Now that Positive Week 2019 is over, we’re rounding up the tops six learnings from all the thought leaders who participated in the event. Read on for each of the takeaways, and what actions you can take, whether you’re a business owner or a consumer.
Learning: You can influence a supply chain
“We are at this level where we are bigger, and we can push some of our suppliers. For example, our [sheet] mask, they’re not recyclable. When we asked the company in Korea that produces them, they were not interested in changing this. But we are such a big client for them that they are looking for resources, things like how to use paper instead of plastic. So we are now in this position to make changes.” Co-founder of 111SKIN, Eva Alexandrides
As a business: Push your suppliers to work with you on your sustainability goals. Remind them that this is the future, and that more and more of their partners will be asking for similar things in the future.
As a consumer: Be aware of a product as a holistic thing, beyond just the product itself. Choose to purchase from brands that are clearly thinking about their products in that way, too, through things like recyclable and reusable.
Learning: Make sustainability work for you
“You have all the solutions you can find when you do eco design. Reduce, reuse, find new materials, you have a huge playground. Find your own playground within your company’s culture, with your products, with your history, and you’ll do good things.” LVMH Group Director of Environment, Sylvie Bénard
As a business: Make sure your sustainability mission is a good fit, both for your brand and the people who work on it. It’s also important to make sure everyone is educated, on board and excited about the future.
As a consumer: Implement sustainability where you work, and try to educate your fellow employees on the importance of making better choices.
Learning: Embed sustainability into everything you do
“The key is culture. What is culture? It’s what remains when everything else is gone. So if we create a sustainability culture, that can make a difference. We have this fantastic legacy that is driving the culture of the house and the philosophy with which we do everything.” President and CEO of House of Krug, Margareth Henriquez
As a business: Your sustainability mission will be specific to your company and brand. It should be a natural progression of your brand’s legacy and carve a clear path for your brand’s future.
As a consumer: Try to approach every purchasing decision you make from a sustainability standpoint. It might take time, but you can ingrain sustainability into your daily life, and make it a habit rather than a conscious choice.
Learning: Think about the life of a product
“All of our packaging is completely recyclable and made out of recyclable materials. And after an event, the arrangements are picked up by a charity who brings them to hospices and homeless shelters. Waste is the thing that really upset me about the industry, and I’m pleased that McQueens is trying to eliminate that.” Creative Director at McQueens Flowers, Emily Mathison
As a business: Waste is such a huge problem throughout almost every industry. Finding creative ways to deal with that waste is key and communicating those solutions can make people appreciate your brand even more.
As a consumer: When you buy something, consider what will happen to it when you are finished using it. Try not to buy things that are disposable, but if it is unavoidable, consider whether the item can be recycled or reused – by you or someone else. When you’re buying something, be aware of the amount of packaging that comes with it, and try to base your decision on that, as well.
Learning: Where there’s a will, there’s a sustainable way
“Not so many years ago, a big bullion dealer wouldn’t have had a green counter, or recycled gold, or fair trade. Now they do offer these services. The diamond industry has had to clean up their act, too. At each stage, there’s something that looks impossible, then it becomes more possible, and that’s where we’re at.” Founder and CEO of Stephen Webster, Stephen Webster
As a business: Sustainability is all about innovation, and it’s important to keep pushing industries to produce better, more ethical products. Nothing is impossible.
As a consumer: Think about what you want from the products you buy, and how they can be better for you and for the planet. Communicate that feedback with a brand, and change can happen.
Learning: Look for the Butterfly Mark
“It was not easy to change our packaging, it was a huge project, but it was worth doing it. We introduced it this April, and we used the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark in all of our boutiques as a talking angle so all of our brand ambassadors have a starting point to talk about sustainability.” Franziska Gsell, CMO of IWC Schaffhausen
As a business: Being transparent and communicating with customers is so important, and a great way to do that is through the Butterfly Mark. Not only does it tell your sustainability story, but it also helps you gather data on what your customers care about.
As a consumer: When you’re choosing between the myriad of brands and products available today, look for the Butterfly Mark. If you see it in a shop, on a brand’s website or on a retailer’s website, you’ll know you’ve found a brand you can trust.
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