Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Marie Claire UK - it's been a core pillar for us for over three decades. We know that, now more than ever, it's important to take those small steps and acknowledge and act upon our environmental impact.
We also want to help all of our readers to take these steps as well. This means finding and championing the leading brands within the sustainability industry through our Sustainability Awards. However, we want to also make sure that we walk the talk and incorporate best practice into our Awards process.
Measure and Reduce
In 2019, we were the first in the UK to be awarded the Ocean Champion Badge by the Oceanic Global Foundation, the highest level of The Oceanic Standard (TOS). The badge honours our efforts to bring sustainability to the forefront of the conversation in fashion and beauty industry at the launch event for our #startsomewhere campaign.
To ensure the event operated with a minimal environmental footprint, Marie Claire UK partnered with the Oceanic Global Foundation to implement practices outlined in the NGO’s sustainability verification system, The Oceanic Standard. In addition to the “zero waste to landfill” philosophy of event venue, we eliminated single-use plastics, such as laminated gift bags, vinyl branding and synthetic flowers, by using creative alternatives. These included tote bags made from certified cotton; calligraphy branding that was then cleaned with eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products; and a living plant wall, from which guests could take home air plants, foliage and succulents in compostable pots.
In 2021, we launched the industry's first Sustainability Festival for our consumer audience and the Sustainability Awards naturally followed. It was also the first time accounting for the impact of our event and offsetting our carbon footprint. To help measure the impact of our events, we have partnered with Nula, a climate tech platform.
Nula was founded by Charlotte Horler in 2020, with the initial goal of helping organisations to measure their carbon footprint and offset their unavoidable emissions by protecting threatened forests. Nula has now expanded their approach to ensure that organisations look beyond big pledges and makes climate education and action accessible and engaging for companies and their teams.
We use Nula's expertise and advice, plus our previous awards learnings and results to create an action plan that aims to limit carbon emissions from the start. Nula uses a bottom up, consumption-based approach, which measure everything down to the details including:
- Electricity emissions across the live streams
- Heat and power emissions from live stream locations and online attendees during stream
- Materials and packaging from the purchasing of the awards
- Home emissions from editing the virtual awards shows
- Distribution emissions for winners awards deliveries
- Staff and travel for event purposes
To ensure we keep our emissions as low as possible, we have taken the following steps:
- We've switched our perspex trophies to sustainably procured bamboo trophies, which have zero emissions stemming from its material. These are slightly more expensive but we feel it's the right choice and our responsibility, so we hope the industry will follow suit.
- For our awards that require product testing, we work with UK based judges to ensure deliveries are domestic and we re-use all the packaging sent to us by entrants, so nothing is wasted.
- Plus, following guidance from last year's Sustainability Awards, we managed to reduce our travel footprint by 80 percent by opting for public transport and travelling locally.
The virtual awards have given us the opportunity to reach such a huge amount of people globally, raising awareness of the importance of sustainability, plus they enable us to reduce the impact in-person events can often have on the environment. This means that our carbon footprint for these events is very low and we hope to keep it that way.
Offset and Protect
However, we do still have a footprint and to ensure we run carbon neutral events, we offset our unavoidable carbon emissions by purchasing credits that protect forests with Wildlife Works. Wildlife Works partners with local, forest dwelling communities to help keep the soil healthy and trees standing, meaning carbon is kept where it's meant to be.
Go one step further and restore
Finally, we want to make sure that we give back to the planet, as well as neutralise our impact. This year, through Nula, we are supporting the Leaf Charity and their mission to plant 1 million trees across 10 countries with 1,000 Leaf Champions, so for every attendee that joins us for an event, we will plant one seedling on their behalf.
It was important for us, and Nula, that we work with a tree planting organisation that operates to the highest standards. Planting a tree is not enough. We need to know that these trees have a high likelihood of survival and will positively contribute to that ecosystem.
To do that, the Leaf Charity prioritises science, technology, education and community collaboration, all key elements for healthy ecosystem growth. All of the seedlings are native to the local area and have been nurtured by the team in Kilifi, Kenya, in partnership with Pwani University.
We are excited to develop this partnership and our impact further with Nula. We are constantly learning and evolving, but it is our promise to keep you in the loop at every step of the way, because we believe we can achieve more when we come together.