Sustainability is driving the success of Sussex, the only Australian tapware company to manufacture its products locally and operate a foundry at its workshop in Melbourne.
Sussex is able to incorporate the highest standards of sustainability into its manufacturing processes, operating the only foundry of its kind, where it melts and reuses the brass shavings left over from the machining of its unique products.
Sussex also maintains a low carbon footprint due to its wholly local production. Furthermore, the exceptional quality of both material and exacting engineering makes for durable pieces designed to last for many years in the home.
It’s all part of how a reinvigorated Sussex, owned and operated by husband and wife team George and Vanessa Katsanevakis, is carving a niche for itself by selling high-end tapware to design-conscious consumers, architects and designers.
In delivering to this market, sustainable processes are built into the very DNA of the Sussex manufacturing process, as managing director George Katsanevakis explains.
“Because we are the only Australian tapware manufacturer who is still making all its products in Australia, we have a much greater ability to embed sustainability at every step of the process,” Katsanevakis says.
Sussex creates all its products from three sites in Somerton, Melbourne.
“Our focus is on quality not quantity and we run a vertically integrated manufacturing process where we can control every step of the process,” Katsanevakis says.
“Sustainability is integrated at every step; we have our foundry, which recycles the brass shavings from machining and we don’t import our products, which means low carbon miles.
“And our products are designed to last for decades to come. All these elements are hard-wired into what we do. They’re not add-ons,” Katsanevakis explains.
With more than a decade in the sector, Katsanevakis has a depth of knowledge on the subject of sustainability and manufacturing. Under his watch, Sussex has introduced energy-efficient lighting and equipment, and switched to green energy.
“Our philosophy is all about optimising our manufacturing capabilities in order to produce the best possible tapware here in Australia while achieving maximum sustainability,” says Katsanevakis.
“From an Australian manufacturing point of view, we want to produce a product that has the lowest carbon footprint and is the most economically viable. We are definitely targeting that ‘green tag’ as a manufacturer.”
And the market is catching on to Sussex’s visionary approach. The company has experienced double-digit revenue growth, 20 per cent per annum, since the GFC.
Katsanevakis says architects, interior designers and discerning consumers are increasingly demanding high-quality, sustainable products.
“There is certainly an awareness there now. People are beginning to recognise our brand for our foundry and investment in green energy. They know we do these things to deliver a world-class product that is on par with anything else coming out internationally and see the value of this in all our products.”
Katsanevakis also believes that sustainability is something many other businesses in Australia could benefit from integrating.
“If you look at Australian businesses with similar models to us – onshore, high-value adding, built on excellence rather than competing in a race to the bottom – then I think we’ll see sustainability become increasingly a part of that.
“Whether those manufacturers are in lighting or furniture design, or really any product, they really need to consider it. Because it’s definitely something that consumers are evolving to expect and demand from a local manufacturer. You need to have those sustainable credentials to be a true success.”