company targets. One point expressed from both Andrew Smart and Louise Howson is the ‘only use what we need’ philosophy. 

“We’ve have a drive to educate ourselves better in that sector as well, Andrew is travelling out to Dublin to find out more information and network with companies working in the space currently. Our team have also been attending webinars to understand the sector and the climate challenges a little better. Things that we’ve done personally as a business, include our hybrid working model, sourcing green energy and going paperless. We have also taken on a smaller office space to ensure we’re not using lots of unnecessary energy to heat or operate a large office. We are only using what we need. – Louise Howson

VST plan for all steps they take going forward to touch back to these points.

“It was always part of our plan to create a green team, this is now a reality” – Andrew Smart

VST has a range of remote workers throughout Scotland and Belfast. Allowing meetings to be online reduces air miles and emissions and increases accessibilities for remote work. VST hopes that these opportunities provide a feel good factor for staff motivation and recruitment along with improved company culture. 

What drove these changes for VST? 

“It fits with our business model. Having a virtual sales team rather than hundreds of reps out on the road, burning fossil fuels, is a step towards new ways of operating and demonstrating green credentials whilst introducing and marketing their particular products and services.” – Andrew Smart

VST believes it is morally the right thing to do. Being an early adopter allows for VST to provide the most relevant service to their clients’ businesses to promote maximum growth, secondary comes the opportunity.  

“We want to narrow the number of industries we work with to become more specialised allowing us to gain and use better precise language and knowledge” – Andrew Smart

Trying to align their clients and company ethos, VST does a lot of work on behalf of charities. 

“It also helps with staff motivation. If we’re doing good, the charity we’re working on behalf of is doing well and they are doing good for the communities they are looking to serve. This drives a high level of staff satisfaction.” – Louise Howson

Andrew Smart added:

“The feeling of ‘doing good’ helps our recruitment, staff retention and company culture. Our staff enjoy working on behalf of charities and the next focus for them is circular economy.” – Andrew Smart

Louise Howson finished by saying:

“We have always had a sharp focus on health and well being and a work life balance culture. Part of your overall well being is enjoyment and satisfaction in your job, knowing that you are ‘doing good’ makes you feel good! – Louise Howson 

The team at VST are on board with the drive towards net zero and a better environment for all, they have the ability to get their clients’ vision and message to market quickly, in volume, and cost effectively..

“We want to work with traditional businesses to help them embrace new ways of working.” – Andrew Smart

Members of VST are attending the International Conference on Circular Economy and Sustainability in June. If you are interested in finding out more about the event or how VST can support your business click here to visit or LinkedIn to get in contact. 

Do you want to get your next lead generation campaign right? Contact Andrew or Louise today for a free consultation.

Are you interested in joining a future Q&A?   

At VST, we’re open to collaboration from industry experts across the Sales and Marketing industry. If you wish to participate in a future Q&A, be sure to contact us on LinkedIn or through our Contact Us page

Don’t forget to connect with those involved in the Q&A on LinkedIn and continue the discussion: 

Andrew Smart – Solutions Director