It has become almost de rigeur for magazines to publish an annual ‘green’ issue. The latest on the shelves is the Tuis/Home September issue that is devoted to all things green. TheMediaOnline caught up with editor Anneke Blaise to ask how faithful they are to the movement, and whether ‘greenwashing’ was a concern.
“It’s important to realise that few products are completely green, as there is a range of factors – such as the carbon footprint, energy consumption in manufacturing, etc – that influence that classification. That said, our main focus is to feature products that are locally produced. After all, there’s no point in showing the most beautiful recycled wine glasses that are imported from Korea – that’s not reducing your carbon footprint at all!” Blaise said.
She pointed out that since the magazine’s inception in 2004, it had taken an “activist” position on recycling. One of the magazine’s editorial pillars is ‘using what you have by “giving your existing items or furniture new life by updating or ‘repurposing’ it, rather than buying new”.
“We showcase energy-efficient options wherever possible, refer our readers to local suppliers and producers and where we do feature imported products, we do with an emphasis on sustainability: for instance, we recently featured a blank-embossed wallpaper that you can paint yourself – hence instead of replacing your wallpaper every few years, you can just repaint it!” Blaise explained.
“We also regularly feature reader homes that puts the focus firmly on creative décor, rather than homes that have been expensively decorated. We believe that ultimately, sustainability and responsible consumerism are important aspects of eco-friendliness,” she said.
Does she live the ethos herself? “I’m proud to say I live out our brand philosophy by renewing, reusing and recycling old items as much as possible – it’s my favourite pastime,” said Blaise. Her favourite green tip is to “do it yourself”.
Clearly, the approach works. In the latest ABC figures, released last week, Tuis/Home was one of the few publications to report a climb in circulation, which now sits at 78 878 a month.
Blaise said the September issue is the complete guide to environmental tips and guidelines, with every story offering readers guidance on how to become more responsible in terms of their carbon footprints.
She said it was difficult to choose her favourite story in the magazine, but said she loved the way homeowners have adopted green ways of living “be it recycling old items or using secondhand building materials, insulating their home or using the sun to its full advantage. In every issue you’ll find examples of how our readers have adopted – and extended – our philosophy and incorporated green living in building, renovating and updating all aspects of their homes”.
Blaise said she tried also to instil green measures in their workspace too. “We are based in the Naspers Centre and our entire lighting system was adapted two years ago – lights now automatically switch off if there are no movement in the office. Also, we of course try to reuse paper where possible i.e. by printing on both sides.
“Company-wide we also have recycle bins to recycle our used paper. As a team, Home staffers also put practicality into place by travelling together to shoots and reccies – and will often double up on locations, shooting for more than one story at a given location, thus greatly reducing our transport costs and so, our carbon footprint,” she said.
Blaise says despite publishing a green issue, the team strives to show that living green is no longer a trend, but a way of life, in every issues. “The fact that we have been growing organically shows that we continue to meet market demands. Our green philosophy is also evident in all the core pillars of the magazine.
“Every issue has a DIY Reclaim project in which we show readers, step by step, how to transform an outdated piece into a fresh showpiece. Our monthly homegrown food from the garden feature is also extremely popular; in it, we not only giving cultivation tips for growing your own produce, but we also follow that through with affordable, easy recipes for your harvest, that incorporate readily-available ingredients,” she said.
“And on the décor front, our Décor Dilemmas feature enables readers to make over their chosen spaces without rebuilding or renovating. What’s more, our gardening section has a strong focus on organic, indigenous and waterwise design and plantings and even in our DIY section we encourage readers to opt for eco-friendly products – we not only name them, but also indicate where they can obtain them.”