Best Ecopreneurs 2021
Suppliers play a huge role in finding solutions to environmental and social concerns in their industries. Sublime introduces eight ecopreneurs whose grit, passion and innovative ideas write the roadmap to a sustainable world.
The founder and creative director of PVB The Label, Paige Beuning grew up on a lake and practically lived in a swimsuit her entire childhood – hence the inspiration for a swimwear brand with a difference.
Before launching the business, Beuning worked in PR, and throughout her time in grad school learned about the social and environmental issues that the fashion industry causes. PVB was started to bring attention to the plastic pollution of our oceans and the role that fast fashion plays in contributing to the problem. Their swimsuits are made from Econyl, a fabric carefully created from ocean waste, in ethical conditions in Bali, Indonesia. And with every suit sold, PVB donates 10 cents to the ROLE Foundation
Happiness is the motto of PVB – their goal is for everyone to feel confident, fulfilled, successful, and helpful, making themselves, others and the Earth happy.
Inspired by the vast amount of plastic being dumped into our oceans, sustainable menswear creator Miguel Munoz launched Kromo with the mission to support the efforts of cleaning up plastic pollution.
The label offers garments made from eco-friendly fabrics – t-shirts from 96% bamboo and swimwear from 78% ECONYL®, a branded fibre made of old and abandoned fishnets extracted from the oceans, as well as using other recycled materials like carpets. The fabric production process is ensured to be eco-friendly, too, be that by reusing water during the manufacturing process or by avoiding the use of harmful chemicals.
Munoz has incorporated sustainability right down to the packaging. The garments are wrapped in paper instead of plastic and secured with a recycled paper sticker. The external packaging is made of a combination of PBAT, a compostable, bio-based polymer, and PLA, which is made up of plant materials like cornstarch that allow the mailer bags to break down in just 180 days in a domestic compost bin.
His efforts don’t stop there – soon, Munoz and Kromo will host a beach clean to support the efforts of removing plastic from our natural environments.
One of Italy’s leading advocates for sustainable, organic winemaking, Girelli has spent most of his life producing wine in various regions of Italy. His focus for the last two decades, however, has been firmly on making wine in the most sustainable way possible. He has committed to minimising human impact on the planet, becoming one of the first certified-organic winery owners in Sicily.
The name ‘Purato’ comes from puro, meaning ‘pure’, and it just about sums up what Girelli’s brand is all about: wine in its purest form. Wine is a natural product, defined by the quality of the grapes with which it is made. Sicily is abundant with sunshine, low rainfall and cooling sea breezes, all contributing to perfect grape-growing conditions, where there is no need for chemicals or pesticides. ‘Mother Nature has given us a great start, but it is up to us to ensure that everything is done in the most natural way possible. We have to think about the whole picture – the whole ecosystem – in everything that we do,’ Girelli explains, ‘organic wines taste better, too!’
Since animal-derived products are not essential for the production of quality wines, Purato winemakers simply don’t use them. All the materials that are used to package the wine – glass, cardboard, and paper – are all eco-friendly and recyclable. Purato is one of the very few wine brands that are carbon neutral as well as super affordable – they are proud to be ‘green to the extreme’.
As the designer for ethical fashion label LUCKYNELLY, Rochlitz has combined luxury with sustainability to demonstrate how extraordinarily beautiful vegan products can be.
Established in 2012, supported by PETA, and proudly part of the sustainable designer branch of Berlin Fashion Week, LUCKYNELLY is a pioneer in the market for sustainable handbags and accessories. Rochlitz follows through the process from start to finish in her personal studio, creating unique designs and using only the most innovative sustainable materials, be that her newly-developed vegan leather made from cabbage, CABBTEX, or BERRIESTEX, which is made from strawberries.
But how did she get here? In 2004, Rochlitz graduated with a diploma in sustainability inspired by fairytales. Around this time, fast fashion was booming, leaving Rochlitz overwhelmed and at a loss as to what a designer could do to leave a positive impact. She chose the story of The Little Red Riding Hood to conceptualise slowing and calming down – she encouraged people to think of the times they spent listening to their grandmothers reading stories and to focus on the most essential things in life– family, meeting friends, cooking together and calming down so that they could flee from all things fast, including fashion.
And so the idea for LUCKYNELLY came to be, the brand’s name itself inspired by Rochlitz’s Bearded Collie Nelly and her Lionhead bunny Lucky, who were also the muses for the decision to use exclusively vegan materials.
‘I love it when the fabrics have a history,’ says the artist-entrepreneur, founder of TildArt. Growing up in a small Transylvanian village, her household was self-sufficient, from growing their own food to reusing and recycling as much as possible. Her grandmother hand-made woven fabric, duck down blankets, pillows and embroidery, and this is what inspired Janosi to set up her eco-luxury label.
TildArt was established in 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. Janosi became one of the first Hungarian fashion designers to work with recycled materials like film strips, vinyl records and bicycle inner tubes. Her capsule collections have been exhibited internationally, won multiple awards and worn by UK and US-based musicians on stage.
Her current favourite fabric has a magical story behind it – they are old curtains from Spencer House, a gorgeous aristocratic 18th century mansion townhouse in central London. The House was under the ownership of The Earl Spencer, and both Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Di would spend time there.
At the moment, Janosi is collaborating with a Canadian textile artist, scientist and educator, Katherine Soucie, as well as US-based designer and visual artist, Jeff Garner who is dressing LA’s celebrities. She had already won two awards last year, and it appears plenty more are lined up.
With 25 years of experience as a lingerie and swimwear specialist, Jo-Anne Godden is no stranger to the fashion industry. However, having witnessed the destruction and degradation that fast fashion causes, she vowed to be part of the solution. And so RubyMoon was born. Established in 2011, RubyMoon was a paradigm leap for Godden as she set out to demonstrate that a circular system can build a successful clothing business with purpose.
As the world’s first and only not-for-profit activewear brand, RubyMoon is a social enterprise for women powered by women. With Godden at the helm backed by an international team, RubyMoon combines the industry’s substantial potential to positively impact the social and environmental state of our planet, with the knowledge that women and innovation are key to a better future. As a mother and activist, its founder is committed to elevating women’s status in communities where they often don’t have a voice, investing 100% of the business profits in microfinance to drive development and progress. To date, RubyMoon has helped 1200 women and their families in 14 developing nations to carve their ways out of poverty.
To RubyMoon, everyone and everything matters; therefore no one and nothing is sidelined or discriminated against during the process. From design conception and material innovation to garment manufacturing and shipping, everything is meticulously planned and executed with genuine considerations. The Gym To Swim®activewear capsule collection, for example, is made from durable textile from recycled fishing nets with beautiful timeless prints that will take consumers from land to water, enabling them to ‘do more with less’. These garments, manufactured ethically by a small, family-run, local supplier, are certified vegan and produce 42% less carbon emissions.
With every purchase, consumers are guaranteed to help our planet and other women. That each garment is named after the women whom they invested in, makes it all the more special, inspiring, and empowering.
Peri and her best friend established Yoppie in 2016 when they realised how significant the gap within the menstrual health market was. They found that women did not have enough options when it came to high quality, organic period products, nor was there a convenient way to purchase them. After speaking to their friends, they were not only shocked at how many were unaware of the chemicals used to manufacture non-organic period products, but how many were still ashamed of their period and found managing their menstrual health exhausting. It was time to change that.
Yoppie began with just one product: 100% organic cotton tampons that could be delivered straight to a customer’s letterbox on a subscription basis, so they never had to worry about running out to the store nor compromise on their health and sustainability values. After an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, Yoppie quickly expanded its range to include liners and pads and, more recently, their own range of supplements each specifically targeted to help with the different symptoms of PMS.
Though Yoppie products offer the flexibility of a subscription or one-off delivery service, the brand’s focus is equally on saving the planet. Yoppie is on a mission to reduce the plastic waste created through period products by using only 100% certified organic cotton, making their products eco-friendly, biodegradable and ethically manufactured.
Most importantly, Yoppie recognises period products cannot be manufactured with a one-fits-all approach. Your period is unique to you and Yoppie formulates personalised recommendations based on your specific cycle and product preferences – the right period care approach isn’t just about comfort, it’s about improving your personal wellbeing and overall health.
‘There are many job boards out there, but I truly believe that we are on the verge of creating something special. It is time for action to be taken and we all have a level of responsibility to take that action,’ says Paul Smith, Co-Founder of Includability. Includability (B Corp Pending) is more than just a job board.
Includability is a brand which welcomes employers that are committed to treating people equitably, where the only thing that matters is the ability to do the job. The brand is centred around community, developed to raise expectations, increase employer accountability and create a higher standard for what a job board should deliver, ultimately creating an authentically inclusive culture.
On Includability, candidates are in control of how they feel most comfortable applying for a job, with several options available. The Five-Star Verification Process in partnership with Outliers Wellbeing, B Lab UK, IncludeUs, The Ability People (TAP) and Mental Health Charter CIC will ensure employers’ practices align with established definitions of an ‘Inclusive Workplace’, these being strengthened during webinars on topics like Environment and Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion, Mental Health, Wellbeing, and Ex-Military.
Sustainability is at the heart of Includability, too. Not only is the brand integrating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into their operations, but they have a strong giving back culture, committing 5% of profits to sustainable causes and making monthly donations to B1G1 projects. They aim to be a carbon-neutral business, certified through Planet Mark, and have an Includability forest with over 800 trees planted so far via Ecologi, reducing their carbon footprint by over 3.5T in 4 months.
Includability aims to provide inspiration and action for positive change in the workplace. The brand’s mission is to be the number one job platform for employers; to positively contribute towards a society free from discrimination.