Founded in 2010 by Jennifer Nini, Eco Warrior Princess covers the topics that matters — sustainable fashion, conscious businesses, green politics, feminism, eco beauty, wellness, green technology — in an analytical, intelligent and honest way.
Wouldn’t it be great if every dollar we put towards a purchase from a company, we knew it wasn’t just causing zero harm but, also going towards something beneficial for people or the planet?
Well, there’s actually a credible certification and community called B Corp to show that a business is using business as a force for good. This is an extensive certification process, meaning if you buy from any of the below you know your money is going to a good company.
‘Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.’
Everyone’s favourite outdoor activist brand that is socially and environmentally focused – Patagonia. They have been a certified B Corporation since 2011. Some examples of the brands good deeds include; using environmentally friendly and innovative materials, giving 1% of sales to grassroots organisations and fair trade certified supply chains.
We’re in business to save our home planet. We aim to use the resources we have – our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations – to do something about it”.
Glam Corner is Australia’s answer to Rent the Runway; the fashion-tech company originated in 2012. The business aims to reduce textile landfill waste by changing the way Australian women consume fashion – encouraging them to instead rent, wear and return. They also ensure all supply chains including sub-suppliers and temporary staff are fairly paid.
These Brazilian ecological sneakers have been getting more and more popular over the last few years. Founded in 2005, Veja uses a transparent supply chain, fair-trade sourcing, organic materials and zero chemicals. They are sold through various online sites including The Iconic, Well Made Clothes and Hype DC.
This Australian and New-York based luxury fashion brand believes in the positive impact of clothing. Arnsdorf pushes for transparency, ethical production, environmentally friendly practices and reducing waste through limited production runs. The factory is in Collingwood, Melbourne and everything is done in-house to ensure transparency and ethical supply chains.
The sustainable denim Queensland-based brand of dreams makes fashionable and premium, ethical denim to support vulnerable women. The brand offers training and ethical employment for women rescued from exploitation in Cambodia. You may also recognise the brand from Meghan Markle wearing them on a visit to Australia and sales rocketing by 948% as a result of the media exposure.
This family-owned brand has been running for over 14 years in Australia, the perfect alternative lifestyle brand for certified organic cotton, fair-trade and vegan wear and sneakers. Etiko campaigns for businesses that respects and protects human rights, with fair trade certification an essential aspect of their business.
Kusaga Athletic is a pioneer in the ethical and sustainable apparel space, pushing profit for purpose. The athletic brand aims to use the latest innovative textiles, for example The Greenest Tee is made from a unique blend of natural fibres without compromising practicality. Considering nearly all athletic apparel is made of plastic which ends up in the ocean as microfibers, innovative athletic apparel is an essential area!
This ethical and sustainable fashion marketplace is a unique site, allowing users to shop by cause or collection (for example, Living Wage, Eco Friendly, Empowering Women etc). The Thread Harvest marketplace has a wide range of products from apparel, skin-care to jewellery. Not only is this site B Corp certified, they have previously won a Good Design Award.
The athletic apparel industry is seriously polluting, which is where perfomance brand OORR comes in – planting five trees for every garment sold. Not only do they think forward, the clothing is made with 30-100% recycled material. OORR also contributes 5% of revenue to support Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Velokhaya.
This little New Zealand-based brand provides ethical employment and education for workers in developing countries. Little Yellow Bird (LYB) makes corporate uniforms, kitchen aprons and ethical basics such as tees and hoodies. Its apparel is 100% organic rain-fed cotton, fair-trade and ethically produced in India.
Note: This letter was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.
What would you create if you weren’t doing it for the likes?
So today, in Australia (and other regions I since learned) Instagram has made the decision to remove the ‘likes’ count in an effort to improve well-being of users and enhance community spirit, since it’s become clear that people were linking their self-esteem to the number of likes they were receiving on each post and thus degrading the platform experience to nothing more than a high school popularity competition.
“From today Australian Instagram users will no longer see the number of ‘likes’ an Instagram post receives, in a major shakeup announced by the social media giant.” This is the best news to come out about Insta in recent years as it will help to reduce people’s addiction to the likes and personally, I was sick of the vanity metrics and the game playing (because of the “algorithm limiting audience reached” we received yet another couple of emails from ‘influencers’ asking to be in these effing ‘like’ pods where we all like each other’s sh*t, *massive eye roll* yeh because that’s so ‘ethical’, thanks but no thanks) and how boring Insta had become because of it. We can all get back to being creative now that people aren’t making it a competition for ‘likes’ aka social point scoring blah blah. Less competition, less stress, less vanity. Better social experience all around in my opinion!”
It’s common knowledge in our community that I had fallen out of love with social media in recent years, particularly Instagram and Facebook (read my post, “Why I’ve Chosen Not to Delete Facebook Just Yet“) but I may learn to once again enjoy recreational time on Instagram with this new change.
Now if you’re in a region that’s impacted by the Instagram change, how do you feel? Feel free to reply to this email if you’re keen to share your thoughts.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching, reading and listening to this week:
Bullshit Jobs, Hidden Brain. For people who feel their jobs are meaningless. If you’ve ever had a job where you had to stop and ask yourself “what am I doing here” and felt that if you quit, no one would be affected or even notice, this podcast show is recommended.
Tanya Plibersek on women in politics, A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard (so thrilled that the former Australian PM has started a podcast to encourage more women into Australian politics! Hells to the yes!)
Currently, developed cities across the world account for about 71 to 76 percent of global carbon emissions. This does not come as a surprise; from the concrete used in buildings to factories and cars, cities are a carbon cesspool. According to the United Nations, by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Now, short of a worldwide reduction in population, the prospects of changing this are slim.
In some sort of karmic coincidence though; these cities according to the United Nations, are probably to be the worst hit in the coming climate crisis. This means that any progress to be made in the reduction of carbon emissions would have to be focused primarily on the developed cities. Thus, the challenge is twofold; we are charged to build cities that will emit less carbon and withstand the impacts of the climate crises.
In response to this charge, governments, companies, and startups scattered across the globe have earnestly begun to design cities which are more sustainable and at the same time, climate-change proof. Below are a few impressive examples of urban design developments.
1. Technology-driven ecosystems of the future
These are cities designed to be completely self-sustaining, which is why I label them ecosystems. In most cases, they are being built completely from scratch with an intention that they be completely carbon neutral or carbon negative.
The most prominent of these cities so far is the Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. The city was designed to have no pollution whatsoever because when completed, its energy would be solely generated from wind, hydrogen and select solar-photovoltaic sources. The city will rely on underground transport pods for transportation. Even the waste water will be treated and recycled into irrigation systems. While the city has not been a runaway success commercially, it has provided a blueprint on how to develop sustainable cities.
The more successful South Korean city of Songdo may not have been entirely designed as a green city, but it is definitely a smart and sustainable one. The city was built on an urban plan goal to reduce cars through the use of transit bus stops fitted 12 minutes from everywhere else. Also, 40 percent of the city is made of greenery and fifteen miles of bike lanes crisscross the city. The city already boasts of over 100 LEED certified buildings and is aiming for LEED Certification at a neighbourhood scale.
2. The ‘back to nature’ cities
In its natural state, the earth is probably the most sustainable and circular city that can be created. Much of this is the way mankind existed for long periods of time. Houses were built with sustainable materials, and carbon emissions was held at bay.
So to prepare for the future, some designers and urban planners are looking to the past. Cities that reference the nature’s self-sustaining system mimic the state of the natural environment in their development. In England, the Sherford City Project is a noteworthy example. The developers relay that building materials are being sourced within a 50-80 mile radius of the city. The city also boasts of other features such as new wildlife corridors and kilometres of hedgerows transplanted to save seed banks. The majority of buildings when completed will have solar power systems, and vegetation will cover the roofs of commercial buildings.
In Sweden, the city of Malmo uses an aquifer storage system to collect rainwater that’s pumped using energy from the turbine to eventually heat homes in the winter and cool homes during the summer. Vegetated roofs and walls are being made part of mandatory building codes, another promising sustainable urban development that cities around the world can learn from and implement.
3. Going green: City upgrades
While new sustainable cities spring up across the world, other cities have taken the challenge by redesigning their existing cities. From energy to transportation, these redesigns and upgrades are all geared towards making the transition into more sustainable environments.
In transportation, cities are designing infrastructure to encourage the use of bicycles. One shining example is the Danish capital Copenhagen, the world?’s most bike-friendly city. The city is building four bicycle bridges and an additional one hundred and four miles of new regional cycle highways. The efforts are paying off; 62 percent of trips to work or school are taken by bike. Copenhageners cycle 894,000 miles every day. In Amsterdam, the city has an ambitious new plan for 2022 that focuses on improving bicycle parking and existing bicycle infrastructure.
But by far the most popular form of upgrades has been the addition of green areas and structures across cities. In London, The Edible Bus Stop is tackling the city?’s pollution with playful ideas like creating an Edible Bus Route where herbs and edible flowers are planted in and around the bus terminus. In Paris, there are plans to build a 54-meter high vertical ‘forest’ planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers. And Milan is planting three million trees to greenify its city.
4. Urban agriculture
An estimated 55 percent of the world’s population live in cities and urban areas but in contrast, these urban areas produce only about one percent of the world’s food. Typically, food travels thousands of miles to satiate the voracious appetites of city dwellers, and the obvious solution to minimise food mils is for cities grow their own food. However, it is not as simple as that; cities only occupy two percent of the earth’s landmass.
The US food start-up Aero Farms is pioneering vertical farming solutions. The company is proposing to build a 78,000 square foot vertical farm that would grow 12-stories of leafy goods, from kale to bok choy. Powered by hydroponic and areoponic systems, the farms will be designed to release calculated amounts of nutrients and water into the soil.
An even more audacious proposal is by the startup Plenty. The company wants to build a giant indoor farm next to every major city in the world. The produce would be organic, and eliminate nutrient loss occasioned by the long distances travelled by food products and the carbon emissions associated with it.
Vertical farming: Plenty receives $200 million investment from tech giants - TomoNews - YouTube
5. Masters of waste
Since Roman times, waste management has always been a major challenge for urban cities. We are currently on track to produce more waste than at any other time in history, a major component of the design of any sustainable city of the future is a cutting-edge waste management system.
In Shenzhen, the Chinese government is building a ‘waste-to-energy’ facility; a process which captures heat from incinerating unwanted materials which drives a turbine to generate electricity. Upon completion, the facility will process up to 5,000 tonnes of waste daily, about one third of the waste generated by the city each day. The facility will be powered by 40,000 solar panels situated on the roof of the building and will also be open to the public for tours and excursions to provide consciousness about consumption and waste.
In the Indonesian city of Sodong, the city has a pneumatic waste disposal system that uses pipes to suck trash from individual homes into processing centers that automatically sort the material and recycle it. In the future, the city plans to turn that all that waste into renewable energy.
This is not an exhaustive list of future designs as it relates to sustainable cities. This list is as they say, is only “the tip of the iceberg” because a lot more is being done to save our planet. The aim of this short and impressive list, however, is to showcase what governments and municipalities are doing around the world to help their cities adapt to the threat of climate change and transition to a more sustainable future.
Patagonia has announced the release of two films; Artifishal and Saving Martha urging for the protection of wild fish. The 80 minute feature film Artifishal explores the high cost—ecological, financial and cultural—of our mistaken belief that engineered solutions can make up for habitat destruction. They trace the impact of fish hatcheries and farms on wild fish populations, and the extraordinary amount of tax dollars wasted on an industry that hinders wild fish recovery, pollutes our rivers and waterways and contributes to the problem it claims to solve.
Saving Martha is a short film about fish farms in Australia. Tasmania is regarded as one of our most pristine and wild states, however, in recent years that reputation has been tarnished by the boom of the local salmon farming industry. With environmental regulations struggling to keep pace with the industry’s growth, the marine environments that host the industry have been significantly impacted and, in some cases, have approached collapse. Increased scrutiny and criticism of the industry has forced operators to find new locations, including neighbouring King Island – adjacent to the world-class waves at Martha Lavinia Beach. Saving Martha highlights the plight of the King Island community, while emphasising the negative impact the proposed farms will have on the ecology of the region.
On the other side of the globe, the same battle rages. Patagonia Founder and Executive Producer, Yvon Chouinard, and Director/Producer Josh “Bones” Murphy made Artifishal – the story of fish hatcheries and fish farms from California to Norway. After witnessing the conditions of factory fish farms as well as the genetically inferior, dumbed-down salmon they churn out. The film explores the repercussions of a wrecked net pen and the underwater destruction and disease caused by an open-water fish farm.
The concrete jungle. Raceways for raising juvenile spring Chinook salmon at the Sawtooth Hatchery, which is managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Stanley, Idaho. Photo: Ben Moon. Thousands of domesticated hatchery salmon are released into San Francisco Bay. Photo: Ben Moon
One of Norway’s finest salmon rivers, the Alta, feeds into Altafjord, where numerous net pens now threaten the wild run. Photo: Ben Moon.
“Humans have always thought of themselves as superior to nature and it’s got us into a lot of trouble. We think we can control nature; we can’t,” notes Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder. “If we value wild salmon, we need to do something now. A life without wild nature and a life without these great, iconic species is an impoverished life. If we lose all wild species, we’re going to lose ourselves.”
Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism. Founded over 40 years ago by a dirtbag climber who wanted to explore wild places. The company is still in business today because it fights to protect lands and waters all around the world. The company is suing the Trump administration in an effort to protect public lands and has donated over $100 million to environmental nonprofits working on the most pressing challenges facing our planet. Artifishal is the third film in a trilogy about rivers by Patagonia, following DamNation and Blue Heart.
The Artifishal trailer can be found here. Visit this page for more information and screening venue locations.
The winter holidays are a busy time for many businesses, including retail stores, grocers, liquor stores – and dry cleaners. People pull out special-occasion clothes made of silk, satin or other fabrics that don’t launder well in soap and water. Then there are all those specialty items, from stained tablecloths to ugly holiday sweaters.
Few consumers know much about what happens to their goods once they hand them across the dry cleaner’s counter. In fact, dry cleaning isn’t dry at all. Most facilities soak items in a chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc for short.
At the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell, we work with small businesses and industries to find ways they can reduce the use of toxic materials and find more benign substitutes. For over a decade the Toxics Use Reduction Institute has worked with dry cleaners to help them move to a safer process called professional wet cleaning, which uses water and biodegradeable detergents. This is a clear trend nationwide: In a 2014 industry survey, 80 percent of respondents said they used professional wet cleaning for at least 20 percent of their plant’s volume.
AB Cleaners Washing Drying - YouTube
Joon Han, owner of AB Cleaners in Westwood, Massachusetts, demonstrates wet cleaning technology and explains why he decided to stop using perc.
Perc’s long history
According to a widely cited estimate from federal agencies, there are about 36,000 professional garment care facilities in the United States, and about 85 percent of them use perc as their main cleaning solvent. Industry surveys in 2009 and 2012 indicate that that figure has fallen to between 50 and 70 percent.
Tensioning equipment, such as this form finisher, is used to shape clothes after the washing and drying process. TURI, CC BY-ND.
The EPA has identified perc as a high-priority chemical. Under amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act adopted in 2016, the agency has a mandate to study the health and environmental effects of perc and other priority chemicals, and potentially take action to reduce risk from exposure to them. However, in June 2018, the EPA announced it was adopting a new approach to chemical risk screening that could exclude consideration of many sources of exposure, including exposure to perc contamination in drinking water.
Overall, we found that the alternative solvents exhibited less persistence in the environment, potential to accumulate in the human body or the environment, or toxicity to aquatic life than perc. Most also appeared to be safer overall to human health. However, toxicological data were lacking for some of them, so future analyses may find that they are less benign than currently thought.
Some of these alternatives are combustible, so using them would require cleaners to buy specialized equipment to protect against fires or explosions. On the other hand, professional wet cleaning is water-based and poses no such risks. It uses computer-controlled washers and dryers, along with biodegradable detergents and specialized finishing equipment, to process delicate garments that would otherwise be dry cleaned.
We suggest that dry cleaners who want a safer alternative to perc should consider the key environmental and human health criteria, and then think about financial and technical issues at their own facilities to find the best alternative for them. Anecdotal information in Massachusetts indicates that cleaners are switching to petroleum-based alternatives such as DF2000™ at a higher rate than wet cleaning, and to other solvent alternatives at about the same rate as wet cleaning. Some operators doubt that a wet cleaning process can clean as well as solvent cleaning, but the Toxics Use Reduction Institute is working to dispel that myth through case study analysis, grants, demonstrations and training events.
Logo for Massachusetts cleaners that have adopted professional wet cleaning. TURI, CC BY-ND.
Making the switch
When the Toxics Use Reduction Institute began working with dry cleaners on this issue in 2008, to our knowledge there were no dedicated wet cleaners operating in Massachusetts. Today the state has over 20 dedicated wet cleaners. Other cleaners seeking options for moving away from perc can obtain data from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute and other researchers to help them make informed decisions about equipment purchasing and staff training.
In each case, the goal is to identify safer alternatives and then find champions of change who are willing to make the switch and show their peers how to get good results without using harmful chemicals. This model has shown that industry and consumer choices can push change from the bottom up.
When plastic became available for convenient disposable packaging, it literally changed the world. Despite recent awareness campaigns, our plastic crises did not begin a couple of years ago; nor did it begin ten years ago.
As far back as the 1960s, notable scientists and environmentalists had already begun to warn the general public about the long-term dangers of plastic waste. These warnings were spurred on by the discovery that all the plastic products used in the years leading up to that era had not yet decomposed; and this fact compounded by the increased reliance on plastic made the scientists of the day worry about the future of the planet.
Efforts at fighting the plastic crisis (then and now) have yet to be as successful as many have hoped because, despite the endless flow of publicity on the subject, the concern for our general plastic consumption has mostly remained an issue for scientists, environmentalists and planet lovers. Put differently, humans in average (not to talk of the less than average) societies of the world still don’t “get it”.
The main reason for this I believe lies in convenience. From the companies that package products in unnecessary layers to their consumers’ disposable cups and cutlery sets, every one of us seems to be hooked on plastic. Plastic offers a level of convenience for everyone (except the planet) that no other material as yet offers, so that many of us find the idea of living plastic-free inconceivable.
Another reason for this selective ignorance is that to the average person, the idea of plastic as a threat to the planet is so distant that it is almost an abstract concept. Only few people have ever seen the Great Pacific garbage patch up close; and even fewer still have ever come in contact with a dead fish stuffed with plastic in its stomach. In the same vein, very few people have ever actually thrown any plastic in the ocean; they just throw it out of the window. It is difficult to get most people to change their habits to stop a crisis they don’t believe they made worse in the first place.
The plastic crisis is less of a priority to many (if it is a priority at all) because there doesn’t appear to be any human victims; just some fish and birds. If this had been about human starvation and deprivation in say Yemen, or Siberia, no one would require conviction to join the cause because the direct consequences of selective ignorance in these examples would reflect on our human faces. Are there any people directly affected or injured because I threw out my used plastic bag out of my car window? No right? Why then should I decide to change my ways? These had all been very difficult questions to answer, until now.
A few weeks ago, a new study showed that humans are actually eating plastic. The study which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and led by researchers at the University of Newcastle, Australia, disclosed that human beings ingest around five grams of microplastics in their weekly diets — or roughly the equivalent of an ATM card. Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life and is now entering the food chain.
According to this report, the biggest source of these microplastics being found in human bodies is through the water we consume. It found that the average person consumes as many as 1,769 particles of plastic every week just by drinking water – bottled or from the tap. Shellfish is the second highest source followed by salt and then beer. Scary right?
Now, unlike many commenters on this issue, I do not see this as a bad development. While it isn’t great news for humankind, it may help push people to finally care. The silver lining in this report is the fact that the plastic crisis has taken on a new dimension; a human dimension. At this point, it is difficult to ignore the problems posed by plastic seeing as it is no longer an issue for birds and marine life.
So what are the health implications of this human consumption of plastic? The study does not say and so far, not much research has been done to determine the health effects of humans ingesting microplastics. In all honesty, I don’t think it matters much because focusing on the answer to this question would only serve to distract from the plastic pollution issue. What really should matter to us all now is that plastic has come knocking. If we all can ingest plastic through drinking water (and it’s much worse when drinking bottled water) then it is no longer a challenge for just the scientific or eco-conscious community. This means that better action can (and should) now be expected from individuals, institutions and governments worldwide.
According to the WWF, they hope that the study will “ring the alarm for governments” to take action and regulate plastic waste. “Plastics are polluting not only our oceans and waterways but also marine life and humans. Urgent, global action is needed to face this crisis,” the organization relays in a public statement. This is a hope I share with the WWF.
Now that we know that we’re eating plastic, can we please stop wasting it?
Welcome to this week’s edition of our Climate Joy series. This right here marks the 15th edition of our weekly documentary of joyful news in the fight to save our climate. Now the curated stories presented to you in this weekly series are by no means exhaustive, they are merely offerings shared with you to inspire hope.
Nestle has announced that it will be using a recyclable paper wrapping for its Yes! Snack Bars. According to the company, this is the first time a confectionery bar has been packaged in paper using high-speed flow wrap technology. Before now, existing technology could only do shelf-stable wrapping with plastic and laminate.
The paper is made from water-based coating and is said to degrade within six months. The packaging is now available in 13 countries. This is part of the company’s commitment to make all their wrappers recyclable by 2025.
It’s ‘YES!’ for recyclable paper packaging - YouTube
More companies like Nestle are catching up to the need for more sustainable packaging and this is mostly due to pressure from their customers. Plastic awareness is higher than it has ever been and studies show that U.S. consumers (48%) are likely to change what they buy to meet environmental standards. To know that people can pressure the big dogs into doing something right for the environment is hugely encouraging.
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have announced the invention of new technology that can both generate solar power and purify water at the same time. This technology uses a tiered system beneath a solar panel, where the contaminated water passes through, is heated, turned to steam and after passing through a membrane, condenses to clean water. The invention is capable of purifying saltwater and seawater.
Water purification takes a lot of energy and equipment which is often not available to people in areas that need the water the most. The new technology can be used in a backyard or in industrial scale and this is no small feat.
At the 080 Catwal fashion show held recently in Barcelona, sustainable fashion was front and centre. Young designers and fashion startups were proud to showcase their apparel, made from environment friendly materials.
Others such as eco-friendly swimwear brand allSisters went all the way, and exclusively used recycled fabrics to make their products. All-female company Sonia Carrasco is so vehemently anti-plastic that the designer named her newest collection, 33.394759-124.969482, using the coordinates of the so-called “Plastic Island” in the Pacific Ocean.
America’s largest commercial insurance provider Chubb has announced that it will no longer insure or invest in coal. According to its new policy, the company will no longer underwrite the construction of new coal-fired power plants. It will also stop investing in companies that generate more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal mining or production, as well as phase out existing coverage for mining and utility companies that exceed the 30 percent threshold.
Insurance companies play a pivotal role in helping fossil fuel companies obtain funding and investments. They also are liable to face the most losses from climate related disasters. This, Chubb’s decision is not only right for the environment but also smart for the insurance industry.
Climate advocates have been campaigning for the insurance industry to divest from fossil fuels and looks like they’re slowly winning!
Big Insurer Ditches Coal Coverage In Win For Climate Action Groups - YouTube
That’s all for this week’s edition of our climate joy series. I hope these developments inspire you to do all you can to save our world this week, regardless of where you are.
Conferences and events are cesspools for single-use plastics. Bins overflowing with plastic waste and disposables are a common sight. If you’re a conference organiser or hosting an event or party, reducing single-use plastic is easy once you know how.
So here are 23 ways to cut out plastic and make your event more eco-friendly:
1. Send e-invites out to guests and delegates to reduce the need for physical paper invites and transportation (due to postal service).
2. Encourage attendees to bring their own reusables bottles and coffee cups. You can do this when you send out e-invites, event reminders, or promote the request on social media.
3. Partner with eco-conscious waste management services that can help to recycle and compost food scraps and other event waste. For example, Mallow Sustainability offers food waste collection services in Brisbane, Australia for homes, businesses and organisations.
4. Avoid plastic cups and provide attendees with reusable, washable glasses. Australian business Bettercup offers a reusable bar cup service for small or large-scale events.
Reusable coffee cups at TEDx Sydney. Credit: Ryan Everton via Unsplash.
5. Place water jugs with glassware on each table and strategically-place water coolers in and around the venue to encourage people to refill instead of buying bottled water or drinks.
6. For goodie bags, use fabric or natural tote bags as they can be reused, recycled or washed. If they are unbranded, their lifespan increases and reuse is almost certain as people nowadays dislike being walking billboards for businesses.
7. Rather than placing goodie bags on seats or forcing people to take a bag packed with samples, catalogues and marketing paraphernalia from event partners, stack goodie bags on a table at the back of the room and offer attendees the choice of taking one or not. Many conference and event attendees are now conscious of bringing waste into their homes and view some items in these goodie bags as wasteful (particularly if they are individually packaged or wrapped in plastic).
8. Source FSC-certified or recycled notebooks from eco-friendly suppliers such as Words with Heart (who also offer a custom service) and Notely. For handmade, personalised notebooks, Etsy businesses such as Bluestiggy and PaperchainG offer a great product range too.
9. If it is necessary to print signs, maps, programs and menus, make sure to use FSC-certified or recycled paper. Printworks Multipurpose printer paper is made of 100% post-consumer recycled waste fibres and is also chlorine-free.
10. Keep the registration process minimal. Instead of paper-based forms, use an electronic registration system instead.
Offer ceramic or reusable drink ware and mugs instead of disposables. Credit: Jonathan Castellan via Unsplash.
11. Instead of using name badges in plastic pockets, use cardboard name tags.
12. If lanyards are necessary, choose lanyards made of natural fibres with metal clips. Avoid branded lanyards as that way they can be reused.
13. Rather than offering pens (lots of plastic waste!) choose sustainably sourced wooden pencils such as Sprout wooden pencils. Ensure there are eco-friendly bamboo sharpeners on standby!
14. Avoid individually plastic-wrapped candy/lollies and mints.
15. Say no to plastic plates or cutlery. Instead use proper ceramic plates, metal cutlery and glassware, or choose plastic-free alternatives such as paper or bamboo plates and cutlery that are biodegradable and compostable.
16. Keep tea-towels and hand-towels on hand rather than paper towels to wipe up spills, as many paper rolls are wrapped in plastic.
17. If supplying tea, coffee, sugar or milk, don’t purchase individual sachets. Instead, ensure you buy these items in bulk and store them in large stainless steel or ceramic containers on the day.
18. Avoid plastic drink stirrers. Provide metal spoons instead.
19. Ensure recycling bins are visible and clearly marked to encourage proper recycling efforts by attendees and delegates.
20. Offer banquet or buffet style meals with silverware where attendees can line up and help themselves (they can also determine their own portion sizes which can reduce food waste). A further eco-conscious step to take is sourcing locally-grown or locally-made food and choosing a plant-based or vegetarian caterer.
Offering banquet style meals to attendees reduces waste. Credit: Frank Zhang via Unsplash.
21. Have on-site coffee carts that offer ceramic or returnable cupsthat can be washed and reused.
22. Choose vendors and event partners that are like-minded. Ensure that all who are involved in the event; venue, caterers, organisers, exhibitors, caterers, panellists, moderators, speakers, workshop trainers etc. are aware of your goal to be cut plastic waste, and are themselves committed to reducing plastic waste. Share tips, tricks and plastic-free tips to help them reduce plastic consumption too.
23. Keep decorations to an absolute minimum. Veto streamers, balloons and any other unnecessary decorations, and particularly if they cannot be reused and recycled appropriately.
By following these steps, not only will you be helping to reduce plastic waste and minimise your conference’s environmental footprint, you’ll also save money and help to improve your bottom line!
Fashion has an influence on the most remote corners of humanity and our planetary home. We don’t exist in a detached bubble but instead, we are all the very architects who together help weave the vast and colorful web that connects us all. And from what better position than ours to adopt a new mindset. This is an opportunity to unite industries, re-unite the fashion industry and communities everywhere to understand the root of the challenges we are all facing.
The holistic approach with our EcoVillage platform in 2018 was a big step in the right direction which demonstrated just how real utopia can be. Understanding our choices and how they affect our environment and one another is the key to creating balance.
This season’s event will include fashion shows, keynotes and panel talks, workshops and side events; along with the ‘Bio-Playground’ initiative – a platform which will promote and facilitate partnerships between a diverse range of academic, commercial and governmental organizations. The aim of this platform is to inspire and promote innovation in material processing and transparency throughout the value chain.
The platform brings together challengers and scientists who will be premiering their portfolio of bio-materials and their ongoing research development of bio-based solutions that aim at solving resource insufficiency at large; changemakers who aim to close the loop by teaching microbes to use the fibers as their nutrients to re-produce and recycle the used materials; and innovators using modern biotechnology to design and produce new types of leather-like materials made from fungal mycelium. During the exhibition VTT Technical Research Centre of Finlandand Fashion For Goodfocuses on scaling sustainable innovations to envision a world where all fashion is good.
The Bio-Playground in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment of Finland will have a 360-degree approach by demonstrating the connectivity between all raw material sourcing by introducing digital platforms and concepts to facilitate knowledge sharing and to promote reinvention together with Stora Enso, Metsa Woodand Aalto University.
Helsinki Fashion Week takes place in a self-sustaining ecosystem, exhibiting the prototypic future urbansettlement. Challenges regarding everyday pillars of clothing, food, energy, water, and waste are broughttogether and demonstrated within the parameters of sustainability. The main location of Helsinki FashionWeek, the Palace of the Nobility, will be covered by the “urban curtain”. A surface that captures CO2 and airpollutants from the atmosphere and to be stored by the algae and grown into biomass. The process results in freshly photo synthesized oxygen being released out into the urban microclimate.
The SS’20 edition will once again dedicate its runway to sustainable designers and brands from across the globe, selected based on their resource efficiency and innovative material sourcing. To up the stakes, we have decided to only invite ecological collections made from non-animal-derived leather – a decision which recently sparked a wide-reaching and long-needed dialogue across the global fashion industry.
Patrick McDowell from the UK is premiering his second collection with the use of waste fabrics from Burberry, LVMH and Kering. Ka Wa Key by the creative duo Jarno Leppanen from Finland and Key Chow from Hong Kong is known for self-crafting their own fabrics with organic and natural fibers from up-cycled materials. Australian brand A.BCH by Courtney Holm is presenting her collection with full disclosure from fiber to finish.
The house of Mandali Mendrilla from Belgium will be reflecting the cyclical nature of time by exploring, in the design process, the Eastern science of Vastu architecture and its intuitive application to the crafting of sculptural couture garments. The city of Helsinki Education division along with Finnish designer Riina Salmi will be showcasing a collection made with the principles of Fusion learning working together with the kids from local elementary schools and local artists.
Zaha Hadid Architects will be engaging us with a panel discussion covering the synchronicity of space by using the power of sustainable materials and innovative design in “Connecting Fashion, Waste and Architecture”. About A Worker will present a keynote talk on the ability to communicate and collaborate within the fashion supply chain using design as a universal language. The conversation will discuss ways of achieving transparency and desolving hierarchy in the industry to avoid exploitation.
In case of Plan B, Helsinki Fashion Week has partnered with European Space Agency (ESA) to explore alternative possibilities. ESA will have a keynote on their research around settling on another planet within the next 20-30 years. The partnership aims to create an ongoing interdisciplinary dialogue supporting cross-industry collaboration to advance material innovations on the moon and the planet earth.
Helsinki Fashion Week remains unique because it is a mindset. We don’t see fashion as an isolated entity, but as a key part in the balance of the greater human experience. The potential of fashion is infinite – a viable industry that connects individuals across the globe in the most effortless way. We choose to test, to experiment and to accept the risk of failure as we recognize that we cannot let fear define our courses of action and hinder progress.
Some say the world is going to hell. However, with the planet over heating due to greenhouse gas emissions resulting in never-before-seen severe droughts, heat waves, arctic ice melting, I’d say we already are in hell. The good news is, more and more people are waking up and becoming enlightened about their impact on the planet we call home. More and more are creating awareness to help us rise above the hell we have built.
Aside from viral news articles and video clips about global warming and plastic pollution, we’re drawn to the efforts of people we look up to –celebrities. Many of these high profile people use their fame for a good cause and using their star power as platforms for change.
Below is a list of some eco-conscious stars we admire for fighting to save our planet:
Jason Momoa – Fighting against ocean plastic
As an island boy, actor slash action man Jason Momoa is very passionate about the ocean and our planet. He fights against the use of single-use plastic water bottles and encourages everyone to use sustainable alternatives to hydrate themselves – and he does it in a funny yet hard core approach showing the metalhead side of him.
Jason Momoa hates plastic water bottles - YouTube
Emma Watson – Eco-Friendly fashion advocate
Emma Watson is a long-time sustainable fashion advocate, using Instagram ‘The Press Tour‘ and her own personal account to promote the conscious outfits she wears.
After watching the Netflix documentary, The True Cost the star has ramped up her advocacy in the hopes of influencing the next generation of fashion lover.
I will work for anyone for free if they’re prepared to make their clothing fair trade and organic.”
Paul McCartney – Promoting plant-based eating
Sir Paul McCartney celebrated two things on June 18 – his 77th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the initiative Meat Free Monday.
Launched in 2009 by Paul and his two daughters Stella and Mary McCartney, Meat Free Monday is a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture and how going meat free once a week can make a huge difference to the planet and our health.
'One Day a Week' feat. the McCartney family, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone - YouTube
Livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – even bigger than the carbon emissions of all vehicles in the world combined. As I mentioned in a previous article, “One day without meat can help to reduce agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions and ease the burden on the planet.”
Pearl Jam – Carbon mitigation
These guys aren’t just rock gods, they have been eco warriors from the very beginning, so much so that Eddie Vedder’s Earth First logo tattoo on his right calf has been there since the early 90s.
Before this super group established the non-profit The Vitalogy Foundation in 2006, a public organization that supports NGOs doing admirable work in the fields of environment, health, social change, arts and education, they have been known to mitigate their carbon emissions since 2003. For every tour, Pearl Jam calculates the metric tons of carbon dioxide they emit, including their world tours. Their calculations are based on flights and hotel stays, transportation mileage, shipping weight and the impact of each fan attending their shows. The band also allocates a percentage of their tour profits to invest in environmental projects.
South America 2018 - Carbon Mitigation - YouTube
For Pearl Jam’s US and European Tour last year, they voluntarily offset an estimated 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide. The funds of were donated to a carbon offset project in Alaska managed by Climeco, The American Land Conservancy and The Rocky Mountain Conservation.
In 2018 on their Brazilian tour, the band voluntarily offset an estimated 2,500 tons carbon dioxide emissions produced from this tour in partnership with Conservation International. The funds were donated to Amazonia Live which is the world’s largest tropical reforestation project.