April 22, 2016, marks what could well be the most significant Earth Day in history.
Today, US President Barak Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign the Paris Climate Agreement and encourage other Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to do the same. The agreement pledges to deal with the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement is due to enter force in 2020.
While this is a significant step towards a worldwide commitment to battling climate change, there are a number of companies already actively working to reduce their impact on the environment in their own ways – both big and small. What better day to highlight both local and international brands doing their part to be sustainable, ethical and socially responsible than Earth Day. Here are a few that have caught our attention.
Water conservation is top of mind for haircare brand Pureology. The pioneer in sulfate-free shampoos, the company has taken conservation measures that include designing shampoo and conditioner packaging that uses 39% less water during the manufacturing process, creating 100% recyclable packaging made of 50% post-consumer recycled materials, using 100% vegan ingredients and ultimately saving nearly 60,000 gallons of water each year through its overall conservation efforts.
Another company committed to reducing the use of water in manufacturing is Levi’s. WaterLess is a Levi’s range designed specifically with water conservation in mind. Nearly 3800 litres of water are used to make a single pair of jeans and the WaterLess process reduces this by up to 96%. Levi’s also actively encourages customers to recycle or donate their old jeans, to avoid seeing them end up in landfills. In the US and UK you can take any old clothing or shoes to any Levi’s store for repurposing / recycling / reusing, thanks to their partner I:CO – a company that collects clothing in cooperation with retail partners with the aim of keeping them in a closed loop production cycle where goods are reprocessed and reused time and time again.
Stella McCartney is the world’s first vegetarian luxury brand – never using leather, skins, feathers or fur in any products for both ethical and environmental reasons. Instead the company uses vegetarian leather, sustainably certified wood from responsibly managed forests and plantations, recycled polyester and forest-friendly fabrics – part of their commitment to being a zero deforestation company.
New Zealand company Karen Murrell produces lipsticks made from only the finest natural and proven-safe chemical ingredients. With transparency being paramount to the company’s philosophy, the traceability of all ingredients, materials, packaging and manufacturing can be provided at any stage, giving confidence that their products are made from both ethical and renewable sources. Karen Murrell lipsticks use no animal-based materials and aren’t tested on animals, plus all packaging – including the lipstick canister – is 100% recyclable and renewable.
Trilogy is the first New Zealand skincare brand to achieve NATRUE Natural Cosmetics Certification, which ensures that only natural and organic ingredients, soft manufacturing processes and environmentally friendly practices are used in the making of the products. From the outset, the company has been committed to ethical, environmental and socially responsible business and has maintained this level of transparency and authenticity as it has continued to expand globally. Whether designing a new product, revising an old one, creating packaging or transporting products around the globe, they are constantly looking for ways to minimise the impact of their production and distribution through carbon neutral operations, supporting ethical trade practices, using Forest Stewardship Council certified paper and board, and no animal testing.
Inika will be donating 5% of all online sales on Earth Day to the Earth Day reforestation campaign. Already committed to nurturing the environment through their eco-friendly beauty products, the brand is showing their support for the Earth Day Network with their donations today, to aid in the pursuit of raising $50,000 to plant 50,000 trees this month.
Sustainability is a fundamental principle of this New Zealand company’s brand, with Barkers working directly with factories to ensure their own code of conduct is adhered to in terms of the ethical treatment of workers, recycling and transparency in the manufacturing process. This practice extends to in-store initiatives too, with all store fixtures and fittings custom-made in New Zealand using sustainable products. 90% of the fitouts from stores can be detached from the shell, meaning they can be re-purposed in different locations, rather than ending up in landfill. The company is currently looking at ways to offset their carbon footprint, starting with sponsoring tree planting in the Coromandel.
Remaining carbon neutral is of the utmost importance to Australian skincare brand, Sukin. Working closely with the Carbon Reduction Institute of Australia, Sukin has been able to effectively reduce, measure and offset all carbon emissions involved in the operation of the business – including product manufacture, freight and office and warehouse operations. Their aim is to neutralise the negative effect carbon emissions are potentially having on climate change and our environment. To date, the company has offset nearly 8000 tonnes of CO2e, which is equivalent to taking 3490 cars off the road each year and deducting the emissions of 558 households each year. Sukin’s carbon credits are currently being funneled into a clean energy biomass project in India.