At Virgin Money, becoming a greener bank Link opens in a new window is a non-negotiable and it’s a role we’re taking seriously. We’re passionate about helping customers and communities on the road to a greener future and doing what we can to be a force for good in society. Which is why we’ve pledged to be net zero in everything we finance by 2050.
We caught up with some Virgin Money business Link opens in a new window customers and Virgin StartUp Link opens in a new window funded businesses who are leading the way in going green within their industries. From creating carbon negative skincare products to making standout swimwear from recycled fishing nets. These businesses are putting sustainability at the heart of everything they do - we spoke with them to find out how they’re doing it.
Lucy Todd is the founder of My Little Green Wardrobe - an online store selling sustainable baby and children’s clothing brands. Her mission is to make it easier for busy parents to buy better.
Why did you create My Little Green Wardrobe?
“I started the business after becoming aware of the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry while working as a journalist for BBC News. It made me stop and think about the way I was buying and consuming clothes, which led me to drastically reduce the number of new things I bought for myself.
But when it came to my children, it wasn’t as simple as just stopping buying them clothes. The thing with kids is they grow...ALL. THE. TIME.
And while I'm a great believer in hand me downs, and secondhand clothes for little ones, there are times when you need to - or want to - buy something new.
The lightbulb moment came when it took me a whole afternoon to buy just two things for my eldest daughter from brands that I was happy with. Why wasn’t there a website that only sold sustainable childrenswear, where I could shop safe in the knowledge that whatever I bought, I was acting in a more ethical way? So that’s what I've set out to do with the support of Virgin StartUp.”
What makes My Little Green Wardrobe a greener way to shop?
“All the clothing on my site is either certified organic or made from recycled materials - and I give shoppers easy-to-digest information on each brand, on exactly how they are behaving more sustainably. Plus, shoppers can filter clothes according to the values that are most important to them, such as: planet, people, vegan, gives back etc.
We’re also powered by renewable energy, we use only recycled packaging materials, and our promo cards are printed on seeded paper, so you and your kids can plant them and enjoy watching them grow.”
Co-founders Elsie and Dominika created their London based natural skincare brand, BYBI in their kitchens, crafting DIY beauty recipes with potent natural ingredients. Funded by Virgin StartUp, BYBI was born in 2017 with the duo quickly becoming known for not only their pro-planet formulas and standout eco packaging but for being the go-to platform for all things green beauty through their book and podcast Clean Beauty.
What made you start your sustainable business?
“When we saw the extraordinary negative impact our industry had on the environment, we felt compelled to make better choices and try to be more conscious. We’re committed to producing skincare with the lowest possible environmental footprint, utilising low carbon production processes across our entire supply chain. Helping to keep our customers skin—and our planet—healthy (without having to compromise on either).”
What is BYBI’s sustainability goal and mission?
“Our goal is to be the industry's first carbon negative brand, through a proprietary supply chain that sequesters carbon. We’re currently continuing our carbon reduction journey and working towards being carbon negative by 2025. We’ve been focussing on reducing our carbon across our supply chain by implementing green energy for production, using a high % of upcycled ingredients in our formula, low carbon plant-based packaging solutions and low carbon transport methods.”
What’s your proudest achievement in your sustainability journey?
“We achieved carbon negativity across our latest product, Glowcurrant Booster, which was independently audited to have a negative emission of -15.8g of Co2 per unit. Glowcurrant Booster’s carbon footprint is negative as it’s made using low-carbon ingredients and sequesters carbon throughout its supply chain from cradle to gate. It does not rely on or involve any carbon offsetting.”
Virgin Money business customer, Louise Taggart is the CEO of waste broker business, Greenzone. The business works alongside their clients and suppliers to deliver waste and recycling solutions to create a safer, cleaner and more sustainable future.
What is Greenzone’s sustainability mission?
“Our mission is to make our communities better. We focus on the impact our business has on people, planet, and profit.
Our sustainability journey has been driven by our clients’, changes in law and much welcomed social pressure. We want waste to be viewed as a resource and to use the local circular economy infrastructure to reduce waste-miles and waste exports.
We design solutions to ensure that waste is destined to be re-used or reprocessed into new materials and products.”
What’s next in your sustainability plan?
“We are working towards net zero and we support clients to do the same. We’ve aligned our sustainability strategy with the UN’s Sustainability Goals and have developed a carbon reduction plan Link opens in a new window which details how we are becoming a greener business with measurable results. We’re particularly proud that because of our partnership with Tree Nation we have offset almost 470 tonnes of carbon and planted over 1,800 trees.
Sustainability is our future, and we plan to: continue with our fleet of electric/hybrid cars, install solar panels as an alternative green energy source, and we are aiming to accurately calculate the tCO2e of our current supply chain to offset through our partnership with Tree Nation. We will continue to design services around zero waste such as more resource and less waste by embracing new ideas and technologies.”
Co-founders Annabel & Hannah created Pursuit The Label, a London-born sustainable swimwear brand that transforms regenerated ocean waste into luxury statement swimsuits, without compromising style for sustainability.
What made you start your sustainable swimwear brand?
“Thanks to the support from Virgin StartUp, Pursuit was born in 2018 out of personal frustration with the lack of stylish sustainable swimwear, so we made it our mission to inject fashion into luxury swimsuits that don’t damage the planet.
Our desire to create standout swimwear has no limit; however, we know that the planet’s resources do. Which is why we’re fighting marine pollution by creating each individual swimsuit from ECONYL®, a 100% consumer waste yarn made from recycled fishing nets and other post-consumer waste.”
What was your journey to becoming greener and what’s next?
“Since launching, sustainability has been within our DNA. We wanted to redefine what shopping consciously means for our generation and those to come. A big decision we have made to reduce waste has been to implement a pre-order system which means that we produce only what our customers want and therefore we avoid excess waste going to landfill.
Our ultimate goal is to become fully circular in which we produce zero waste. We will do this by taking back old swimwear and recycling it into brand new garments, not just limited to swimwear! We are proud to be a part of the rise of sustainable & regenerative brands who are redefining fashion and paving the way for a more conscious way of doing business.”
We’ve partnered with Future-Fit to create the Sustainable Business Coach app to help you set goals and measure progress against your sustainability targets.
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