Categories
Planet

Lush wants to “leave the world lusher than we found it”

Known for selling seaweed facemasks and glittery bath bombs, Lush has a reputation for its vegetarian beauty products. But beneath all that glitter they also have a green strategy which will, as they put it, “leave the world lusher than we found it.”

From their packaging to their waste, the British cosmetics company is working hard to ensure they have the most positive environmental impact possible. 

The importance of non-state actors has never been more relevant than this year when we have the COP26 in Glasgow,” said Ruth Andrade from Lush’s regenerative impact and earthcare team. “First, businesses are realising that their survival relies on a stable climate. We are already seeing disruptions in our supply chain, changes in consumer patterns and the heavy toll on society of the impacts of climate change.

As a cosmetic company that relies heavily on natural materials, we are in a prime position to support innovative, nature-inspired projects in our supply chain that align with our goal of leaving the world Lusher than we found it. This is similar to the whole cosmetic industry, what happens in the supply chain, whether we are leaving a trail of positive impact, healthy soils, biodiversity, meaningful livelihoods and a trail of social and ecological collapse in our responsibility.

 

On the path to zero waste

Reducing waste plays a huge part of improving Lush’s impact on wildlife and the environment. Over 70 per cent of their discarded materials are collected, sorted, cleaned, bulked, sold or disposed of by their Green Hub, which pays close attention to where their waste ends up.

From their biggest source of waste, paper towels, they manage to divert 63 per cent from landfill. Each time they build a new store only five per cent goes to landfill. In their manufacturing process, between 2018 and 2019, they managed to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place by over 30kg for every tonne of products they manufactured.

In its production processes and throughout its stores, the company mostly opts for recycled or sustainable materials. These include slates made from old soap moulds, 100 per cent recycled acrylic flooring and innovative light fittings made from 65 per cent recycled steel.

 

Packaging for the planet

Generating hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste every year, the UK has a long way to go to zero waste. Lush is helping by making most of their packaging sustainable, recyclable and reusable. Over 70 per cent of its packaging is made from recycled, organic or regenerative materials and over 80 per cent of what leaves the shop is recyclable, reusable or compostable.

 

How you can do your bit

Lush is investigating additional ways it can reduce its waste and head towards a more sustainable business plan by 2030.

You can contribute to the battle against waste, not only by doing your own recycling at home. You can also support the broader cause through organisations such as The Global Recycling Foundation, which promotes recycling as a means of creating a more sustainable future for the planet and people. Working with the UN to make waste reduction a truly global concern, they lead educational programmes, campaigns and petitions.

It is a private organisation but they rely heavily on donations to function. Those interested in becoming a sponsor can donate to the foundation via their website.

Funding will go towards their campaigns encouraging people around the world to recycle more and help combat the climate crisis.

Categories
Planet

Top 5 ways to have a positive impact this spring

Ah! Spring is in the air at last, or at least it will be officially in one month’s time. Prepare for this gorgeous season of flowers blooming and wildlife waking up, by planning what positive actions you could take for the environment or to help people in need.

 

Bring nature to your garden

Whether you have an expansive country garden or an inner-city balcony, you can help wildlife this spring with a range of activities that the RSPB will tailor to your patch of green. To get your personal plan, tell the organisation about your outdoor space, how many people want to participate and how much time you have via their online form. By enticing nature to your garden, you can contribute to collective efforts to help all life on land.

 

Protect our wondrous woodlands

What’s better than a springtime walk in the woods while bluebells are sprouting and birds chirping in the trees? But this is only possible if we protect these valuable habitats for all sorts of wildlife. After decades of deforestation accounts for just 2.4 per cent of land in the UK. To protect what tree coverage we still have and to plant more, one of the best things you can do is support one of the Woodland Trust’s appeals. From pine forests in the Scottish Highlands to the woodlands of Worcestershire, there’s plenty of opportunities to protect this natural carbon sink and valuable home to diverse ecology.

 

Get fit fundraising

As the weather warms up, spring is the perfect time to get out and get active. If you’re planning on upgrading your fitness routine, you could also consider doing so for charity. There are plenty of fundraising runs, walks and other events to get involved with. One of the biggest upcoming events this spring is the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 23rd May. By participating you can fundraise for the charity of your choice from their selected organisations.

 

Spread the love with a charity Easter card

If you’re going to send greetings to your loved ones this Easter, why not pick a card with a cause? Tackling poverty worldwide, Oxfam offers a beautiful range of options, including hand-embroidered greeting cards made by women in Bangladesh and a classic card decorated with eggs made from FSC paper which comes with a plastic-free envelope. You can also support end-of-life charity Marie Curie by buying from their online shop, offering a variety of gifts featuring their iconic daffodil. Or you can save on paper while supporting life-saving cancer research by purchasing one of MacMillan’s Easter e-cards.

 

Buy sustainable Easter goodies

One of the downsides of occasions like Easter is all the waste packaging that comes with it. Try to reduce how much you chuck in the bins this 4th April by buying zero-waste or plastic-free alternatives. Aldi is making a particular effort for the upcoming holiday, removing two million pieces of unrecyclable plastic from its Easter ranges. You can also purchase low-plastic and plastic-free Easter eggs from Co-op and ASDA.

Categories
Wellbeing

Student’s Covid-19 volunteer movement achieves UN acclaim

With the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, 19-year-old Rory Moore returned home from his studies at the London School of Economics feeling passionately that he needed to do something for those hit hardest by Covid-19. Starting with a solution to help his local community, his initiative quickly grew to become a global project helping people deal with Covid-19 in 40 different countries across six continents.

He began by designing a flyer about volunteering opportunities which he posted on social media and distributed to his neighbours, friends and family. By submitting their contact details, anyone in his village who wanted to could help others with small acts such as shopping or chatting over the phone to people in isolation. 

“Knowing that young people would have more time on their hands with schools and universities being closed, I wanted to encourage them to have a positive impact and to assist the vulnerable in our community,” he said.

This escalated and, in less than a year, Rory’s local endeavour grew into an international volunteering organisation, Coronavirus Community Volunteering (CCV). The United Nations and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have praised the organisation for its positive impact on Covid-inflicted communities. A short video about CCV produced by UNESCO is available here.

“I didn’t intend for it to become a global organisation,” Moore explained, “but I have an international network from my university, and many of my contacts told me that they liked the idea and that there was a need for it where they lived too. Consequently, it was important to come up with a scalable solution.”

To expand CCV, Moore partnered with a tech firm to create an app that would connect volunteers to people in need. Once online, the organisation became accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. Working with pre-existing volunteer groups, the organisation offered a means through which people with local understandings of how to tackle Covid-19 could implement their projects successfully.

How you can help

If you’re keen to support CCV, you can get involved by signing up as a volunteer in your community. Download the app here to get connected to people struggling with isolation and find out how you can help.

“The great thing about having a digital volunteering solution is that anyone can use it anywhere at any time,” said Moore, adding: “We are always looking for new partner organisations around the world, and we hope to carry on our work beyond the pandemic: the need for community volunteering will not simply vanish when the public health situation improves.”

You can also help cover the costs of running the online platform by donating to the organisation. 

To connect with CCV as a partner organisation or to donate send an email to ccvglobal2020@gmail.com.

Categories
Wellbeing

Do a good deed a day in aid of young carers this March

In helping others, you help yourself writes psychologist Marianna Pogosyan. But for young carers, looking after others is less of a choice and more of a necessity. To fundraise for such people and spread awareness of their work, the charity MYTIME Young Carers is inviting individuals and businesses to participate in their MYTIME2CARE campaign by doing a good deed each day throughout March 2021.

Participants will receive a calendar of 31 kind acts, one for each day of the month, and are challenged to carry these out while fundraising for the charity. The MYTIME team hope that the activities will encourage participants to take even more care of their friends, family and community members in a time when everybody needs it most.

Penelope Day, fundraising director at MYTIME Young Carers, explained “When care, kindness and looking after our mental health have become so important, we could not think of a better way to take action.”

To join in, sign up and pay the £6 registration fee that will cover the costs of a welcome pack including a MYTIME2CARE Calendar, five postcards and a MYTIME Young Carers pen.

Each participant has a small but very achievable fundraising target of £1 a day till the end of March. Register here to take part.

The month of kind acts falls around Young Carers Action Day on 16th March. To celebrate the occasion, MYTIME supporters will show they care with their hair, trying out all sorts of new and adventurous hairstyles to raise money for the charity. 

Day urged prospective participants to “Be brave. Be bold. Be ridiculous. It’s just about showing support and thanks to young carers in a way that’s really visible. All that matters is that you care, and you show it”.

Offering young people the childhood they deserve

Without support, many young carers feel isolated while looking after a family member. MYTIME Young Carers offers these children a break from their everyday work and brings them together with others like them to relax and socialise.

The charity’s CEO, Krista Sharp, explained: “There are an estimated 700,000 young carers living here in the UK. These remarkable young people work hard to take care of their families, day in and day out, sometimes at great personal cost, but young carers are not often recognised for the contribution they make to our community.”

To support their work donate to MYTIME Young Carers here

For more information visit mytimeyoungcarers.org.

Categories
Planet

Zalando aims for greener garments with its circular fashion store

Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle, Zalando, is expanding Zircle, its webshop catering to those looking for guilt-free retail therapy. Offering pre-owned clothing for a circular economy, the store is now branching out to reach new markets in Sweden and Denmark. 

Zalando has a goal to minimize waste and keep materials in use, which involves eliminating all single-use plastics by 2023. To pursue this target, the platform is piloting plastic-free packaging for all orders from Zircle, replacing plastic with recycled paper.

Launched in Germany in 2019, Zircle quickly spread to Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland.

Leading the latest expansion, the retailer’s director of UX Recommerce Mareike Hummel said: “We are very excited to expand Zircle to Sweden and Denmark. Over the past two years since launching Zircle in Germany and expanding across Europe, we have gathered many learnings that helped improve the customer experience when shopping on Zircle.”

Also working on the initiative, their head of circularity Laura Coppen added: “Zircle will support our target of extending the life of 50 million fashion items by 2023 by enabling our customers to give them a new life quickly and effortlessly.” 

The outlet offers more than 100,000 fashion items from well-known brands that are now available to Nordic consumers, in response to a demand for a convenient online second-hand shopping experience. 

A survey conducted by the outlet revealed that around half of its Swedish and Danish customers would be interested in buying pre-owned fashion within the next six months.

Visit Zircle here: www.zircle.se and www.zircle.dk

A store of fashion forward thinking

Zircle’s expansion comes after the e-commerce platform partnered with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation to plan how to reduce its carbon footprint and promote a circular economy.

We have just ten years to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and the fashion industry has a large part to play in this.

Reliant on sweatshops abroad and carbon-intensive materials, fast fashion is responsible for 20 per cent of global water wasted and 10 per cent of carbon emissions. So fashion companies have a long way to go to 100 per cent sustainability and efforts such as Zalando’s are vital in this journey.

Categories
Culture

IKEA hopes to uplift communities with 95K social enterprise jobs

Usually known for its signature Scandinavian products, IKEA has branched out to sell home furnishings crafted by sustainable projects around the world. The social enterprises they partner with offer an income to marginalised groups and women in vulnerable communities. To build further support for these valuable initiatives, IKEA announced it will expand its reach to include more social enterprises, offering 95,000 jobs around the world by 2025.

To date, the partnerships have helped nearly 150,000 family members of these artisans. In order to take this further, IKEA has will extend its partnerships with a goal of increasing the number of jobs from today’s 30,000.

From the collaborations they’ve made so far, their product ranges feature sustainably-made kitchenware and other furnishings such as textiles woven from renewable banana leaf fibres and cushion covers sewn by Jordanians and Syrian refugees. 

Leading the social entrepreneurship initiative is Vaishali Misra, who is responsible for ethically sourcing goods by partnering with social enterprises globally.

She said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I know that we can do much more. We have built strong business relationship with our partners for many years, and now we are happy to join hands with a few additional highly established social businesses, and together we will be scaling up the social entrepreneur business.”

In addition to these partnerships, IKEA retail markets are joining forces with other social businesses to provide services and products upcycled from IKEA textile waste and local food products. 

Helping the people and planet to thrive

Around the world, more than 2 billion people struggle to provide for themselves and their families. Since 2012, the company has combatted this problem by teaming up with social entrepreneurs to improve lives through long-term job opportunities and livelihoods for people who need it the most. 

Misra explained: “It’s a working relationship on inspiration, knowledge sharing, and mutual exchange of competencies. The social entrepreneurs ensure a diverse and unique product offer. On its part, IKEA uses its network to supply the enterprises with affordable, high-quality raw material, extending their infrastructure to the social enterprises. By doing this on a high scale, we could also inspire other retailers to do the same. That’s what I call impact.”

These socially-beneficial projects build on the company’s pledge to only use recycled or renewable materials by 2030, an announcement that came shortly after it bought 11,000 acres of forest for conservation purposes.

Driven by dedicated staff members like Misra, who focus on sustainability, these initiatives will ensure IKEA adapts to a radically changing world by doing their bit to help the planet and the people on it to thrive.

Categories
Wellbeing

New Zealand designer shines with a water-purifying skylight

Young designer Henry Glogau only recently graduated from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. But he is already rejuvenating the design scene with a life-changing skylight that won him a Lexus Design Award 2021

Created especially for people living along the sunbaked coastlines of Chile, the device uses solar rays to make seawater drinkable and uses leftover brine to generate energy for lighting shanty houses. 

Chile is home to around 110,000 families living in shantytowns, where it’s difficult to access purified drinking water and homes are often very poorly lit. 

“In my development process, it became apparent that I could address the lack of indoor lighting and water access by creating a hybrid skylight and solar desalination device,” Glogau wrote. “In this way, the solar energy required to evaporate the seawater was optimized.”

He elaborated: “Informality within cities is a global phenomenon and needs to be urgently addressed for the creation of safe, sustainable and prosperous communities. Governmental systems will face growing stresses such as climate change, privatization and resource scarcity in the near future. Therefore, we need to re-imagine our living environments in a sustainable and autonomous way to survive.”

Glogau’s degree focused on architecture and extreme environments, allowing him to investigate design solutions to living in adverse natural surroundings. He now works for the green innovation department of the international architectural firm, 3XN. 

A local solution to a global problem

A scarcity of drinking water is a problem inflicting millions of people around the world, with one in ten people globally unable to access clean water close to home, according to WaterAid.

But, as the young designer found, global problems require localised solutions, tailored to communities’ specific needs. To test his design, Glogau spent a month visiting informal settlements in Antofagasta, Chile, where he collaborated with a local NGO, TECHO

He said: “I had the opportunity to install my device into a home within the settlements. This was a unique opportunity to engage with many from the local community. Here I got valuable feedback to help evolve and evaluate the idea.” 

Help provide water for all

Supporting communities to find clean water sources, WaterAid works in 28 countries across the global south to ensure everyone can access this basic need.

If you’re feeling inspired by Glogau’s creation, why not help drive similar change yourself by donating to WaterAid?

Categories
Equality Wellbeing

How one Californian centre helps find solace after sight loss

Created in honour of a Californian rancher who was blind, Earle Baum Center helps those with sight loss to move forward independently with their lives. 

When he passed away in the ‘80s, Earle Baum donated his farm in Santa Rosa to a community group dedicated to supporting people experiencing vision loss.

“Earle Baum wanted a community centre for people with sight loss. So the group set it up to provide everything you need when you lose your sight: emotional support, technology, and more,” said the centre’s CEO, Bob Sonnenberg.

Through counselling, training and help to access assistive technology, the centre guides people through the transition to accepting and learning to live with blindness. As well as training and therapy sessions, it offers a library of second-hand equipment such as video magnifiers, to help visitors carry out day-to-day tasks. 

“The going rate for a video magnifier starts at $2,500. So to be able to access and use that type of tool cheaply can make a huge difference to people’s lives, allowing those with some sight to read a book or a document,” Sonnenberg said.

 

Friends indeed

As someone who lives with restricted vision himself, Sonnenberg explained how losing one’s sight prompts a kind of grieving process, during which support and communication with others become vital to accepting what’s happened.

He articulated what it can feel like through his own experience. “It happened in an instant,” he recalled. “I was driving when all of a sudden my retina shut down and what normally you can see really clearly, wasn’t visible to me. I could no longer see the freeway signs. It was scary. It was unnerving. It was emotional – and that was the last day I ever drove a car.”

Sonnenberg found that support from family and friends was crucial for adjusting to life with sight loss. This is the case for many of those who visit the centre, where the group counselling sessions and community spirit are vital for coming to terms with their new way of living.

 

A story of success

Among those who have benefitted from the centre is Hoby Wedler who was born sightless. He came to the organisation in his mid-teens while he was in high school. 

With support and technology from the centre, Wedler went on to complete a four-year degree followed by a PhD in organic chemistry. He joined the centre’s board of directors a year ago and will become the board chair next year.

 

How you can help

To support Earle Baum Center to assist more people like Wedler and Sonnenberg, you can donate here.

A gift of money can help with the running costs of training and therapy sessions, as well as buying new technology. You can also donate a vehicle to the centre, partner with the organisation as a business, or make a donation in memory of a loved one who has passed away.

For more information visit earlebaum.org.

Categories
Culture Equality

Top 5 queer heroes to mark LGBT+ History Month 2021

It’s been 16 years since Schools OUT UK, an LGBT+ education charity, first launched its annual awareness month in February to inform people about queer culture throughout history. This year, the organisation is celebrating LGBT+ History Month by telling the incredible stories of five queer heroes.

As Schools OUT UK spokesperson Andrew Dobbin puts it, they are “Champions of the intellect and the soul. Five icons everyone should know.”

 

A very feminist footballer

Scoring nearly 1,000 goals in her footballing career, Lily Parr was a pioneer of the women’s game. She played football while women’s football captured the international imagination and combatted the negative lash back against it. She is also an important icon for tackling transphobia. Trans footballer Nathalie Washington said: “As campaign lead for Football v Transphobia, I look back on the ban on women players and it looks just as antiquated as I hope the restrictions on trans people competing will one day appear.” So Parr’s legacy lives on with many female players, like the London Lesbian Kickabouts, inspired to play because of her.

 

The power of the pen

A prolific Black writer, public speaker and activist, Maya Angelou overcame great adversity to fight for civil rights in the US. Olivette Cole Wilson works for the BAME LGBT+ community project in northeast London, Haringey Vanguard. She said: “I’m really excited that Maya Angelou is going to be the 2021 icon for LGBT+ History Month. I think it’s really important for children to be who they want to be… and I think her work is really inspirational for them.”

 

The joining of two struggles

Co-founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, Mark Ashton was another hero who faced significant challenges in the struggle for LGBT+ rights. Teaming up with the miners in the ‘80s, his campaign group stood up to homophobic abuse all while supporting the struggle of a Welsh community to protect their jobs and wellbeing. Co-founder of the movement Mike Jackson explained: “The miners were in desperate struggle and we went to support them in their struggle. Because unless everybody’s free, nobody’s free.”

 

A sporting success

Another of Schools OUT UK’s heroes for this year, Mark Weston was a trans olympian who underwent surgery to transition physically to becoming a man in the 1930s. His story inspires modern-day generations of trans people, such as 22-year-old transgender man Eric, who said: “I read his story as a teenager and I think it had a very profound effect on me. So much of trans history has been erased or lost… so seeing these stories and preserving these stories seems especially important.”

 

The first medical transition

Working as a physician in the early to mid 20th century, Michael Dillon was the first trans man to undergo phalloplasty to gain a penis. Working in a laboratory in Gloucester, he came across the hormone, testosterone, remarking upon its transformative effects. He was living as a woman at the time but dressed in a masculine way. After taking the hormone and undergoing plastic surgery he physically transitioned to the gender that he identified with.

For more information about Schools OUT UK click here.

Categories
Planet

Cadbury maker Mondelez boosts business for people and planet

Snack manufacturing giant Mondelez is building on its sustainability strategy by launching Sustainable Futures, an investing platform to support social enterprises that serve the environment and social wellbeing. 

Better known as the producer of Cadbury, Oreo, Ritz and Belvita snacks, the company is escalating its environmental work to support projects that protect forests, reduce carbon emissions and increase resilience in landscapes from which it sources raw materials.

“We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that alone, we can never achieve significant progress in the fight against systemic issues like climate change,” said Dirk Van de Put, chief executive and chairman of Mondelēz International.

“Sustainable Futures is our first foray into impact investing and gives us the opportunity to work with others in supporting environmental and social projects that can help drive meaningful, long-term change.”

Protecting the planet and people

International companies such as Mondelez have a large part to play in tackling the climate crisis. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change we have just ten years to slash emissions by at least 45 per cent in order to avoid the worst the environment could inflict on us. 

So Mondelez’s steps to support environmentally-beneficial projects are vital to making the dramatic transition we need, as well as supporting local communities financially.

One of the first ventures to benefit is a women-run NGO in India that trains members to upcycle plastic packaging into useful boards. The scheme will also support a venture with INMED Aquaponics Social Enterprise (ASE) in South Africa, which trains agro-entrepreneurs in climate-resistant food production.

The main party responsible for Mondelez’s drive to support social enterprises is Christine Montenegro McGrath, vice president and chief of global impact and sustainability at Mondelēz International. She said: “It’s only by testing and learning new approaches, and by seeking new forms of partnership with NGOs, governments, and social entrepreneurs, that we can unleash the creativity we need to tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues. 

“By offering seed investment and expertise through Sustainable Futures, Mondelēz International can help to create lasting solutions in areas like forest protection, carbon emissions reduction, and innovation in recycling.”