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Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

In honour of International Women's Day 2020, we pay tribute to the women who are making a difference in their industries, paving the way for a cleaner, greener future.

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future
Dating back to 1911, International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. When it comes to our future, it's clear that sustainability will be at the forefront of businesses and decision-making across the board. In recent years, there's been a surge in brands offering ethical alternatives to everything from skincare products and make-up, to fashion and homewares. What's more, many of the people behind such brands are women. Here, we pay tribute to just a handful of those who are helping to inspire generations of others to live a more ethical life.

1. Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of Green People

Inspired by her own struggle to find natural products for her daughter, who suffered from skin sensitivities, Charlotte launched Green People in 1997. After much research, Charlotte came to learn that products only needed to contain less than 1% natural or organic ingredients in the formulation to be labelled as ‘natural’. Eager to fully live up to the term, Charlotte set out to create her own products that wouldn't sacrifice ethics or product performance for profit, and since day one, the brand has shunned aggressive and synthetic ingredients, and has never tested on animals. The company also uses fair trade ingredients wherever possible, and donated 10% of its net profit to charitable causes each year. Outside of her own brand, Charlotte was instrumental in establishing some of the industry's first natural and organic cosmetic regulations alongside the Soil Association, setting the standard for future brands.

"There are many motivations behind an entrepreneurial spirit: to be your own boss, make money or start something new. For me, the motivation came from wanting to help treat the skin problems my daughter was suffering with."

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

2. Eva Vucheva and Boryana Uzunova, founders of Kool and Konscious

We love women who stand up to protect the planet – and that's just what Eva and Boryana are doing. Fully aware of the detrimental impact that the fashion industry has on people and the planet, the ladies established Kool and Konscious, a sustainable marketplace and home of conscious fashion – just think of it as a marketplace for ethical fashion brands from around the world. Eva and Boryana are keen to help eliminate the environmental and moral footprint of the fashion industry through their platform. Proving that we can be stylish and sustainable at the same time, the brand is giving ethically-minded women access to over 200 slow-fashion brands, including Erth, Kozha Numbers, and TOBEFRANK.

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

3. Susie Ma, founder of Tropic Skincare

Tropic Skincare has always been a business with ethics at the heart of what it does. When Susie realised the amount of waste that the beauty and personal care industry creates (products account for one-third of all landfill waste!), her shock only spurred her on to create a positive impact with her own brand. The company offers refill and return schemes for some products, and is continually working on more sustainable packaging options across its collections. Aside from being vegan and cruelty-free, with formulas derived from natural ingredients, Tropic is a brand that gives back. In 2018, Susie established Tropic's infinite purpose, to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world, and ensure that every business decision aligns with that ethos moving forward. Susie always opts for smaller cooperative suppliers to source ingredients, and encourages farmers to diversify in an effort to secure their income throughout the year. She's also ensured the brand received CarbonNeutral certification, and invests in initiatives like the Acre Amazonian Rainforest Conservation Project and The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia.

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

4. Venetia La Manna, UK-based slow-fashion activist

By her own admission, Venetia used to be a fast-fashion fan – that is, until she watched the documentary The True Cost . "I couldn't unlearn what I had seen, and I decided to make a change by quitting the high street altogether." Since that fateful day over two years ago, Venetia has become a hot topic in the fashion industry, using her ever-growing social media following to spread a message. The activist only wears old, secondhand, thrifted, rented, loaned, swapped or sustainable brands, and encourages others to do so, too, by helping to make slow-fashion more accessible as well as acceptable. She also started the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, a safe space for slow-fashion curious folk to share links, events and discussions around the topic – ideal for those who may still be overwhelmed by the concept, or still aren't quite sure how to ditch fast fashion for good.

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

5. Anna Walton, founder of natural homewares company, Chalk & Moss

Inspired by nature and eager to help others on their sustainable-living journey, Anna established Chalk & Moss to help people create beautiful, eco-friendly interiors. Anna works with independent designers, paying particular attention to brands' ethos, ensuring that they are socially responsible, ethical and sustainable, from the materials used, to the transparency of their production process. "Biophilic living is the philosophy behind Chalk & Moss. Biophilia recognises that we have an innate need to connect with nature for wellbeing. In design we use plants and natural materials, textures, colours and scents to lower our heart rate. This approach for our homeware products goes hand-in-hand with sustainable design."

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

6. Greta Thunberg, environmental activist

Since her first school strike for the climate, this Swedish student has been on quite the (eco-friendly) journey. Today, Greta is a household name, having inspired millions of people, and youngsters, in particular, around the world to stand up and speak out, proving that no one is too small to make a difference. The Greta effect is undeniable: today, we're seeing environmental activists and demonstrations popping up in cities everywhere, where people young and old are coming together to protect the planet and have their voices heard.

Meet the women paving the way for a more ethical future

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