We’ve just passed Mother’s Day. A day which is traditionally spent celebrating and rewarding mothers of all kinds across the globe.
Whether you are, or know a Mum, Mum-to-be, fur-baby Mum, surrogate Mum, Mum-in-law, business Mum (aka your baby is your business) or Mother the heck out of your siblings, we can all relate to the powerful force of nurturing.
One Mother we all share, who is not so well recognised and celebrated, is our Mother Earth. The air we breathe, the ground we walk upon, the food we eat is all a perfect balance of abundance given to us by Mother Earth.
So, to celebrate I am sharing 8 amazing women who are changing the world and giving back to the Earth Mother.
Rosie is the founder and CEO of Page & Bloom, a social enterprise that helps rehabilitate women who have suffered domestic abuse by creating recycled paper flowers.
They offer training and support for these vulnerable women, whilst also creating beautiful displays, bouquets and more from maps, old books, newspapers and music sheets.
They are breathing new life into paper, the women they work with and reduce the impact of the flower industry (shipping, C02, pesticides and plastic).
Rosie is also the National Director of Feeding Britain, a startup charity dedicated to ending hunger in the UK. She has also worked for Unicef as Corporate Partnerships Manager and supported disaster relief by her work through Business in the Community.
May Al Karooni
May is setting the standard for a new circular economy, by delivering unwanted stuff to people who need it. After moving offices with her previous company, she witnessed just how much waste was produced when the brand decided it was easier to buy everything new, then to transport their existing items across the road.
Laptops, tables, chairs, carpets, wall fittings…everything was to be left behind and disposed of. May spotted an opportunity and created an internationally recognised and award winning company; GlobeChain.
GlobeChain is a reuse marketplace, that connects businesses to charities and deserving communities to give a second life to unwanted stuff. The business has diverted over 5,000 tonnes of stuff from landfill and supported communities across the globe with access to medical, retail and construction products that would otherwise go to waste.
Catherine is often called the creator of zero waste and was the first to open a bulk-buy store in 2007 in Islington, London. Her pioneering has since heralded a new era of shop owners, zero waste enthusiasts and a shift towards consumer awareness of their plastic-wrapped food items. Unpackaged continues to educate and inspire as well as provide zero waste services to help brands achieve a more sustainable shopping experience.
Her efforts have not only diverted huge quantities of plastic waste from landfill by making it easy and fun for shoppers to buy in bulk, but she has changed the way consumers relate to their own buying behaviour.
Unpackaged now works with hundreds of well known brands, including Whole Foods, Lush and Farm Drop to help them implement sustainable, zero waste solutions.
Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One
Tessa and Saasha are the co-founders of Olio, a food waste prevention app that allows people with unwanted or excess food to donate to their neighbours. Food waste is a global problem, over 1/3 of all food produced is wasted! Not only is this a stress on our ecology but it contributes to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses via methane that is released when it decomposes in landfill. When 870,000 children across the UK are going to bed hungry, something needs to change.
“A third of the food we produce globally is thrown away, and in the UK households are responsible for over half of all food waste. The average family throws away £700 worth of food each year. That adds up to £12.5 billion… £12.5 billion that is going straight to landfill!”
They are bringing together the idea of food sharing and hyper-locality, where people can build relationships with those around them. So far 1,393,148 portions of food have been shared and prevented from going to waste.
Natalie is the charismatic founder of City to Sea which defines itself as ‘a Community Interest Company (C.I.C) campaigning to prevent plastic pollution at source.’ Disgusted by the state of the oceans and the plastic-plague which has rapidly gripped the attention of the world, Natalie set about creating a platform that targets and inspires change at the very heart of the issue.
Their successful campaigns such as Plastic-free Periods, #switchthestick and the Plastic Tax have enabled concerned citizens to vote and pressure policy-makers into changing how we view and respond to the plastic crisis. Ground-up movements and personal awareness are excellent steps forward, but to create systemic change we need to activate our leaders and policy-makers, which is exactly what City to Sea does.
Plus you can download their awesome Refill app and get connected with local businesses, restaurants and cafe’s that will allow you to refill your water bottle, so you don’t have to reach for the plastic..
UK supermarkets produce over 800,000 tonnes of plastic a year. Another woman fighting for the planet through policy is Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet. Sian is intent on turning off the plastic tap at it’s source, which means lobbying big businesses to change their behaviour. Their most high-profile campaign is the Plastic-free aisle, which is supported by the Prime Minister and encourages supermarkets to provide a plastic-free aisle for shoppers to choose.
We have already seen some dramatic changes in UK supermarkets; Iceland launched the ‘plastic-free trade mark’ as developed by A Plastic Planet, Waitrose has committed to phasing out plastic trays and no longer sells plastic straws, Wagamamas now uses biodegradable straws, Evian pledged to reach a 100 % circular approach to plastic use’ by 2025.
I recently left some packaging at the checkout of Sainsbury’s and I felt both terrified and liberated. Like me, 9 out of 10 people want to see plastic-free aisles in our supermarkets. The pressure is mounting!
Want to learn more? Check out this comprehensive review of what supermarkets are doing to make change.
Amy & Ruth Anslow
Lumbering supermarkets are slow to change and consumers want better options now. HISBE is a new breed of supermarket that is setting the stage for a new way to shop and contribute to the planet and society.
A social enterprise, HISBE’s mission is to ‘…smash Britain’s out of date supermarket business model and reinvent a new kind. An independent chain of supermarkets powered by people, community spirit, and social enterprise’. You tell em’ sisters!
And sisters they are, Ruth and Amy Anslow are the power-duo who is shaking up the industry. They’ve made it easy for consumers to do good and feel good. By finding quality food that is locally-sourced, sustainable, animal-friendly and even sometimes plastic-free, they’re helping to make things ‘How It Should Be’ - HISBE.
I used to live nearby HISBE, in Brighton and it was the highlight of my day if I ever wandered past. I would spend a good 30 minutes browsing the shelves, stocking up on Goji berries, shampoo bars, compostable floss and loose nuts and grains.
Way to go ladies.