International Women’s Day may be over for another year, yet every day is women’s day for the female CEOs who are smashing it as entrepreneurs.
In light of celebrations this week, we are championing four women who work tirelessly to create change within their industries thanks to their positive environmental changes.
Using their expertise in beauty, fashion and food, they are building greener businesses to prove that long-term sustainability is possible within consumer lifestyle brands.
First up is swimwear brand Stay Wild, led by Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk.
Together, they are challenging fast-fashion and the grave impact it has on the planet by encouraging their customers to send back old swimwear for recycling.
Speaking about the company, which they have created with “a slower, more conscious ethos”, Natalie said they are striving to reduce their carbon footprint to net zero.
Natalie said: “We have made conscious choices at every step of our business to be able to help contribute towards the UK’s goal of net zero by 2050, which is why this year we have launched our new circularity project, to take back people’s old swimwear they can no longer wear from any brand and recycle and repurpose them to keep clothes out of landfill. Sustainability is at our core.
“We don’t do seasons but take a slow-fashion approach and only launched one collection in the first two years compared to an average of 52 collections per year in the industry.”
Co-founder Zanna added: “We encourage all business owners to factor sustainability into their choices. A great place to start is packaging. Reduce the need for new materials and switch to reusable, recyclable or compostable options and look at offsetting your shipping.”
Next up is Tropic, a beauty business with a conscience from Apprentice star Susie Ma.
With a vow to protect the natural world, the firm make their skincare and beauty products fresh every day, with a cool turnover of £75million last year to show it pays to be ethical.
Chatting about why moving to renewable energy sources needs to be at the forefront of reducing emissions, Susie says she understands no company is perfect, but progress is vital.
Susie said: “We believe in progression and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to meet the highest standards possible. We hope to inspire and drive change through example.
“We go beyond net zero in terms of emissions, since 2018 we’ve double offset all our carbon emissions, removing twice the amount of greenhouse gases that we emit.”
The team have also swapped to renewable energy and been landfill-free for two years.
Last but not least is snack brand Healthy Nibbles, founded by Sara Roberts.
Following a visit to her father in hospital, Sara felt galvanised to revolutionise the industry after discovering the vending machine was stacked with crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks.
Sara said: “A poster next to the machine warned me that ‘diabetes and obesity kills’, but the machine oﬀered only the usual selection; there were no healthy choices. It was the moment which inspired my own personal wellness journey and my decision to start the business.”
Her Edinburgh-based firm has now evolved to create snack boxes with healthy treats, and a healthy turnover too as figures showed £1.5m in 2021.
Talking about her dedication to saving the planet, Sara said: “Last year we changed our packaging to be plastic-free and it is now produced using 100% recycled materials, which are in turn recyclable. We only use water-based inks and biodegradable labelling and tape.
“Within our supply chain we work with many small producers and assess suppliers’ impact and what they are doing in terms of the environment and sustainability.”
She added: “We are proud of our achievements. However, we are equally aware it is only through collaboration and encouraging others to join the journey that true difference will be made.”
Last year, the UK government laid out plans to build a greener Britain by cutting carbon emissions and leading the fight to the global ‘Race to Zero’ by 2050.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is also encouraging small businesses across the country to join this fight against climate change.
To find out how you can go green, click here: Race to Zero.