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ERIN KAY WILLIAMS

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The current climate is scary. Emotions are all over the place and its hard not to be left with worry or concern. With us all trying to ...

Sunday, 3 May 2020

What does Fashion have to do with Biodiversity Loss and Environmental Damage?


The impact of the fashion industry is far reaching and there is no way to cover every element where it's impacts are felt, whether that be good or bad. But in light of Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Week, I thought it was about time I tried to highlight just some of the ways the Fashion industry is playing a role in from habitat destruction, water pollution and land degradation to energy requirements and waste production.

How we consume fashion has altered dramatically over the past 20 years. Our fashion consumption doubled between 2000 and 2014 (1), yet 50% of the fast fashion garments purchased are thrown away within a year. In Europe, the average number of collections per year for fashion companies went from averaging two in 2000 to five in 2011. Whilst Zara somehow manages to release 24 collections. For comparison, H&M put out between 12 and 16 out.

This excessive buying and waste was naturally going to have an impact, how could it not? From the land required to grow cotton, or the oil needed to create polyester, to the millions are new garment workers required to meet the demand and the chemicals needed to create the colours for that season. All production has had to grow.

Chemical Use in Fashion

Lets begin with cotton, I won't spend much time on this but most cotton is heavily treated with chemicals in fact although it is only grown on 2.5% of the world’s agricultural land, it consumes 16% of all the insecticides and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide (2). Not just that though, insecticides and herbicides also destroy the pests natural predators whilst also destroying the soil quality which in turn leads to lower crop yields for farmers. Yet with 73 percent of global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land (3) vital resources like water are also being over used and enabling pesticides and herbicides to penetrate deeper into the soils.

On top of this, chemical run of into other land areas, especially if the cotton is grown near forests eventually leads to our water system being polluted. Stacey Dooley's documentary also brought to light something I was taught at uni, that these chemicals and the high exposure is impacting on the communities that live their causing a variety of life threatening conditions and birth defects. Organic cotton is trying to help solve at least some of these problems by removing / only allowing a small number of certified herbicides and pesticides to be used on the cotton but their is still alot of the cotton growing industry that's causing damage(4).

At the other end of the garment process fluorinated chemicals are still being used even though they are among the world most toxic materials in the world (YES, THEY ARE STILL GOING INTO OUR CLOTHES). Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen which can lead to cancer and is known to be an endocrine disrupter is also still being used in our clothing production to get certain effects like waterproofing or crease proofing that customers demand, although I cant imagine they would if they knew the risk (5)!

There are some brands now fighting the norm though and choosing to stay away from these dangerous chemicals. Levi's chose to not add a fluorinated chemical which helps create stain resistance because they felt the environmental impact was too high, just like Patagonia opted to not add a formaldhyde chemical which prevents creasing to their garments.

Sadly though, we still have a long way before the majority of brands are putting planet and peoples health above the look of the garment they are choosing to create.

Water Pollution created by the Fashion Industry

Chemicals and water pollution for the fashion industry tend to come pretty much hand in hand. Textile dyeing is the world’s second-largest polluter of water, since the water leftover from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers. In fact, the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide (7).

Lack of legislation in many of the countries where the dying and tanning processes takes place leads to this issue and illegal dumping of waste and the heavy metals is common due to regulation (if there are any) not being well enforced. The result?  The  world’s largest clothes exporter, China have declared that nearly one third of the countries’ rivers are classified as “too polluted for any direct human contact”. The same pattern is seen all over the world, and the documentary River Blue is a real eye opener into the true scale of the problem.

Water being polluted isn't just an issue in the process of making our clothes though sadly. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester which is a staggering. Although we are creating clothing our of old plastic fishing nets for example this doesn't stop them shedding in the wash.

Due to the size of of the microfibres that are shed as well, the filters used to clean our water are unable to capture them resulting in microfibres being found in every river studied to date along with being in the vast amount of ocean species. A scary reality check for us all.

At the moment, there are only a few options to try and reduce microfibre shedding with the likes of guppy bags (although some studies don't believe they work well). The best option though, is choosing fabrics with low levels of elastin and plastic fibres or are made completely of natural fibres such as  cotton, wool, bamboo and hemp being fantastic options. That way, no shedding would take place because there is no plastic is in the garment to begin with. For those items that you can't help needing, be sure to try and wash garments less frequently to reduce how often shredding can take place.

The Effect of the Fashion Industry on Biodiversity 

The impact the fashion industry has through out the creation process is pretty obvious to most. The destruction of biodiversity during the growing of crops used and the the degradation of soil mentioned before due to the use of pesticides and herbicides has lead to rapid species decline (7).

To meet the growing demand, land has also had to be cleared to enable new cotton and fabric plants to grow, which will have inevitably caused habitat destruction and in some cases, the creation of habitat separation. The issue with this island style clearing that can take place, is if the remaining pocket of habitat for the species is not big enough, the species will be unable to sustain themselves with genetic diversity and result in eventual species extinction. We also can't ignore the fashion industry demand on oil, which is a result of fibres like polyester (the most common fibre in the world) and nylon. In turn, this means that they are partially responsible for the the oil spills that still happen on a regular basis (even if they are not regularly broadcast to the public). Now this may not be a direct result of their actions, but as we know, demand leads to creation and supply.

The impact sadly doesn't end with cotton or polyester though, leather and viscose have been linked to the deforestation of the Amazon due to clearing for cattle grazing and trees to meet viscose demand. Desertification is also taking place due to unsustainable agriculture practices taking place. Cashmere goats overgrazing in Mongolia’s grasslands provides just one example, and thy have been found to be responsible for more than three-quarters of the decline in grasslands, which is intricately linked with soil erosion (9).

The devastating consequences felt from the growing need for materials is most obvious in Uzbekistan. With the demand for cotton in the region, new farms were set up and water filtered from the rivers and away from the Aral Sea. So much so that in 50 years, the sea had completely vanished. Once one of the world’s four largest lakes, the Aral Sea is now little more than desert and a few small ponds. This of course not only had a dramatic impact on the people that relied on the lake for their livelihoods but also all of the unique species that once called it home which are sadly now all gone (9).

Biodiversity has also taken a hit in so many of the river systems due to the high levels of pollution pumped out during the dying and tanning process. In rivers like Bangladesh's Buriganga, that see vast amounts of chemical waste disposed into it from the buzzing garment industry on its shores, the river is incapable of supporting almost any animal life and this is not a one off event (10).

There is hope for Bangladesh at least though, with the announcement last year that The Bangladeshi Supreme Court has given all rivers in the country legal rights. This means that "people who damage a river can get taken to court by the government-appointed National River Conservation Commission. They’ll be tried as if they’d harmed a living entity, because each river now has the right to life. That means the river’s government-designated human representatives can sue on its behalf when it’s being endangered" (11). It's early days as to whether this will rapidly help reduce pollution and enable species to return back to the waters but at least its a start.

Waste Produced by the Fashion Industry 

The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second. Or in numbers, it's estimated that the fashion industry produces 92 million tons of textile waste annually or 4% of the global waste. Now for products that we should hold on to and cherish, 4% is ALOT.

With only around 30% of clothes going to charity shops, its easy to see why and how so much of our clothing ends up as waste yet this doesn't solve the problem. Poor quality clothing that is produced quickly means that even though garments may be unwanted, they can not go onto new homes due to them being unable to last and instead, end up as waste.

Fast fashion and its poor quality is just one side of the story. The trend driven market is another. With fashion collections coming out so regularly, a recent survey found that on average, women are only wearing clothing pieces 7 times before getting rid of them shedding light to just how much of our wardrobe is not used or simply wasted.

As the fashion industry continues to grow, the amount of waste we are producing is only going to increase but there are brands and initiatives trying to help the cycle. From HURR to depop, rental and resale platforms are increasing helping to find new ways of utilising fashion whilst also reducing the amount of waste that may have originally been created. Now though, we need brands to step up and take control on their waste in the supply chain and their wasted stock. In recent years, luxury brands have made headlines because they've chosen to burn their stock to help retain brand value without thought of the impact on the environment. We need better!

The Fashion Industries Energy Demand 

With ever growing demand for fashion it is not surprise that the industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s  annual carbon emissions. That's more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined! What may be even more staggering is that at this pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 % by 2030 (3). A figure that most definitely is not in line with the Paris Agreement and 1.5 degree temperature rise which is what the world is meant to be aiming for.

The energy demand and carbon emissions produced by the fashion industry mainly comes down to the size of the supply chain and its complexity. The shipping, and travel expense and emissions for each part of the fashion journey means that small adjustments to each stage could have a large impact. From using lighter storage boxes, to streamlining vehicles to reduce drag, to switching to electric vehicles that are powered by renewable energy. There are lots of options to explore and ways for the industry to do better, if they are determined.

Take Away on Fashion and the Environment 

The impact of the fashion industry is far reaching and at a larger scale than most people can imagine. It doesn't have to be this way though, if the demand for fashion was not continuously growing, then the need for further habitat destruction would vanish. If we could help create the infrastructure and regulations in the countries producing the clothing, rivers would not be polluted and instead wildlife would be able to come back. If we reduced our dependency on pesticides and herbicides through education and partnerships, crop yields would remain stable, soil would be in better condition and the risk to those living in the areas of production would be far lower. If we could learn how to mend our clothes, and create a system which enabled real recycling of fibres to be used again we would be able to dramatically reduce our waste. Finally, if all of the billion pound companies invested in their supply chain to encourage renewable energy supply, especially considering many of these countries experience a lot of sunlight, they could not only help reduce fashions footprints but also ensure clean energy for their workforce. A win win.
There is a long way to go. yet there are brands working to improve the industry through transparency and changing the system. We need clothes that last, that are beautiful and that are able to be enjoyed from generation to generation. Clothing is part of our identities, it how we express ourselves yet the fast fashion industry and its constant new trends every month, means many of us do not know what is our own style and what we have been sold. We need a fashion revolution back to slower times, where our environment can sustain our demand and that we can get to wear clothes that make us truly happy (as well as being well made and environmentally friendly).


 

References

1. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula
2. http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/thirstycrops.pdf
3. https://organiccotton.org/oc/Cotton-general/Impact-of-cotton/Risk-of-cotton-farming.php
4.https://www.pan-uk.org/cottons_chemical_addiction_updated/
5. https://www.voguebusiness.com/technology/fashion-remove-toxic-chemicals-from-clothing
6. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/A-New-Textiles-Economy_Full-Report_Updated_1-12-17.pdf
7. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/09/23/costo-moda-medio-ambiente
8. https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/fashion-biodiversity-problem-wildlife-stella-mccartney-kering
9. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/2014/oct/01/cotton-production-linked-to-images-of-the-dried-up-aral-sea-basin
10. River Blue Documentary
11. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/8/18/20803956/bangladesh-rivers-legal-personhood-rights-nature
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Friday, 1 May 2020

Easy Herbs, Fruit & Veg You Can Grow At Home


Last year was the first time I really embraced growing my own veg and boy was it an enlightening experience and with my belief that everything I grow should be organic, soil, fertilisers and pest controls all had to be considered.

There were a fair few lessons learned and a numerous guides and books read in the process to try and learn what an earth I should be doing. So I thought, I'd share what I learnt as you enter into the veg and herb growing season.

One thing to remember though, it doesn't have to look super neat! Just look at my mayhem from last year below!



Time of year to grow veg?

April is often the time that most people will start considering planting out veg. Be careful though of frosts as these could kill of your seedlings. If you are wanting to grow from seed you may therefore need to just consider whether you can cover your plants to stop them from getting frost bite, or whether you have a small space inside for seeds which are not very hardy to get growing in the warmth. Once the weather is a little water you can then get planted out. If possible though, buy them from a garden centre.

Why Grow Organic?

Wit hall the talk of growing our own food, one thing that I believe to be really important is ensuring what we grow is organic. We do not need our food to look perfect, it can be any shape or size. By growing organically it means you can avoid harmful chemicals which are not good for your body and also means that you are not having dangerous chemicals leach into the environment around us which is causing severe damage to our water systoms. So please, always opt for organic options if you can afford it. There are also lots of organic pest control methods as well which should always be your first point of call! We want to work with nature, and that should mean we try not to kill other organisms that live there! Deter yes, kill no! For more info on organic though, there are lots of good online resources including this guide for reasons why to eat organic.



Easy Herbs to Grow at Home

One lesson to mote below starting with herbs is that if purchased from a super market, they will not be suitable for the outside. They will likely also need a lot of love and care, and very little harvesting in the first few weeks of ownership to allow the plant to become properly established. After this time period you can then introduce them gradually to the outside (by leaving them out only in the day). Alternatively, you can just keep them on the kitchen side. 

Mint

Super quick growing, Mint in some ways can survive on a fair amount of neglect. One thing to be aware of though is that have roots that love alot of space. This means they can kill of other herbs if planted in the same space. Therefore, be sure to keep mint in its own pot and avoid window boxes (unless there are clear separations).

Rosemary

Best bought as a plant due to slow growth (like Lavender), Rosemary is a great herb to grow which will leave a lovely scent in the garden. The plant can be kept in small or slightly bigger spaces and this makes them the perfect windowsill plant.

Tyme

Another absolute cooking classic, tyme us super easy to look after and can be grown from plant or seed. The benefit is that they are evergreen and so can last all year round. Perfect for when you need some extra flavour in food in winter!

Basil

Basil, unlike other herbs should really be kept inside as they do not like the cold. If you live in cities, where the summer temperature will not fall very low though, you can leave them outside during this period should you like. Their love of warmth also means they will take as much sunlight as possible. Just remember to water regularly due to soil drying out!

Coriander

Obviously if you hate the taste of this plant, growing it is probably not going to be for you, but if you do like the taste, its a super easy herb to grow. All it needs is sunlight for some of the day and regular water and a medium depth pot.

Sage

A pretty sturdy herb, sage just like tyme last throughout the year and can be picked well into the winter seasons! 

Some maintenance tips for herbs

1. Most herbs will want well drained soil (where water will not pool and can easily run off). If you do not have this it is best to plant your herbs into large pots or window bays. One way to guarantee run of is place some pebbles at the bottom of you pot before adding your compost and plants, this will prevent the roots from sitting in any water if there is a lot of rain.

2. Regular water is essential. This may sound obvious but watering in summer time is an intense process and if you forget you could risk them drying out. Best times are to water first thing in the morning, or at night. Pretend its like having a rabbit who needs to be checked on once or twice a day. If the soil feels to dry, it probably is!

3. Provide organic fertiliser feed every 2-3 weeks to give them a boost. The one often recommended is Seaweed fertiliser but there are other alternatives.


Easy Fruit & Vegetables to Grow at Home

Veg and fruits can be a little more demanding due to the nature of what they are growing. You need to be more aware of pests, ensuring they've have plenty of fertiliser, that they are in good soil and are encouraged to grow in the right places (tomato plants can get out of control, I found this out last year!).
One great thing about veg though is you can buy seedlings from many garden centres if you do not want to grow from seeds yourself! 
One word of warning, if you have regular cat visitors to your garden be careful to make sure everything you grow is not near where they spray or sleep. I lost all my courgettes and a strawberry plant to this which was heartbreaking!

Strawberry

Provide them with a spot where they get both some sun and shade and if possible slightly clay like soil and they will thrive. You may need to protect them once they are a little further developed as birds may try and grab them and as they sit very low on the ground, you could need to put some fleece down to protect them against the frost. 

One idea I love, why not plant them in a hanging basket, this means the fruit can then grow down over the sides! A pretty sight and a space saver if you only have a small outside spot. 

Lettuce

My mum has been telling me to grow cut and grow lettuce for the past 2 years and I'm still to fulfill this objective, but I will certainly be trying to this year. The super easy crop can be continuously harvested throughout the year allowing you a steady stream of fresh veg!

Courgette

So long as you dont let cats squish the seedlings, you will find courgettes expectionally easy to grow. If you're planting straight out as a seed, best to wait till May time, they will need a fair amount of space between each seed (each seed can grow 3-4 courgettes each) and so better to give more space than not enough! If you want to plant in containers, just be sure to one plant one plant per container instead of multiple in the same spot!

French Beans

Another classic which I learnt the hard way how not to grow (my plant grew a singular bean and it was adorable!). Climbing french beans will need a support and something that they can climb up as they grow, this could be a few canes to create a triangle over the plant so that it can weave through. I would recommend planting in their own pot, and be sure to put down organic slug wool (or if you're vegan there are other alternatives to wool), because snails and slugs will try their best to much on your seedlings!

Tomatoes

My greatest success was without a double by 3 tomato plants (that did get a little out of control). Like beans Tomatoes are best if they have something to grow up and so when possible place them on a frame where you can ensure they grow straight. When you have enough offshoots (3 or 4 is enough) be sure to brake off any of the other new branches trying to grow. This will prevent the plants energy into growing bigger and instead encourage the fruits to grow! You can just strap to canes but be sure they're sturdy as the plants will have some weight when the fruits are nearing maturity. 

Just like with strawberry's you can also grow tomatoes in a hanging basket, just be sure not to end up with too many branches hanging down! 

Broccoli

One of my successes last year was definitely my broccoli plant. Be sure when planting out as a seedling that you provide it with protection against snails and slugs until it is slightly more developed and off the ground! One thing to remember is to harvest as soon as the head looks ready, this will allow the plant to then grow another head. If you do this too late, the second sprouts will not grow. The plant only takes around 12 weeks to grow and is super rewarding!

Some maintenance tips for fruit and veg

1. Most veg, like herbs will want well drained soil so be sure that where ever your planting water can drain away. That includes grow bags as well!

2. Regular water is essential. I'll stick with my pet analogy from earlier!

3. Provide organic fertiliser feed every week. More fertiliser is required due to the highly nutrient crop that is being produced. Different crops will respond better to different fertilisers. Organic Seaweed fertiliser is recommended in general, but specific tomato and potato fertilisers are also available for those crops.

Other Fruit and Veg that you could try growing at home

1. Potatoes - perfect for a grow bag, a big pot or if your got enough depth the garden soil! Be sure to buy potato seedlings just to gaurentee no diseases on your crops! Better to be safe than sorry.

2. Beetroot - Easy for container growing or the soil, you can continue to plant seeds through out the summer so that you have crops all season long.

3. Radish - Be sure to give space and beware of slugs and snails as the crop starts to grow!

4. Chillies - So long as they're kept warm chillies can be easily grown in the UK. So just sow seeds inside and grow indoors until summer time before putting them outside! Be sure to harvest regularly to ensure the plant puts the energy into growing seeds not just branches.

So there you have it. Some garden inspiration that I hope will show you whether its just a windowsill or a garden, you can try your hand at growing any food you fancy!

Love
Erin
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Sunday, 19 April 2020

What is Fashion Revolution Week All About?

What Is Fashion Revolution and Fashion Revolution Week?

Fashion Revolution Week runs every year in the week surrounding the 24th April.

For most people the 24th April does not signify anything major but this date is the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, a catastrophic tragedy which really brought the reality of the lack of rights and transparency in the fashion industry to the forefront of many peoples eyes and minds. Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh, housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. Those working there were producing clothes for many of the biggest global brands.

The building collapse saw over 1,100 people loose their life and another 2,500 people were injured making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in our history. The victims were predominantly women.

The most heartbreaking part of the tragedy was that the loss of life was preventable. In the aftermath, survivors came forward and publically explained  how all the employees knew the building was hazardous and showing cracks in the days leading up to the collapse. Multiple workers told their supervisors that they were afraid to enter the building but were forced to continue working or were threatened with loosing their jobs. The retails shops and banks on the ground floor shut down their operations due to building safety concerns, but the demand of global brands and an insatiable fashion industry called garment workers back inside to meet the never ending deadlines. The factories remained open and sadly many of  these workers who made our clothes lost their life as a result.

The truth of the situation was that many of the clothes made during this period of fear before the building collapse actually happened were packed in boxes and shipped to brands and retailers around the world and many of us bought and wore these garments stitched together in tragedy. One thing to be very aware of though, is that the culpable brands weren’t limited to ‘fast-fashion’, but included mid-price retailers. The attribute that unified all of the brands wasn’t the low price, but lack of transparency within their supply change .

Fashion Revolution as a movement was born because of the disaster. To raise the voices of those who are suffering and to change the way we look at the industry to prevent something like this ever happening again.

You can find out more about Fashion Revolution Week on the Fashion Revolution Activist Guide


What are the conditions actually like in the Fashion Industry?

The fashion industries supply chains are complex and global. Our clothes pass through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and many more before they reach the shops where we come into contact with them (whether that is virtually or physically) and it is unknown how many people work within the industry as a result and child, trafficked and forced labour is something that is sadly rife.

77% of UK retailers believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery in their supply chain

Of the estimated 300 million people who work in the clothing industry, only around 25 to 60 million people are directly employed according to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and most of those employed in the paid work are young women. With nearly 1 in 3 (or 8 in 10 from a more recent poll) female garment workers having experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months, a statistic which should shock us all, the fashion industries contribution to gender inequality should be clear. Sadly though, harassment isn’t the only aspect their work garment workers have to fear. Fashion Revolution's website states "The Garment Worker Diaries project has found that less than half of the workers in their Bangladesh sample felt safe in their factories and 40% reported seeing a fire in their workplace." Demonstrating that those working in the factories are still regularly put at risk!

Over 90% of workers in the global garment industry have no possibility to negotiate their wages or conditions.

For the low pay, often below living wages in the countries where they work, garment workers are still exposed to so many risks that they shouldn't have to face and yet unable to demand better. Even recently their has been battles around unionisation.


How to get involved in Fashion Revolution Week 2020?

This year, Fashion Revolution Week is having to be a little different due to the current lock down climate. That doesn't mean that there aren't lots of things to get involved with though, it can just take a little longer to find out what's happening.

There are some simple things that we can all do though.

1. #WhoMadeMyClothes - On any social media platform you can join in to ask brands #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes? Be sure to tag them, as although only a few may respond, demonstrating the need for more transparent supply chains for fashion.

2. Email specific brands to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes? using this email template. If you want to go further, be sure to ask questions on issues that really matter to you. For me that's biodiversity and sustainability. Fashion Revolution created a list of brands email address which makes it very easy to reach out.

3. Join in some online events. Fashion Revolution have pulled together lots of events online which vary from educational talks to panel discussions. Just a few which I think sound fantastic are below but there are SO many more:

20 April

13.00 Virtual Conversation With Kirsten Scott & Nina Van Volkinburg.

Kirsten Scott interviewed by Nina Von Volkinburg on the future relevance of heritage knowledge, materials and techniques in formulating a new, alternative paradigm of luxury fashion that aims to be pro-actively positive for people and planet.

14.00 Making Clothes Without Making Waste

Learn the basic principles of making a simple zero waste shirt, using scaled paper patterns. 30m Q&A with Holly McQuillan + Cassandra Macindoe.

18.00 Meet the Innovators – Fashion for Good

learn more about the start-ups at the cutting edge of sustainable fashion innovation. More information can be found on the Fashion Revolution website.

21 April

16.00 Fashion Supply Chains: What's Next?

How is Covid-19 impacting the fashion supply chain? This virtual panel discussion, sponsored by Sustainability at GSA, will explore how each stage of the business model is shifting, and focus on positive actions to make much-needed changes post-crisis.

19.30 A practical Guide to Ethical Trade

Natasha Staddon from TOC will show you how to maximise your potential to positively impact working conditions in your business and supply chain, learning the foundations of ethical compliance guiding you to online resources to support you on your journey. 

22 April

12.00 Live Q&A with Bethany Williams 

British fashion designer Bethany Williams joins us for a live stream Q&A on Earth Day to discuss her innovative and inclusive creative practice. 

13.00 Heritage & Style Talk with Alice Wilby

Alice Wilby is a stylist, creative and activist in fashion.
She has been working closely with Fashion Revolution over the years.
A woman on the frontline of fashion politics and she recently panelled at Show Studio and spoken at Conde Nast about her consultancy called "A Novel Approach " which integrates sustainable practices in fashion.

22.00 Natural Dye Workshop: Dyeing w/ Kitchen Compost with An 

Late on due to the time difference with America. the workshop will cover the fundamentals of natural dyeing with a focus on kitchen compost as the primary source for colour. A demonstration walking through the steps of prepping fabric, extracting dye from avocado skins, pits, and onion skins, and a Q&A will close out the session.

23 April

14.00 Shaping Fashion: What’s in my Clothes Webinar

five industry experts come together to discuss what clothes are made of.
- Carry Somers - Founder & Global Operations Director at Fashion Revolution
- Morten Lehmann - Chief Sustainability Officer at Global Fashion Agenda
- Sandra Capponi - Founder of Good on You
- Mariana Anacleto & Kyra Vennings - Part of 'Dirty Laundry' student collective at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute

18.30 Sustainable Fashion in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

A panel of small fashion business owners will discuss the state of sustainable fashion in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

18.30 Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution

After Coronavirus, what kind of world do we want to return to? With this opportunity to reset our priorities, what do we want fashion to look like?

24 April

11.00 Mass consumption: The end of an era

Fashion Revolution is to stage a digital version of its annual Fashion Question Time event because of the current measures in place to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

15.00 Craftivism – Collective Action in the Making

We will discuss the power of doing craft during these uncertain times and discuss some ideas of craftivism projects you can do at home.

25 April

11.00 Deconstructing Fast Fashion

This online workshop we will unpick an unwanted or damaged garment from our own wardrobes, so please bring an unpicker or small scissors and a garment.

15.50 Fashion Open Studio X Somerset House

Bethany Williams explains how to disrupt the system and make new business models with a social purpose.

All Week Tickets 

Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution - £15 for week pass

The event showcases brands doing good through ethical practices, sustainable sourcing and circular production practices. Running from 20th to 26th April 2020, we have 7 days of virtual talks, workshops and virtual tours. The event will cover Why?, What? and How? we can all take action for the biggest movement that has no plans on stopping due to coronavirus.


So there we have it. I hope this guide proves useful and that you can understand why Fashion Revolution Week is so important!

Love
Erin

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Saturday, 28 March 2020

How to be Sustainable in a Lockdown


The current climate is scary. Emotions are all over the place and its hard not to be left with worry or concern. With us all trying to adjust to this new way of living, working and socialising it is perfectly normal to need to stop and take stock of the situation. I for one have felt afloat over the past week, with the realisation of the current situation really hitting home and the scale of what is at risk becoming more and more apparent.

With only one task on the to do list - avoid physical contact with others - I thought I'd use my only outlet on here to share with you some ideas and projects that you could undertake, should you feel so inclined to help you move towards living a more sustainable life as we emerge out of these times. Some are simple and some are pretty fun to!

So without further a do, here's a few simple things you can do to live more sustainably at home... 

1. Change your energy provider

It maybe some thing that people have been banging on about for a fair amount of time but changing your energy provider is one quick fire way to make a difference. With working from home, there has never been a more important time to ensure that you're using renewable energy to power your activities.

2. Create a compost bin

Have a garden? Why not spend some time clearing a small space to create you're own compost bin, you will need some wood to make it but it will save you a fortune on compost and help you to add value to your waste. If you don't have a garden, making sure you spend time to separate out your food waste is still really important. You can even get a little indoor composter to create what you need indoors!

3. Plant some seeds 

Empty yogurt pots, and toilet rolls are the perfect starter pots for seedlings. If you're visiting the supermarket you can grab a pack of seeds that you really think you will eat. Even better, order some organic seeds and have them delivered through the post and you can support one of your local businesses in the process.

4. Grow new from your waste

If you don't fancy growing food from seeds, why not grow food from your food waste instead. This buzz feed guide to growing food scraps is a great place to start. Foods such as lettuce, spring onion, leeks and lemongrass are a great place to start, and if your feeling adventurous, you can even turn to mushrooms and avocados!

5. A wardrobe clear out

With one truck of clothes being burnt or sent to landfill every second we all have a responsibility to do more. So why not have a wardrobe clear out, photograph your unwanted garments and sell them to to people who do whilst earning a little bit of cash on sights like ebay or depop.

6. Empty the cupboards

As people go crazy bulk buying things they really don't need, why not go the other way. Go through your cupboards and finally pull out the cans that you never use and instead donate them to your local food bank. 

7. Mend your broken clothes

We can spend a whole load of time scrolling through online shopping websites but why not put the phone down and pick up a needle and thread instead. Add a button to that shirt which you've been meaning to do for months, sew up that small hole that gradually growing on your bottoms. A new lease of life and saved your bank account from the hit. Win win.

8. Educate yourself

Have you been wondering about some of the issues surrounding sustainability? Do you not understand why there is a fashion revolution? Why you should by organic? Why we need to include privilege in the conversation around sustainability? What are the real issues with plastic? If not, now is the perfect time to learn and be able to have those insightful conversations. I'm always happy to chat away on the topic should you need someone. There are also loads of fantastic free courses out their at the moment including edx

9. Make it yourself

Why not have a little you time, and create your own scrubs or cleaning products. You will be amazed at how easy it is, you pretty much just need essential oils, coconut oil and sugar for scrubs or vinegar, orange skins and essential oils for cleaning products. EASY!

10. Stay indoors

Yes, something we are all doing anyway will massively help. Less cars on the roads means fewer emissions and therefore better for the environment. The caveat to this though, be sure to put extra layers on/ grab a blanket if you get a little chilly instead of putting on the heating.

I hope what ever you're up to in this weird time, you find comfort in knowing we are all in this together!

Love
Erin
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Sunday, 19 January 2020

A Weekend in Newport, Pembrokeshire; A Guide


It's been a while since I wrote any type of guide. It maybe more accurate to say it has been a whole since I wrote anything though with my lack of blog posts this year.

With so many incredible hotels and restaurants embracing sustainability though, I thought I'd pick up my guides around the UK. Afterall, I've done Cornwall, Applecross in Scotland, Llandudno is North Wales, Keswick in the Lake District and so here we have a guide to Newport village in Pembrokeshire, Wales. A beautiful place by the sea, moments from the hills and somewhere I will most certainly be visiting again.

Where to Stay in Newport?

For such a small town, Netport is filled with quaint little B&Bs and Inns. We stayed at Llys Meddyg Hotel and Restaurant which was incredible. With bulk toiletries in the bathrooms to reduce waste and beds which you never want to get out of, it was splendid. Finally, beautiful little lounges are available for use and are perfect for a board game or private conversation after you've visited the basement bar.

If you're wanting other options try  The Castle Inn which has a great menu of locally sourced food or Cnapan Guest House, a beautiful B&B

Where to Eat and Drink in Newport?

Our experience at  Llys Meddyg was second to none. Beautiful food sourced locally and an incredible bar where the herbs are foraged from the garden.

If you fancy pub grub, The Golden Lion or The Castle Inn both have delicious menus. Or if pizza is more your thing, The Canteen offers eat in or take away.

Finally, Tides Kitchen & Wine Bar a small restaurant right in the centre of town which runs selected menus which change daily depending on what they can get in. Perfect for a romantic get away.

What to do?

Why not rent a board and head out surfing at one of the beaches or instead go to the Witches Cauldron where you can even swim through the caves at low tide. Some would call Barafundle Bay the most beautiful beach in the country so it is also definitely worth a visit. Alternatively you could visit one of the RSPB sanctuaries at Ramsey Island and Skomer Islands.

With so many walks in the local area you have many options to choose from, whether that's a Circular walk around Dinas Island from Cym yr Eglws, or the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy and head along the coastal path through Porthgain. Alternatively, why not walk to the top of Carn Ingli over looking Newport Bay. Finally, you could opt to walk around St Davids Head, a firm favourite and renown for its beauty.


If you happen to be their over New Years as well, then be sure to join in the Mayors Swim, a very cold but exhilarating dip in the ocean with the rest of the community.

There is so many things to do in one of the countries most beautiful areas and it's clear to see why the Pembrokeshire coast is a firm favourite for outdoor fans and ocean lovers alike. I for one, will definitely be heading back soon, who knows I may even head to a foraging course at the Llys Meddyg that they offer!

I hope this inspires you to head Pembrokeshire way, I can guarantee you wont regret it!

Love
Erin
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Sunday, 5 January 2020

My Personal Journey; A Zoologist's Road to Sustainability


It all began whilst watching big cat diaries when I was seven or eight. I had always been a fan of animals in a big way, but in that moment, watching Simon King chase through the plains to follow a cheetah, I knew that nature in all its beauty and darkness was what I wanted to spend my life working in.

From rabbits, fish,cats, dogs and snakes, animals filled my after school time just like nature filled my holidays. Trips to Ireland, Snowdonia, Cornwall. Whether I realised it or not a the time, my favourite memories were created whilst surrounded by incredible beautiful scenery.

I attacked veterinary experience with vigor (most of the time), from lambing to assisting in theatre. When grades didn't reach requirements soon I was enrolled in Zoology at Leeds with no turning back. Three years in and my placement year saw me experience more than some do in a lifetime. I lived in Louis Trichardt, South Africa following and studying Samango and Vervet monkeys dawn till disk and witnessing the wildlife conflict and illegal farming first hand. From there I worked as an assistant keeper in the Rhino team at Chester Zoo where I saw the power large charities can have but also the weaknesses of workplace politics and the true saying of you are only as strong as your team became something of great importance to me.

Finally, I headed to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent, a private big cat charity working to build populations and work with global projects for endangered species programmes in the hope that some may be able to be part of wild rehabilitation projects in the future. At the end of that glorious year though I was left with a dilemma. Although I wanted to work with wildlife and nature, I didn't want to be a zoo keeper and however much respect I have for researchers I knew it wasn't for me. I was left with the feeling that you need big businesses to buy in to truly change the world.


That is what led me to my masters in Sustainability and Consultancy. A way to learn about business and the built environment. It was a steep learning curve into a corporate world I never expected to enter.

Two years on, I'm 26. I live in a city I never thought I would head to, London. I've left vast open forests and spaces, for sky scrapers and crowded streets. Bizarrely enough I work for one of the largest real estate consultancies in the world as a sustainability analyst working with clients to create sustainability strategies, tackle their emissions, improve practices, create conversation and push for better business.

I cant say that its been easy because it most definitely hasn't been. I may not be on the front line saving a cheetahs as what eight year old me may have hoped. I am however in what I would call the sustainability capital of the world, working for a company really trying to drive positive change in an industry which accounts for 40% of global emissions and real progress can be made.

What I've come to realise on my windy journey into sustainability is that there is no use saving a species that the world in 40 years time will be uninhabitable for. As our oceans rise and cause coral to vanish, and vast swaths of forests burn across the world, trying to just save them alone will not work. We need to change how we live in the world first. And that is down to each and every one of us, both in work and at home, in every decision we make to ensure that our natural world can survive.


I am still a Zoologist first and a sustainability professional second. Being immersed in the natural world brings me the greatest joy, turning my stress to calm and taking my worries with it but for now I know where I can have the biggest impact to create change. We need people in companies who care about where materials are coming from and questioning why people put cost savings above the planet, researchers inventing new ways to use our waste, experts offering advice which stretches clients to go further than they may feel comfortable, individuals who really want change pushing forward new policy and all of us collectively raising our voices and awareness for the issues that matter. Without us, change will not happen quick enough.

We all want a future that is bright, where we can raise families without the concern of air pollution, habitat destruction, species collapse, food shortages, empty oceans and uninhabitable places we once called home. This may sound extreme but it the reality of the challenge we are facing. We can all be part of the solution, doing something however big or small is better than doing nothing and so I encourage you to join me in being part of the solution.

Till the next step in my journey, your sustainable zoologist,
Erin

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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

My Top Sustainability Stories of 2019

2019 has been exceptionally busy on the sustainability front. It's felt like the world has finally started to wake up to the crisis. Although governments and large companies are still not yet willing to make the huge changes that will be required of them, they are at least considering how they can become more sustainable in the future. Baby steps, but certainly steps in the right direction.

Although COP 25 was hailed a huge disaster with many countries just not willing to commit to the reductions required, the disappointment and public outcry for change will mean that soon enough, countries will have to step up and take responsibility, if not for the planet, then for their people.

So here we have some of my favourite positive stories from over the past year. There has been ALOT and so I may have added in a fair few below. As w enter into a new decade, I just hope that we will see an even bigger increase, in not just demand but mobilisation. After all, with so many companies setting 2030 targets, the time for change really is now!

January

Veganuary sees 250,000 people take part
At the beginning of the year, Veganuary saw the largest number of participants take part in the challenge. Over the month we say many of the restaurant chains embrace new recipes and food options with some continuing them on after the month ended.

Hi Fly Airline completes its first plastic-free flight
Portuguese airline Hi Fly this week became the latest high-profile brand in the transport sector to implement a ban on single-use plastic items, following similar moves from the likes of Heathrow Airport, Thomas Cook and Virgin Australia.

February

Nottingham Council unveils 2028 target to become UK’s first carbon neutral city
Nottingham City Council has committed to becoming the first ‘net-zero carbon’ city in the UK after setting the ambitious target of 2028 to go carbon neutral. The council has already met its energy target goals two years early of 26% and are on track to meet its 20% of energy to be generated from low carbon sources by 2020.

The biggest offshore wind farm in the UK starts supplying energy in February
A windfarm off the Yorkshire coast was set to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid last week. The windfarm, once complete will dwarf the current largest and with 174 turbines it will be on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations. Go green energy!

Amazon has set a goal for Net Zero on shipping 
Amazon has a long-term goal to power their global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy. With improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy, they now believe they can see a path to net zero carbon delivery of shipments to customers, this has led them to set the goal of reaching 50% of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. They're calling it project "Shipment Zero” and is a huge positive step to a net zero future.

March

Etsy to offset global shipping emissions
Etsy have made the commitment to offset all of their carbon emissions from shipping its products which make up 98% of Etsy's total emissions. A Huge

April

Samsung to stop using plastic packaging
The company made the commitment however they will still be using recycled and other bio-plastic alternatives. The end goal for the company is to be using 500,000 tons of recycled plastics by 2030 along with collecting 7.5 million tons of discarded products as well. This initiative will reduce the amount of raw plastic the company is purchasing and help the planet in the process

A Thai supermarket was praised for their use of wasted banana leafs being used as packaging in their stores. Although not a perfect plastic solution, it does pose the question of what natural waste materials can we use to transport and group items together. After all, nature makes many products which we waste in processes.

Reforestation is the answer to climate change 
It's simple really. Something many of us have been banging on about for years but trees really could be the saviors of us all with findings confirming that the cheapest way to avert the climate crisis is to restore and replant degraded forests so that they can return to being the lungs the earth so desperately need.

May

Probably one of the best stories of the year, following weeks of peaceful protests the UK government declared a climate change emergency. Although this declaration is not legally binding in any form, it was a start to a wave of positive action across the globe as other countries recognise the need to change our ways before its too late.

Oxford city council creates a citizen assembly for Climate change
Oxford city council were way ahead of the government as they are getting ready to create the first citizens assembly in the UK regarding climate change. The first meeting will be held in September. Fingers crossed we will start to see this trickle through the rest of the country as soon as possible as well!

New York City introduce a new green Bill
New York passed a bill that which will mean all new residential and commercial building across the city will have to have either solar panels, mini turbines and plants (or all three if they fancy), following in the footsteps of San Francisco, Toronto, Portland and Denver. It's hoped that the move will reduce emissions to the equivalent of removing 1 million cars off the road by 2030!

We Found Out Who The Top 100 People Killing The Planet Are
The title of this may not sound super positive but someone has compiled a list of the names and locations of the CEOs for the top 100 CO2 polluting companies in the world. It finally puts a name to the company and publicly calls for them to realise that it is their responsibility to do better. I for one am excited to see more people calling out individuals for the companies that they are responsible for in the future.

The Guardian Newspaper changed it's language around the Climate Emergency
A small but very significant act saw The Guardian change how they were addressing the climate emergency. The change saw a wave of support and positivity as the newpaper made it clear that they are calling out those who are deniers and demonstrating the urgency of the problem through their pieces. I for one made the change in how I write on my little internet site and I would encourage you all to use it in your day to day lives as well!

June

Finland pledges to become carbon neutral by 2035
Finlands new government have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2035 as part of a policy programme. The pledge will see large increases in in spending around welfare and infrastructure with increase of 1.23 bn per year of public spending.

Theresa Maylegally commited Britain to halting global warming contribution by 2050
Following on from the declaration of a Climate Emergency by the British Government, Theresa May's last act before leaving office saw her legally commit the UK to reaching Net Zero by 2050. Now all we need is the action plan to get there!

Michael Bloomburg launched campaign to close all US coal mines by 2030
Michael Bloomberg has pledged $500m towards a new campaign to close every coal-fired power station in the US by 2030. It's a bold commitment but any bold move to help tackle the climate emergency is surely a great thing!

July

Worlds biggest youth-led conservation scheme began in Wales
The youth movement has been monumental this year with many young people finding their voice to protest and to act. This youth led conservation scheme in Wales shows the power of determination in a world where many adults are still unwilling to take young people seriously with volunteers working with tenant farmers, landowners and local people to enhance habitats in order to protect the local flora and fauna.

Hotel Giant IHG removes small toiletry bottles from their hotels just in time for the summer holidays
IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza announced a ban on miniature plastic toiletries in its rooms and suites. With nearly 843,000 rooms the ban is expected to prevent 200 million mini plastic bottles from becoming waste each year.

August

Greta Thunberg heads to New York for Climate Conference by Boat
Greta Thunberg has been at the centre of the climate debate. Her no flying rule so far meant she travelled only via train across Europe. August however take her no flying rule to a new level with the 16-year-old Swede hopped on a solar powered yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, UK to New York City, US to attend the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit

September

Over 6million people, from trade unionists to schoolchildren, have taken part in global climate strikes in thousands of towns and cities.around the world. The numbers are staggering and encouraged many to believe the climate crisis was finally becoming mainstream, especially for the #FridayforFuture

Pop up stores are becoming a way for companies to engage with customers and  encourage eco-activitism. So far Body Shop, Patagonia and Timberland have all opened pop up stores with talks and activities to meet other like minded people. Here's to more brands trying to make a positive difference for people and the planet.

Gucci go arbon neutral in their own operations and across our entire supply chain, accounting for all the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions we generate. Although this has mainly been tackled by offsetting, it is a great start and part of their clear strategy which they outlined how they will become carbon neutral through a mixture of reduction, elimination and offsetting for what it calls “unavoidable emissions”.

October

Wind became Cheaper than Gas
For the first time ever wind power became cheaper than gas with wind turbines in Scotland generating almost twice the entire country’s domestic power requirements in the first six months of 2019. With this progress, the UK is officially on track to meet its goal to generate a third of its power from wind by 2030. Go WIND!

November

Ikea has pledged 100 million to support direct suppliers as they switch over to renewable energy use along with investing around 100 million euros in projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere through reforestation and forest protection. The investments will be part of IKEAs work to make the business climate positive.

Condé Nast has become the first media company to sign the UN fashion for Global Climate Action initiative, joining brands like Nike and Stella McCartney in a promise to bring the fashion industry in line with the goals of the Paris agreement.

December

The news about the climate emergency has certainly spread and that is mainly down to a 16 year old girl who's determined to get the world talking. May the actions finally start to speak louder than words in all countries!

Black Friday campaigns seem to bring out the best and worst of brands and for Patagonia its certainly the best. As part of its Patagonia Action Works platform, Patagonia encouraged members of the public across the world to donate to grassroots organisations working to preserve and restore nature, assuring viewers that Patagonia would match donations up to $10m. The fantastic news is this was reached two weeks early!
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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Big Sustainable Gift Guide 2019


Sometimes I seem to set myself tasks that are far bigger than I expect and this year was certainly no exception. Since starting the Big Sustainable Gift Guide it has been incredible to watch so many amazing brands come to light and this year there are more than ever taking to the stage, often competing directly with their none sustainable peers. As we move to a more sustainable future, it is my hope that these uniquely placed brands will soon be the norm, and having an ethical supply chain with fair wages and minimal impact on the environment will be the only standard we accept.


I hope this guide proves a useful tool, introducing you to some brands you may never heard of and help and sparking some inspiration for those friends and family members who seem trickier to buy for every year.

So without further a do, lets go!


The Fashion Lover

Veja Mesh Trainers | £130
The most sustainable trainer brand out their, and also the most stylish, if I do say so myself.

Organic Basics Tee and Set | £80
A simple concept, producing organic products, with exceptionally high standards of fabric and workers rights who all care about the environment

Levi Made & Crafted | £130
Levi have topped numerous lists with their sustainability ambitions in recent years. From reducing the water required to make each pair to their targets to reduce Co2 emissions. Their new collections also boast new concepts around technology and crafting.

Finisterre Funnel Neck Jumper | £125
Based on vintage Fair Isle sweaters, the Crozier Jumper is knitted with super soft wool with a touch of alpaca, it's the perfect winter jumper from a company with the highest level of sustainability ambitions - after all they're a registered BCorp.

Seville Hoops | £85
A company that championing of transparent, responsible, (both socially and environmentally) and revealing supply chains, their collections are designed in the UK and made in a well-established jewellery producer in Lima, Peru.

Molten Rings | £40
Handmade in England using only 100% recycled 925 sterling silver, positioned carefully with recycled silver scrap. Each ring is individual and a perfect gift for those who love something a little different. Due to the nature of the process and the variation of the scrap used, no two molten rings are the same, making each ring a true one of a kind.

Lanx Black Boots | £150
A small batch producer hand made in Lancaster, whats better than supporting small companies with sustainable methods

JW PEI Bag | £62
Croc-Embossed Vegan Leather handbag which look food with everything!

The Feminist

100 Nasty Women of History Book | £18.99
These are the badass women of history who were deemed too shocking, too provocative, too groundbreaking and, yes, too nasty for their times. It's definitely time that their stories are heard.

Why We March Book | £11.99
'On January 21, 2017, over 5 million people in 673 cities around the globe gathered in solidarity for the Women's March, carrying signs that shone with unwavering hope and determination and demanded the protection of women's rights' - this books shares those with you providing inspiration and acts as a reminder that we still have a long way to go.

Invisible Women by Caroline Perez | £16.99
Probably one of the most eye opening books you will ever read and the most important as well! It's time for the world to notice women, for everyone's safety and future.

Love Not War T-shirt | £25
T-shirts raising money for WarChild, helping give children a chance and providing them with protection against war.

Fawcett Society Membership | £88
The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. From fascinating talks to campaigning for women's rights, a membership will help continue the charities great work.

Side boob wall art | £12.50
Made locally and a statement piece for sure

If You’re Not a Feminist Print | £12.50
It's a simple message, but an important one none the less.

Femme Form Necklace | £120
Made from recycled silver, these necklaces are cast from a hand carved wax taking inspiration from the artists friends nude drawings. Beautifully simple, a reminder that there is beauty in all female form.

The Outdoor Explorer

All Birds Wool Trainers | £95
A brand that is finally been taken seriously, All birds trainers are known for not just being exceptionally comfortable, but also coming with very high environmental credentials.

Patagonia T Shirt | £30
from a brand that constantly strives for good and protection for the environment

Lucy and Yak Fleece | £45
made from recycled plastic, the jumper looks both comfy and practical. From an owner of one, I wish it was acceptable to wear it everywhere!

Patagonia Women's Lightweight Synchilla® Snap-T® Fleece Pullover | £110
Need a layer which will keep you warm and cares for the planet? Patagonia's pull over will do just that. O and did I mention that all their products are fairtrade now to. WINNING

Wool Beanie | £40
Part of Finisterre's British Wool Collection, this luxury version of our classic Fisherman Beanie is knitted from a soft and fine lambswool yarn from Bluefaced Leicester sheep. 100% British supply chain, from sheep to shelf. What is not to like?

Critically Endangered Socks | from £12
Selling exceptionally fast, these socks help raise money for endangered species and their protection. Fancy an alternative? Jollies socks also donate a pair of socks for everyone bought to a shelter

Everlane Rain Boot | £60
An American brand which takes workers rights very seriously, you can even check out the factory where your products are made. Transparency at the highest level.

The Gardener

Indoor Herb Garden | £17
For those who want to bring some of the outside in

Save the Bees Kit | £12
Wildflowers, a garden planner and guides to bee spotting

Beebombs | £7.99
Beebomb seedballs are handmake in Dorset using local clay and 18 native wildflower species' seeds.

Crops in Tight Spots Book | £18.99
Having bought this book this year, I have been filled with inspiration for how to use the outside space we have available (or none). With creative solutions and easy to understand, its a fantastic starting book for anyone who wants to tempted to get green fingers.

Patch Plan Fern | £12.50
Ferns are fantastic in the home, from the air quality to looking beautiful. What's not to love about adding another plant to your collection

Bark Plant Pot | £3.50
Silver Birch bark pots lined with polythene provide a lovely natural alternative to terracotta and look fantastic as well!

Old Gardening Tools | £13
Old tools made new again, perfect for a budding gardening.

Grow your own Pesto | £42
A Potted Stone Pine,jar of pesto and basil seeds, this kit gives you everything you need to grow and make your own pesto!

The Host

Soap Co Gift Set | £30
The Soap Co. is a social enterprise providing training and work for people who are visually impaired or have disabilities. In making its eco range, it provides sustainable flower gardens for bees.

Eat Happy, Melissa Hemsley Cookbook | £10
Sustainable and realistic about how long the average person is able to spend in the kitchen. Every dish can be made in under 30 minutes using no more than two pans, and the overwhelming majority can be frozen.

Cocobana Coconut Bowl Set | £30
I've been banging on about these bowls for a while now, but using a coconut to make a bowl is not only super sustainable but looks fantastic to.

Botanical Gin Kit | £23.99
Who doesn't love gin? This kit provides all the possible options for added ingredients in a fancy G&T and all made in the UK.

Artisan Olive Wood Chopping Board | £18.99
Artisan made in the UK using sustainable wood. What could be better.

Rubies In the Rubble Condiments | from £3.50
Reducing food waste whilst creating exceptionally tasty condiments, Rubies in the Rubble is not just our average sauce.

The Cozy Night In Fan

Lambs Wool Hot Water Bottle | £32
100 percent lambswool yarn, sourced from the UK, to bring you the highest quality fabric for her handmade knitted products.

Knitted Slippers | £56
Made in the UK, made out of sustainable, non toxic fabrics.

Neal’s Yard Aromatherapy Essential Oil Collection | £30
Known for their environmentally friendly ingredients and organic products, these essential oils and cruelty free, vegan and part of the ethical shopping scheme

Yawn PJ set | £89
With the print created at the companies studio in London, Yawn believe in slow, quality fashion. They hand pick all their factories and limit airmiles by producing garments in the same place that the cotton is grown! With the long term aim to become a B-Corp, this companies progress is only going to increase.

Recycled Wool Throw | £46
Unwanted clothing is collected through recycling programmes around the world, and shipped back to India. The collected clothing is then cleaned, broken down into fibres, spun into yarn and then woven into fabric that make up these throws Great for those who want to help reduce clothing waste.

Two Thirds Jumper | £60
Designed in Barcelona, crafted in Portugal and made out of organic cotton, Two Thirds produce super comfortable garments, perfect for those comfy days and evenings.

The Beauty Lover

Charity Pot | from £9.95
A great cream and the money goes to charity.

Lush Slap Stick Foundation | £17
The first make up brand to really demonstrate how to go plastic free, lush is way ahead of any competitors when it comes to plastic free products, this foundation is just the start.

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads | 12.99
Have a friend who uses cotton pads? Well instead why not get them these? After a few uses they can be chucked in the wash, ready for use all over again.

Seaweed Exfoliation Block | £18
Large Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block to swap with your normal shower scrub. Why not give it a try?

OneNine5 Wash Bag | £49
Premium wash bag with 100% recycled plastic lining this washbag also comes with usable & detachable airport clear liquid bag to reduce single use plastics when you travel as well.

Floral Street Perfume | £58
The first perfume brand to offer totally recyclable and biodegradable box. Each FLORAL STREET fragrance comes tucked inside a ground-breaking pulp carton with an embossed lid, made from recyclable paper packaging and held together with a re-usable brightly-coloured band.

Illamasqua Highlighter | £34
Cruelty free and vegan, Illamasqua has always been a makeup brand with fantastic morals and one I continue to support!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duo Powder | £20
Another brand that's kept cruelty free at the top of their priorities, Anastasia Beverly Hills is renowned for their brow pigments, this one is my personal favourite!

The Sustainability Enthusiast

The Sustainable Home | £12.99
This book takes you through room by room and provides hints and tips to how to live more sustainable. Whether its by making your own toothpaste, converting to renewable energy sources, reducing your consumption of plastic, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, the book teaches you numerous ways to make a difference.

The is a Good Guide – for a Sustainable Lifestyle | £22
Probably one of the most beautiful coffee table books for sustainability fans. The Good Guide covers every element of sustainable living, helping you through any query towards a more sustainable life.

Feral by George Monbiot | £9.99
Ever wondered about the natural environment in the UK and whether trees should be on mountains? George tackles these issues in a beautiful way, highlighting that we must restore our natural world not just for the planet but for ourselves as well.

Pela Phone Case | £30
Pela, creating fantastic phone cases which are not only biodegradable but also often help further charities as well!

Dear Green Coffee | from £3.80
Roasted in Glasgow. Ethical. Sustainable. Traceable. Speciality. They have it all.

Hexagonal Bee House | £67.80
For those who want to help preserve local wildlife, this bee house can help accommodate up to 250 mason bees!

The Nesty One

Handmade Woven Baskets | from £26
Bringing together traditional basket weavers from across Africa, these baskets are ethically produced and help ensure fair wages to those who make them as well!

Natural History Prints | £79
Made have partnered with The Natural History Museum to release these fantastic old school prints from the museums archived.

Recycled chunky knit blanket | £105
This eco-friendly chunky knit blanket is crocheted by hand in England using high quality recycled t-shirt yarn, bringing new life to textile waste.

A set of 4 handmade coasters knitted in small batches from recycled organic cotton cord with storage pot included. Perfect for those house proud pals!

Glass Set | £29.95
This set is based on traditional glass tea sets found in north Africa and the East. The makers Nkuku work with artisans throughout the world, combining timeless design with natural materials.

Made from glass and brass, each piece is individually hand welded by skilled artisans in India.

The Activity Lover 

Neal’s Yard Remedies Course Voucher | £75
For those looking to learn more around aromatherapy and herbal remedies Neal's Yard offer some fantastic courses.

Riverford Field Kitchen Dining | £29pp
One of the best organic farms in the UK, Riverford now offer fantastic dinning experiences, or alternatively a food making course.

Make your own facemask kit | £24
A great gift for those who love a night in.

Museum Membership | V&A starts at £54 for under 26s
A gift that means you can go when ever you fancy! Winning

Organic Soap Making Kit | £25.49
Made in the UK and suitable for vegans this kit is also organic certified and contains only sustainable palm oil. 

Gin Making Experience | £110 for one, £160 for two people.
Ever wondered what it is like to make your own gin from scratch? Well that's exactly what you can do at Salcombe's gin school. I went a few years ago and still bang on about it now, you can read my post here.

What better gift than the opportunity to visit the 500 sites across the UK

Pasta Making Class | from £55
Fresh pasta making courses led by Italian pasta chefs, the workshops are hosted in London's coziest neighborhood restaurants, pubs and wine cellars. Perfect activity for those who love food!


The Little One

Wooden Baby Walker and Bricks | £36
Wooden gifts that will last a life time

Manhattan Toy Safari Zebra Wooden Activity Toy | £29.99
I couldnt not include this, its fantastic and no plastic in sight!

Patagonia Baby Fury Jumper | £45
The fluffiest and most sustainable jumper a baby will likely own. It will certainly be an item that can be passed down through families for a long time to come!

Green People Organic Babies Silent Night Gift Set | £16.50
Certified organic lavender baby wash and shampoo, and soothing baby salve. With 50p from each sale donated to charity it’s a gift that keeps giving

Baby Robe | £28
White company baby robe, made from hydrocotton, which is a non-twisted yarn of pure natural cotton perfect for sensitive skin.

Nature Baby Short Sleeve Kimono bodysuit | £19
Certified organic cotton and GOTS certified, this baby grow is perfect for little ones.

Love Muslin Baby Shawl Gift | £35
Two organic muslin baby shawl + swaddling wraps presented in a stunning gift tub with our Love all over print, perfect to keep and store little treasures!

Crayon Rocks | £30.95
Pure natural soy wax crayons and coloured using mineral pigments these are a perfect for small children!

Wowza, there we have it! Hopefully there is at least one thing you can give to someone else on the list

Love, Your Christmas Elf

Erin
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