Eco Heroes: Our List of Sustainability Leaders
We may have mentioned it once or twice, but in case you didn’t know we have a bit of a grá for sustainability and everyone doing their part to make the world a more environmentally sound place. In business and our day to day lives we take steps to be as sustainable as possible, so to celebrate sustainability we started looking around to see who else shares our ideals and who we can aspire to be more like. Since we found so many we decided to share them all with you! Here is our list of Irish people, businesses, or organisations that embody the ethos of a sustainable future in Ireland; or as we’re calling them, our Eco Heroes.
If using organically produced fruit and vegetables is important to you but sourcing them is difficult, you need Green Earth Organics in your life! This Galway based family farm is certified by the Irish Organic Association IOFGA, uses electricity generated by solar panels, and washes their produce with water harvested from good old fashioned West of Ireland rainwater! Everything sold by Green Earth Organics is guaranteed organic whether it is grown on the farm, bought from local suppliers, or imported from organically certified producers to ensure a selection of fruit and veg all year around. They use plastic free containers for shipping, reusable brown paper bags for loose fruit and veg and plant based bags for salads and greens. The best part? You can order boxes of organically grown and sourced fruit and veg online to be delivered to your door. No picking, no fuss, no hassle!
Unlike many in today’s society of fast fashion and single use products Lynn Haughton sees “a world of potential in a world of wasted opportunities”. Inspired by the strength and resourcefulness of survivors from the tsunami that ravaged Asia in 2004, Lynn started to see the potential in everyday materials being tossed aside. Thus began the ‘Neo Collection’ in 2012. Repurposing discarded wetsuits, which would otherwise be sent to a landfill where they would not biodegrade and cannot be recycled, and turning them into a range of bags and accessories. Everything from purses to earrings are available in a variety of styles and colours. To make the product just a little bit more feelgood, 10% of each sale goes towards the Seal Rescue Ireland!
Our favourite part however is their repair policy: If you’ve loved and used your product to within an inch of its life you can send it back to The Upcycle Movement for repairs. If they can fix it fantastic, if not they will offer you a 10% discount on a replacement from their store. They will recycle whatever materials possible from your item to make future products to continue their circle economy ideals.
This self proclaimed foodie and local Galway Girl is the only stop you need to make on the journey to making your kitchen a more sustainable place. With produce sourced from local suppliers and some vegan recipes that will blow your mind (say it with me ‘Cauliflower Wings’), this girls blog will make you want to ditch the meat from the menu and find your local farmers market. A firm believer in living her best carbon neutral life Ciara’s approach is simple and easy to emulate: eat healthy, use locally sourced food, reduce your single use plastics.
The brainchild of Development Perspectives, founded by Bobby McCormack and Margaret Downey, the Sustainable Development Goals Challenge (SDG Challenge) aims to ‘equip individuals with the knowledge, skills and motivation’ and empower them to take action and contribute to the key Sustainable Development Goals that were set in 2015 by leaders from 193 countries around the globe to help achieve a sustainable future by 2030. These goals include reducing poverty and hunger, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production of goods, and climate action to name a few. Each month comes with a new challenge in the effort to achieve the SDG goals. For example March’s challenge is aimed at tackling climate change and encourages followers to eliminate meat and dairy consumption for one week to make an impact. Each challenge encourages the increased awareness and knowledge of the issues that most affect society and promotes action towards increasing environmental awareness and sustainability.
#PRIDE2020 & #SDG16, 10 & 4 are inextricably linked. Especially Target 16b. Let's all celebrate #LGBTQ rights, diversity, & the crucial role that strong institutions & justice play in upholding those #humanrights. June's #SDGChallenge focuses on #SDG16: https://t.co/I3a3VKxe8v pic.twitter.com/WR0t7GGsYH— SDGchallenge (@SDGchallenge) June 24, 2020
Babies need lots of stuff. Now more than ever, the market is swarmed with the latest ‘must have’ item for your new arrival. Lucia Nash wanted to challenge this model with the creation of Ireland’s first organically made bedside crib, the Hugg. Made with FSC certified wood from European forests, OEKO-TEX certified bamboo and cotton, locally sourced linen from Northern Ireland, and FSC certified recyclable cardboard manufactured locally by an ISO certified Irish company, this crib simply oozes the designers firm stance on sustainable and transparent production. Each crib is handmade to order and can take up to 12 weeks to manufacture, but once it arrives it is a piece for life. When your little one is too big to sleep in it the base can be converted into a desk or bench for your child to enjoy for years to come, furthering its sustainability.
Kinvara Natural Skincare
Kinvara Skincare has taken skincare in Ireland by storm since its creation in 2012 by Dr Joanne Reilly. When completing a doctorate in Indonesia Joanne observed the local people using plants as “a natural apothecary” and knew that she could combine this with her scientific background and create the solution to her own skin concerns. 8 years and thousands of customers later the Kinvara Natural Skincare has developed a cult following. The products are produced with organically certified plant oils, contain no Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), or parabens and are entirely vegan friendly. All products are packaged in glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) which are widely recyclable and their boxing is all suitable for recycling also ensuring no long term waste is produced.
Upon opening the doors of Loam Restaurant in 2015, Enda and the team in Loam had a clear idea of the business he wanted to run and the food he wanted to serve his guests. Running a low impact restaurant was a natural choice and the methods can be seen when you walk in the door as grow boxes with all the herbs used in the kitchen's dishes decorate the restaurant. Loam only uses local suppliers with commitments to buy from local farms and only sources meat from farms that practice free range growth for their livestock. Every ounce is used from roots of vegetables to the bones of fish to achieve as minimal waste as possible. All the packaging from suppliers is returned to the suppliers to be reused and all suitable food waste is returned to Leaf and Root Farm in Loughrea to be used in composting to grow future crops. These measures have all contributed to Loam being the first Irish restaurant to be awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Association three star Food Made Good award in 2016, and the winners of the inaugural Michelin Sustainability Award in 2019.
We would need a separate blog post to talk about all the ways Hotel Doolin in Co Clare embodies our sustainable beliefs! For starters, for every wedding that is booked in Hotel Doolin 10 native trees are planted. In the past 2 years they have planted 1700 trees ultimately offsetting 1700 tonnes of carbon bringing them ever closer to the goal of being carbon positive. Initiatives have been introduced across the hotel in the past 2 years resulting in lower oil and energy usage such as their change to an air to water heating system (causing a 68% reduction in oil over two years), and the construction of their Eco-Barn for weddings and events. The Eco-Barn is A rated with sustainable heating and cooling systems and the decor inside is made from recycled materials where possible. Their toiletries and tissues in their bedrooms are made from organic or recycled produce and guests are encouraged to partake in eco-conscious practices with free tea or coffee if you arrive by bicycle or a 30% discount on tea or coffee if you bring your own keep cup. Honestly, we could gush about their environmental practices all day. We have only covered the tip of the iceberg here!
As a lifelong environmentalist and eco-enthusiast it should be no surprise to anyone that Duncan has made it on to our EcoHeroes list. Before Ireland acknowledged our environmental impact, before EU mandated actions against climate change were established, and before sustainability became a buzzword, Duncan Stewart was an environmental advocate. His RTE show Eco-Eye has highlighted circular economy, climate change, biodiversity, and coastal erosion amongst other ecological concerns since 2002. A self described activist, Duncan is a regular speaker at environmental events and workshops and has most recently spearheaded initiatives across Ireland to encourage residents to live greener lives in the fight against climate action.
Sustainability can be daunting when you start your research. There’s lots of your favourite products that don’t make the cut and lots of new habits to be formed. This is where Reuzi comes in. Founder Pat Kane encourages taking small steps to make a big difference on the path to helping our environment. Reuzi aims to inspire and empower its customers to live a more environmentally conscious, low waste and plastic lifestyle. With a range of sustainably produced products that will help you ease the transition, before you know it you will be living a zero waste life and loving it! While there is an extensive range of products from health and beauty, to on the go reusable cutlery, cups and water bottles Reuzi has another key asset; their Blog. Full of tips and tricks for living a more simple and sustainable lifestyle it is the first stop for anyone looking to get started with the baby steps to making a big change.
This Cork born entrepreneur lives and breathes sustainability. His company, Crowley Carbon, through a range of avenues is one of the biggest names in Ireland looking at the global response to the climate crisis. Through Planetclarity, they create tailor made solutions for companies to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Crowley Solar has recently single handedly DOUBLED the amount of Solar PV panels in Ireland to date and have plans to install over 1000MW of solar power in Ireland over the next 5 years. Electrifi is the first company to manufacture cars in Ireland in over 40 years. They deliver rebuilt classic cars with optimised Tesla engines to provide the classic frames from cars you know and love through the ages with immensely powerful and efficient engines.
Cool Planet Experience
This ties in with Norman Crowley and Crowley Carbon as Wicklow based Cool Planet Experience is another project from this energy conglomerate. The interactive journey walks groups through what climate change is all about. Offering an amazing learning opportunity for young and old alike to better understand the changes our planet is going through and the measures everyone can take to help prevent global warming. Open to individuals and groups, school tours and corporate training this Crowley Carbon off shoot deserves its own spot on our list because of the amazing work they do spreading awareness of climate change.
Bring your staff together remotely to learn about living sustainably with our popular "Be Planet Positive" Webinar 🌎 Take the serious subject of #climatechange & become empowered to make planet positive life choices 🌎— CoolPlanetExperience (@CoolPlanetExp) July 10, 2020
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Inspired by the sea and the rugged coast and wildlife of the West of Ireland, Grown is an organic clothing company that takes great pains to ensure all of its products are ethically produced, manufactured and entirely organic. All their fabrics are made from combinations of organic cotton, hemp, and recycled fibers (and adhere to the Global Organic Textile Standards) and manufactured in Bangladesh in accordance with Fair Wear standards. Another material used in production is naturally sourced cork; harvested without felling any trees, and through environmentally friendly and sustainable methods. They are dedicated to giving back to the planet and are members of 1% For The Planet which donates 1% of all sales to funding environmental NGOs across the world. Locally they operate a ‘Buy 1 Plant 1’ scheme where for every product bought a native Irish tree will be planted to help restore the biodiversity of Ireland’s forestry.
Twig Refill Shop
Nestled in the heart of Clonakilty, Co Cork is a store that encourages the old tradition of going to the cornershop to have the chats, engage with the locals and fully enjoying the activity of doing the weekly shop. It also encourages a minimal waste shopping experience. Twig offers everything from grains, herbs and spices, and dried fruits to chemical-free household cleaning products and a selection of toiletries. Customers fill their own bags, jars, and bottles with produce to minimize the use of plastics and unnecessary packaging that prevails in most grocery shops and get the freedom of buying what they actually need instead of what is convenient to package by suppliers.
For the second year in a row Energia have won the Green Energy Provider award at the Green Awards 2020. Not only are Energia Ireland’s largest provider of renewable energy (supplying 21% of Ireland’s total wind power), they are also the only energy provider in Ireland to have been supplying 100% renewable energy to homes and businesses across Ireland for the past 5 years. This is achieved through a variety of renewable energy schemes located across the island (and off the coast) of Ireland including wind farms, on and offshore wind projects, solar energy, hydrogen energy, and bio energy. In addition to this Energia are supporters of the Get Ireland Growing competition in association with Grow It Yourself, which encourages individual and community gardens to grow their own product and therefore reduce waste and emissions.
Sustainable Fashion Dublin
It’s all in the name really isn’t it? Creators Taz Kelleher and Geraldine Carton had a vision to make a community of like minded people who believed in sustainable fashion and “reducing the negative impact of their wardrobe”. How have they done it? By taking Dublin’s second hand fashion scene and putting it on display for everyone to take part. The eco minded ladies have run swop shops, done charity shop crawls, knitting events, and DIY denim workshops to further their sustainable fashion agenda. By making sustainable fashion more accessible to the masses they have opened their followers' eyes to the positive alternatives available to the fast fashion era we find ourselves in.
We’ve done some research and you’re not actually allowed to make an ‘eco heros’ list including people from Galway and leave this PR Hun out. Crazy I know! But as a local activist of greener living Lisa is an obvious choice for our list. Following her social media is like a little tour of Galway’s hidden gems, from the best vegan restaurants to the local stores with organically sourced products. Lisa is a key member in driving a more eco friendly West End in Galway and can be seen spinning about the city on her bike with the gorgeous Toby riding in the basket.
The West End Galway
“The Soul of Galway City” and the heart of Galway’s environmental movement. Galway’s West End is renowned for its restaurants and nightlife but businesses within the West End have implemented a number of initiatives to improve their environmental impact. From the introduction of bike racks to encourage green transport to the unveiling of their ‘West End’ range of reusable water bottles and inclusion on Refill Tap Map to reduce dependency on single use plastics. Restaurants over the bridge such as Kai, Dela, and Tartare source organic and local produce for their menus and tea shop Secret Garden is THE spot for some organically made treats with your herbal tea or fairtrade coffee. Of course Ernie's shop needs an honourable mention here as well; this quaint fruit and veg shop is an institution of Galway City and a haven for organically sourced fruit, veg and artisanal products. No trip to the West End is complete without a stop in Ernie’s!
The Filling Station, Eco Store
Another little gem from Galway City (we know, we’re a little bias to our home town!) The Filling Station is a one stop shop for all your household needs, from groceries, to eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and even all your personal wellness items too. John Tedders opened the doors in July 2019 and since then The Filling Station has been a massive hit on the Galway scene as it promotes a convenient, minimal waste lifestyle.
Founder Sheelin Conlon began TheKind.co in June 2019 after being inspired to take action against unnecessary and environmentally damaging waste while kitesurfing in Asia. Starting out small with sustainable swaps Sheelin soon moved on to bigger things and thus TheKind was born! You can find everything from a needle to an anchor in her online store and every scrap is sourced from sustainable suppliers and enables customers to make the big change to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle by taking lots of little steps.
Sew_Sustainable is someone we are thrilled to have on our EcoHeroes list because they are making a big difference not just by promoting or selling sustainable products, but because they are educating others in how to be sustainable themselves. In this day and age knowledge is power and Sew_Sustainable runs courses targeted to teachers which shows not only how to sew and repurpose clothes but also how to teach and educate kids on how to get in on it as well. Teaching the future generations about sustainability and the downfalls of the fast fashion era while supporting them to create themselves.
Irish tourists often get caught up in the idea of the Aran jumper being the epitome of Irish culture and knitwear. Little do they know that Bogman Beanie is where it’s actually at. Based in Donegal Bogman Beanie produce all their products locally with ethically sourced wool that is traceable and transparent to reflect their environmentally driven journey. Their ranges of beanies, jumpers and cardigans cry out to Irish tradition, whether it’s a long evening in the bog, a walk in the woods on a classic Irish soft day, or snuggling down to watch the late late on a Friday evening with a steaming cuppa!
Warrior Botanicals are steeped in every ounce of earthy goodness you could possibly imagine. Their ranges of natural skincare and herbal remedies are all produced in small batches directly from their craft studio in West Cork and follow traditional and natural folk techniques and in accordance with the elements, seasons and the earth. All their products are made by hand without any mass producing machinery and all ingredients are harvested seasonally when the plants are in bloom. With inspiration from folk remedies and a true appreciation for the healing power of nature each item is made with care and love, from healing oils, to hair products.
I think we can all agree on one simple fact: dogs rule the roost in basically every house (unless you have a cat that is). You swear they won’t be allowed on the couches and then next thing they’re taking over the bed, but who are we to object to our furry bosses? You want the best for your canine babies, which is where ecomutt comes in. With a range of natural aromatherapy grooming products ecomutt ensures your dog is treated to toxin and chemical free products that are guaranteed vegan friendly and cruelty-free.