Cubitts Redux: repairing, renewing, and thinking differently about business

OT  spoke with Tom Broughton, CEO of Cubitts, about B Corp certification, initiatives to reduce the company’s impact, and a growing demand for repair services

“B Corp was an amazing achievement, but the way we think about it is that it is not a prize, it’s a way of thinking about how we run our business,” Tom Broughton, CEO of Cubitts, told OT, discussing the company’s recent B Corp certification, which arrived this spring.

Earlier this year, Cubitts opened a new practice in Hackney, making the site a hub for the some of the company’s sustainability-focused initiatives.

OT took a tour of the site, a former pie and mash shop, and took the opportunity to ask Broughton about these initiatives, and Cubitts’ B Corp certification.

“What a B Corp means is that it is a different type of business,” Broughton explained. “It is an audit process to assess us based on a whole range of values: everything from how we treat our team to our impact in carbon footprint, to how we think about customers.”

The company was “really proud” to have achieved the certification, which is “very stringent,” Broughton said.

"What this will allow us to do is hopefully make future decisions about how we grow as a company and as a brand, considering a wide range of stakeholders,” he shared.

Cubitts operates a number of initiatives under the banner of ‘Redux,’ which aim to reduce the overall impact of the company and brand, but also “hopefully turn us into a modern, progressive business.”

Through the Anew service, Cubitts takes in customers’ old frames, revives them, and sells them on to a new customer, “who will enjoy them as much as the first.”

The brand is also exploring new materials, with Redux, which turns the waste acetate from frame production into a new sheet material, which can be used to continue making new frames.

Internally, the company has migrated to a new blockless glazing process, which reduces water consumption by around 98%, and is also working to remove single use plastics and move to recyclable and biodegradable paper.

Broughton explained that people are often surprised that these services are available, sharing: “I think one of the biggest impediments is making people aware and allowing people to have higher standards and expectations.

“One of the issues over the past few decades is the decline of things like repair services. If people break a frame or a hinge, their expectation is that they might have to buy something new. But our focus is very much on renew rather than replace,” he continued.

Educating customers that repair and renew services exist “is a good thing for everybody,” he added.

With the general change in the way people think about reducing consumption, Broughton suggested Cubitts’ reglazing, repair and frame services, “get more popular every week and month and we see that continuing inexorably.”