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.
Loam (Enda McEvoy)
Upon opening the doors of Loam Restaurant in 2015, Enda 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. Enda 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 top 20 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.