In uncertain times, people look for leaders who are authentic and also upfront about the challenges ahead – an insight that we explored recently in our Focus Report, Bringing the Future Forward.
As 2020 draws to a close, we asked the business leaders in our community of Positive Luxury-certified brands which leaders they find most inspiring. Read on for a motivating mix, covering a range of inspirations from start-up founders to politicians, fashion designers to journalists.
In the United States, the apparel industry has always focused on short-term revenues, with little or no concern for environmental damage, worker rights, or the disservice today’s actions will have on tomorrow’s generation. The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard has proven that profits, growth, and sustainability efforts can be pursued at the same time resulting in long-term benefits for consumers, employees and shareholders. Several decades ahead of his time, Chouinard’s integrity, persistence, and approach to leadership remain truly inspiring.
Monica Magdas Miller, Founder of Santicler
Clare Press, founder of The Wardrobe Crisis, journalist, author and presenter is for me one of the most authentic and reliable voices of sustainability. Her podcasts are a true wake-up call of global issues surrounding us and have become a nucleus of resourceful information for me in my pursuit of conscious manifestation.
Bav Tailor, Founder of Bav Tailor
Clare Dubois, founder of TreeSisters, is an inspiration. The charity has planted nearly 13 million trees to date, not only addressing climate change but helping rebuild the relationship between people and nature. The work of this unique environmental organisation is a combination of employing and empowering women, and measurable ecological restoration.
Jayn Sterland, Managing Director of Weleda UK
I feel really inspired by Heura, a company which was born in Barcelona in 2017. They are not only a company that manufactures vegetarian chicken but also lead an influential movement which aims at reducing meat consumption and hence improving pollution levels and animal welfare. Their social media is amazing, a fantastic case study for any other start-up.
Francisco Lagunas Hernández, Head of Contents & 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development at Rusticae
Inspired by Tom Szaky and his company TerraCycle’s mission to eliminate the idea of waste, Albiva’s products, formulas and packaging were specifically designed to reduce waste and we encourage our customers to buy less and buy better quality. TerraCycle offers innovative practical solutions, both to individuals and businesses, to tackle the waste problem and our goal as a business is to join its packaging system Loop. For us, it is about enabling and inspiring responsible consumption.
Ivana Iesini, Founder of Albiva
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, famously known for her strong advocacy for the Green New Deal in the US. Its propositions are constantly attacked and criticized for being too idealistic. What inspires me about AOC is how her unwavering voice reminds us that we can all aim higher and do better to ensure a brighter future.
Larada Lasam, Founder of Washed Ashore
Sir David Attenborough is a huge inspiration to me, his passion and commitment to environmental causes, the natural world and sustainability is unwavering. I found his most recent documentary, A Life On Our Planet extremely moving and hope that it inspires global hope and positive change for the future.
Joanne Milner, Chief Executive of Garrard
Stella McCartney, a true pioneer of ethical luxury. Her uncompromising commitment to sustainability and collaborative support for businesses creating low-impact materials has redefined the fashion industry over two decades. Forever seeking new ways to enrich not damage the environment, her bold defiance of the status quo is inspirational.
Franziska Gsell, CMO & Sustainability Committee Chair at IWC Schaffhausen
Long standing partners of The Macallan, The Roca brothers, 3-star Michelin chefs and owners of El Celler de Can Roca, twice voted World’s Best Restaurant, inspire us with their tribute to family roots and tradition, their respect for sustainability and innovation, and their humble sense of community where human beings are truly at one with nature.
Igor Boyadjian, Managing Director of The Macallan
Livia Firth is one of our biggest inspirations, founder of Eco-Age, they specialises the communication and consulting of sustainability. Firth is one of the UN Leaders of Change, and truly inspires us to be as transparent as we can in order to lower our impact on the planet and its people.
The team at Skiim
The first name that comes into my mind is the non-profit organization, One Ocean Foundation, founded by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo (Sardinia). I believe and stand for their mission to accelerate solutions to ocean issues. I have so many beautiful memories by the sea and every time, I feel free and empowered by the energy of our oceans. The current state is alarming. We must act now before it’s too late.
Alessandro Vergano, Co-founder of Kampos
I grew up with a strong affinity to nature and a passion for travel. When I founded Balance Holidays, two areas were non-negotiable: to design experiences that enrich every guest but also protects the wellbeing of planet Earth, and continuing to learn, grow and develop conscious and positive behaviours with our partners to excel our combined efforts. When I learned about Conscious Travel, their mission resonated deeply with me. Which up until this day, continues to motivate us to better our business model into generating a greater goodness of our environment and communities.
Livia Manca di Villahermosa, Founder of Balance Holidays
I am inspired by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which works across academia, businesses and governments with the mission to accelerate a transition from a linear to a circular economy. They share insights and information and inspire re-thinking and re-designing with the idea of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
Tina Bhojwani, Co-Founder & CEO of AERA
I deeply respect and admire the work of Blue Marine Foundation and their effort to protect and conserve the world’s oceans. Marine life is under threat from climate change, pollution and overfishing. I wish that people would finally realise that oceans feed us and make our planet amazing. We have to treat them with respect; not only the oceans but all natural habitats.
Lucija Kračun, Managing Director of DALÚ Natural Skincare
We hugely admire Dame Ellen MacArthur and her foundation’s impact in transforming traditional consumption and production methods and creating sustainable alternatives. Her collaboration with UN Environment which influenced large companies (such as Unilever and H&M Group) to reduce or eliminate plastic packaging is something truly commendable.