Did you know that it's the Soil Association’s Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Week?
To celebrate, Ethical Consumer have put together a list of the 68 certified organic brands covered in their recently updated beauty guides.
Their list will help you find certified organic products. Many products on the shop shelves claim to be ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, while containing zero organic ingredients.
This is because, unlike organic food, there are no legal standards for using the terms ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on beauty products. See our beauty list to help you shop organic.
Ethical Guide to shampoo – a look behind their research
They sat down with Anna, their lead researcher on the Shampoo guide to find out more about the sector. Watch their interview to find out how they rated the brands, which companies responded to their questionnaire and the best ethical alternatives.
People talk a lot about the negative effects pollution is having on planet Earth. There is no question that pollution is taking a major toll on our planet.
It is not easy, though, to know exactly how you can help make a difference. However, there are multiple actions you can take every day that will positively impact the environment and make our planet a little healthier. Look at these six things you can start doing today to reduce your carbon footprint.
Not only is powering off your gadgets great for the devices, it’s also great for the planet. Unplug chargers that aren’t in use instead of letting them dangle from the outlet. There’s more good news beyond helping the planet; the U.S. Department of energy says that adopting these practices will save you up to $100 annual on your energy bill.
Reduce your trash output – landfills are a major source of greenhouse gases and pollution. Most of us know about the basics of recycling cardboard cereal boxes and glass jars, but recycling is more sophisticated than that. Make sure you recycle everything from your toothbrush to your car. Look online for businesses that help you keep your belongings out of the landfill, from automobile recylers to companies that take old toilets.
Utilize Public Transit
The average American spends 18 days per year in a car, each emitting its own weight in carbon dioxide. Make it a point to ride in the car less often by taking public transit or setting up a carpool. This slashes the number of vehicles on the road and drastically reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that’s released too. Are you looking to green your office? Set up a carpool sign up sheet or see if your employer supports working from home.
Filter Your Water
If you buy packaged bottled water, the planet feels it. The plastic waste takes a toll on the environment, not to mention the effort it took to transport those bottled waters to the store. In most counties tap water is suitable, or you can filter your own drinking water.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Some simple adjustments to the setting of your thermostat can make a big impact on the planet. If you keep your home just two degrees warmer in the summer months and two degrees cooler in the winter months, you can save money on your energy bills. Turning off your thermostat when you’re away from home can save you up to 15 percent on your energy bill, too.
You can use your curtains to help save energy too. Buy energy-efficient curtains that insulate and monitor your home’s temperature. You can keep your curtains closed at night during the winter to keep in the warmth.
Make it a point to find food grown close to home at local farmer’s markets and in the stores. Do what you can to buy things like strawberries and watermelons grown near you to slash the carbon emissions of the vehicles used to bring those fruits across country to you. By shopping local, not only do you support people in your community, you help the environment.
Everything you consume requires energy for its manufacture, transportation and disposal. You can curb your carbon footprint by wasting less and choosing products that are local or made with recycled materials.
Eco-friendly weddings have become increasingly popular over the years as couples look for new and inventive ways to say “I do”. Being eco-friendly is important, not just for the environmentally conscious among us, but also because planning an eco wedding has a number of other benefits.
Not only will an eco-friendly wedding have a positive impact on the environment, it will also help your big day become an extra special event. Plus, many eco-friendly weddings tend to end up being cheaper than more traditional or extravagant weddings – more money left in your pocket at the end of the day is never a bad thing!
The perfect eco-friendly wedding will only come from plenty of research and careful preparation, so have fun and get stuck into planning your dream wedding! Here are a few ideas, tips and tricks to help you create the perfect environmentally friendly wedding.
Nowadays, you can get married virtually anywhere. The church is the traditional venue of choice, but if you fancy something a little different, there are plenty of other options.
Getting married outdoors makes for a memorable eco-friendly wedding, and can be used for both the ceremony and reception. Of course, this is dependent on the season and the time of year, but outdoor weddings can look just as good as indoor weddings. Think vintage style and bohemian chic to really maximise the impact.
The ring is one of the most important aspects of the whole wedding. The wedding ring symbolises eternity and was traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was believed a vein from this finger ran directly to the heart.
A vintage ring or one passed down through the generations of your family is a lovely way to incorporate the past into your future together. If there isn’t a vintage ring in your family, an ethical wedding ring is the next best option.
Similarly, vintage wedding dresses are the way to an eco-friendly wedding. A few tweaks, adjustments and alterations can lead to a brand new wedding dress that looks as good as new. Plus, vintage dresses are one of those timeless trends, so you’re guaranteed to be looking both gorgeous and stylish on the big day. There’s also something about wearing a beautiful dress that you know someone else wore on their own wedding day that just screams romance!
Decoration is key when it comes to weddings. The right décor can finish off the look of your wedding, pulling off the theme and making sure your wedding is remembered for all the right reasons.
If you’re feeling creative, have a go at making some of the decorations yourself. There are plenty of DIY tutorials and wedding décor ideas out there, so do some research and try your hand at crafting your own unique wedding decorations!
Some popular options include handmade bunting (perfect for outdoor weddings), candles and hand-decorated vases or repurposed jars for flowers.
The best way to save money and create a truly unique bridal bouquet is to use home-grown flowers from your own garden. However, if you aren’t green-fingered, go organic or choose a local florist to take care of your bouquet. Flowers can also make great additions to your theme and add to the rest of your decoration, so get creative and experiment with a stunning floral display!
Many people see their honeymoon as the perfect excuse to jet off to exotic destinations, but there are plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives that are guaranteed to save you money as well. Go glamping and embrace the great outdoors, take a trip in a narrowboat or caravan, or find a picturesque cottage tucked away in the countryside. Your honeymoon doesn’t have to break the bank or even include a sunny destination abroad – sometimes the simplest trips can make the best memories.
Of course, these are only helpful suggestions designed to give you some ideas of your own. Your wedding is going to be one of the most important days of your life, and it is an incredibly personal event. Do plenty of research and go for what feels right for you and your partner – it is your big day after all!
Ethical Consumer has teamed up with Lush Cosmetics to launch a new £200,000 prize fund to help projects around the world that are working towards environmental and social regeneration.
For many years, environmental campaigners have focused on the idea of sustainability – that we should be creating systems which use resources at a sustainable rate. For some campaigners, thinking has now shifted towards the idea of regeneration.
Many of our environments and societies are already damaged, so sustaining these in a damaged state makes no sense! What we need is systems that can regenerate damaged environments – by putting back more than they take out.
Funding inspiring projects
People all over the world are developing ways to live in harmony with nature and each other. They are generating renewable resources, restoring ecosystems, nurturing solidarity and making societies stronger.
Ethical Consumer is hoping to reach a diverse group of applicants that are trying to move beyond the sustainable to create systems and projects that help do this.
In doing so, they hope the prize will highlight inspiring and alternative ways of living, and for it to start creating a supportive network for regenerative projects around the world.
How they will do it
The Lush Spring Prize is here to support this regeneration movement through:
- an annual £200,000 prize fund open to individuals, communities, and organisations from the earliest ideas stage of a project, through to established organisations, and campaign groups
- a high-profile annual conference, bringing people together to share their skills and experiences, and raising awareness of regeneration and its potential
How can people nominate themselves for a prize
The project’s website contains more details about the prizes as well as application forms and background information. Nominations will close on February 28th 2017, and applications are welcomed from anywhere in the world.
The awards will be presented in May 2017 where they hope to gather a diverse group of stakeholders for a participatory conference.
Nominate and find out more at the new Spring Prize website.
With large scale deforestation occurring at an alarming rate along with the associated rise in global climate change, the situation around the world is tense. Increasing concerns over food security, water availability and an ever increasing pressure on the planet for finite resources is pushing entrepreneurs, businesses and governments to develop innovative solutions to address these growing concerns.
Timber forms an essential raw resource for various industries which produce items that as humans we have come to utilise and rely on daily. But our forests cannot sustain the increase in demand for these products driven by exploding populations and the rise of a global middle class with increased spending power.
A postgraduate from Yale University and an expert in forestry and forestry related climate change, Camille Rebelo came up with a unique model of making bamboo the timber of the 21st century. She, along with serial entrepreneur and businessman Troy Wiseman launched EcoPlanet Bamboo in 2010, to industrialise this plant to produce a sustainable, deforestation free fibre that can provide an alternative resource for our daily needs. They urge the population to be aware that the majority of products that we use daily, from toilet paper to packaging to some of our clothing, still come from the unsustainable harvesting of old growth natural forests, and invite the new generation of consumer to switch to sustainability certified bamboo as an alternative fiber, with the simple motive of putting an end to deforestation.
The great thing about bamboo is that it can be harvested sustainably without killing the plant and therefore can potentially provide an endless source of raw material that can be used to make a wide range of products, more than anyone could imagine.
Since Camille Rebelo and Troy Wiseman are trying their best to turn bamboo into the “tree free”, “deforestation free” timber of the 21st century with their initiative EcoPlanet Bamboo, let me brief you on what things can be made from bamboo under this new concept of bamboo fiber as an industrialized and realistic fiber. Here goes the list-
For Manufacturing Paper Products
Every year a large number of trees are cut down to manufacture paper products. Some of these trees that we use for toilet paper take more than 100 years to grow. The right species of bamboo can be used to produce toilet paper, tissues, cleaning paper as well writing paper, cards and different types of packaging.
Disposable Coffee Cups
Although also a paper product this is amazing – the world throws away billions of cups from coffee shops every year. Bamboo fiber can be used to grow all of these, making them a sustainable renewable product.
For Manufacturing Diapers
Disposable diapers can be made with bamboo. And instead of taking years and years to regrow like the current source of trees, the same bamboo plant will keep producing raw fiber each and every year, so long as it is managed correctly!
For Manufacturing Textiles
Bamboo can not only replace rayon and viscose which come from trees (yes our clothes come from trees!) but also cotton. Bamboo fiber has a unique antibacterial property and it uses way less pesticides, fertilizers and land to produce each ton of raw material. Bamboo can be used for clothes, sheets, towels and more!
For High End Construction Products
Bamboo flooring has been gaining popularity over the past years, but recently technology has become available for bamboo to be made into products that can replace timber. These include structural products, door and window frames, outdoor decking and more! If the bamboo is certified these bamboo products are sustainable, renewable and are beautiful as well.
Timber is used on a large scale to produce energy using everything from pellets to charcoal to biofuels. But, did you know bamboo can be used in the same way – its fiber has similar properties and an almost identical calorific value. Plus it’s renewable!
There are hundreds of other uses but just switching out wood for those above and replacing it with bamboo that has been grown only on degraded land, is certified as sustainable AND is renewable, would have a huge impact on the planet!
Positive Economic Impacts
With more research on the potential for bamboo to be used in major markets and for everyday products, the economic impact of the same is rising. This in turn is leading to the emergence of more new and cleaner technologies, innovative solutions and the turning of a full industrial wheel. From the traditional use of bamboo only for handicrafts, baskets and flooring, the last few decades have witnessed the production of pulp for paper and textiles, veneers, plywood, composites and many 2nd and 3rd generation products. The 21st century has resulted in the development of bamboo as an entirely new and high tech industry.
Bamboo can offer a large number of advantages and as more and more research is being conducted, the way to grow and manage the plant, its benefits and the true potential of its products are coming to the forefront. One must admit that EcoPlanet Bamboo is doing a great job in having laid the framework for there to be a global resource of sustainable and certified bamboo resource, and for urging the world to replace timber from natural forests with the environmentally friendly option of their bamboo. If you are still using some wood products, toilet paper from trees or drinking coffee in disposable cups, start thinking of replacing it with products made from EcoPlanet’s Bamboo and help Camille Rebelo and Troy Wiseman in their initiative of turning bamboo as the timber of the 21st century.
From the 6th to the 15th of January, RAND Boats welcomes you at the London Boat Show to present the newest version of the Picnic.
The RAND Picnic introduces a brand new approach to leisure time activity at sea. Built on principles of modern Danish design and hydrodynamics, the elegant 18ft open day-cruiser offers a low-key luxury
and user-friendly boating experience with exceptional steering and stability, 10-person seating rows, and an adjustable center-table making it the perfect object for social activity at sea.
The Picnic is sustainably produced in Denmark at RAND’s shipyard with a focus on optimizing hydrodynamic efficiency for pleasurable sailing.
RAND Boats’ goal of constantly pushing the boundaries within design, technology and sustainability is found within the Picnic’s wave-piercing hull that is optimized for electric propulsion to achieve better performance, deliver higher speeds and longer battery life.
The lightweight hydrodynamic construction makes the ride much more efficient resulting in the Picnic consuming less electricity or gas than traditional motorboat designs. The electric engine and solar power option provide a silent and environmental friendly sailing experience.
The Picnic is available with engines up to 60HP in gasoline, or electric propulsion up to 20HP for those who seek the pure nature experience free of noise and fumes.
RAND Boats look forward to welcoming you at stand no. C135 for a talk about the Picnic and the future of electric and user-friendly boating.
RAND Boats is a newly founded Danish producer of luxurious motorboats hand-built with exception detail, and offered with the newest within electric propulsion. For more information please visit our website on www.randboats.com
Over the years, paving, decking, patios and outside garden improvements of this ilk have become a more and more common component of the home. As driveways have become a must for many around the world, a notable decline of front gardens has been observed. This trend shows no signs of abating and everybody seems to be trying to find a balance between greenery and paving. So, why?
Paving is indisputably a practical and efficient home improvement. The popularity of paving, decking and installing patios should not come as a surprise as it benefits a property in several ways. They’re cleaner looking, require less all-round maintenance, provide easy access to and from the house and can look stunning in the process. But paving isn’t always the right decision and what is in the best interest for your home and the surrounding areas needs to be considered beforehand. There is, however, one outstanding paving system that comes with only positives. Permeable paving is the future and here is why.
Permeable Paving – What is it?
Permeable paving is a paving system designed to enable the passage of water through the surface and out below. It has larger gaps between blocks than traditional block paving so that water does not get clogged and instead finds its way into the soil or a specially constructed sub-base underneath where it is then slowly released.
Permeable paving is otherwise like all other driveway or garden paving systems, it doesn’t sacrifice stability or durability but additionally provides natural drainage which some paving systems do not have. It comes in a range of paving options for whether you want the appearance of traditional paved stone driveway but the pros of permeable paving. Alternatively, you may prefer to keep the green aesthetics of a garden but require the stability of a driveway. Either way, permeable paving is the solution.
A Safe Paving Option – Reducing the Risks of Flooding
Whilst paving can be a wonderful feature, some paving systems prohibit water from soaking up naturally like a traditional lawn. Solid, watertight surfaces are fantastically secure and durable but they instigate water build up due to their impenetrability. This means that water doesn’t drain but instead builds up in surrounding roads and gorges and thereby provoking flash flooding. Existing drainage systems are unable to cope and excess water either builds up around your home or is directed elsewhere potentially damaging a neighbor's home.
Of course, with cars and parking spaces a necessity for many, driveways are an inevitable requirement. A front lawn just sometimes isn’t the most practical option for homeowners around the world. But this isn’t a one or the other situation. Permeable paving offers a paving system that has the benefit of both a driveway and the sustainable permeability of a front lawn.
A Sustainable Paving Option – Environmentally Friendly
Letting excess water drain away naturally to be soaked up by the soil in a controlled manner makes permeable paving by far the most environmentally friendly and sustainable paving choice to the extent that some flood-prone countries now insist on this home improvement.
Homes and areas that are unprepared can be bad for the environment. Rain that gathers doesn’t just present a problem for drainage but it is often being directed back to rivers and streams that are unable to cope with such an excess. Consequently, these streams are damaged and river banks collapse. Even if drains look to be doing a good job, often your drainage system is carrying rainwater towards the sewers which then sometimes overflow into rivers and have the same negative impact.
Urban heat island effect is another problem caused by ill-equipped houses. Local temperatures rise because less water evaporates. All of these problems find their solution in permeable paving. It is environmentally friendly, safer for urban areas and as practical and efficient.
With Christmas just around the corner, Ethical Consumer has put together their palm oil-free Christmas guide.
They have created a list of palm oil-free brands and brands that only contain certified sustainable or organic palm oil.
Their list includes:
- Mince Pies
- Boxes of Chocolates
See the palm oil-free Christmas guide.
Places to Buy
You can buy palm oil-free produce directly from their product guides.
For example, in our guide to boxes of chocolates you can find direct links to buy Booja Booja vegan chocolate, Divine, Seed & Bean and a selection of other fair trade options.
Check out our recently updated guide to meat-free brands. We list a number of vegetarian and vegan companies making meat-free products, perfect for your Christmas spread.
Happy ethical shopping!
This week Ethical Consumer are celebrating Good Money Week.
This annual campaign aims to ensure that businesses are looking after your money properly, in ways that benefit you, society and the environment
A new YouGov poll has found that the British public is largely unaware of the ethical investment market. However, it also shows that there is a huge demand among the British public for ethical financial products, and for help in identifying them.
This is where Ethical Consumer comes in! To celebrate Good Money Week, they have produced a video explaining their personal carbon divestment campaign.
It shows how easy it is to switch your money to a positive financial institution that invests in renewable projects rather than fossil fuels. And what a better time to make that change than during Good Money Week?
The campaign page on their website provides further information on how you can switch your current accounts, savings accounts, cash ISAs and investment funds away from companies refusing to quit coal.
As the recent poll shows there is a general lack of awareness but strong interest in ethical investment. Help spread our campaign so more people switch to ethical banking. Forward this email on to friends/family or share our video on social media.
We hope you find this information useful!
Dubai's architecture is famously bold and innovative, often looking more like something out of science fiction than reality. Now they're embarking on one of their most fantastical projects yet, an epic mega-project to create a tropical rainforest extending to 7000 square metres, inside a skyscraper hotel.
The venue is the extraordinary Rosemont Hotel and Residences, a member of Hilton's luxury independent brand Curio, and it's being built right in the middle of the city's famous business district, not far from the legendary Dubai Internet City and Al Kazim Towers.
A full-scale tropical environment
The huge hotel complex, complete with two 53 storey towers, should be ready to welcome guests from 2018, and is billed as much more than an ordinary hotel and apartments. It's being developed as a destination in its own right, a place where your every leisure and entertainment need is taken care of in one place.
It's all thanks to the creative experts ZAS Architects Dubai, who have teamed up with Dubai architects Kieferle & Partner to pin down the buildings' extraordinary design, the centre of which is the man-made rainforest. It's due to be a, “landscape akin to a full-scale tropical environment – complete with adventure trails, a sandless beach, a splash pool, waterfalls, streams and a rainforest cafe”, plus an extraordinary Jurassic-inspired prehistoric-style marsh.
As realistic as possible
This is much more than a mere showcase. Advanced tech is being brought into play to generate an advanced sensory rain system, so clever it mimics the sensation of being surrounded by rainfall, “without actually getting wet.”, thanks to intelligent sensors that control the rain, detecting the presence of people and preventing it from falling on them. Clever recycling tech means the water is collected, stored and recycled to create the right kind of super-humid tropical rainforest environment.
The enormous forest will be on the top level of a special ‘entertainment podium' that connects the hotel and residential towers, and it'll eventually be open to the public as well as hotel guests and residents.
Will the experience help to educate its wealthy patrons?
Very few of us actually get to experience a genuine rainforest in person. They are usually, by nature, remote, difficult and expensive to access. Let's hope the remarkable faux forest taking shape in Dubai will help bring home the importance of tropical rainforests to the super-wealthy: those who are the most likely to visit it, stay in the hotel and buy apartments in the complex.