Mona Shah Asks Three ‘Sustainability Superheroes’

To mark Earth Day on 22 April 2021, Stonehage Fleming hosted a panel debate to talk about some of the many topics around sustainability that our clients tell us they would like to discuss.

Joining Mona on the panel were three sustainability superheroes:

  • Will Pearson, co-founder and CEO of Ocean Bottle, a company that produces reusable bottles, each fitted with a smart chip, which funds the collection of 1,000 plastic bottles and stops them from entering the ocean.
  • Sheena Bhattessa, founder of Citizen Femme, a luxury guide for the female traveller. Citizen Femme is the only destination to reach travel-conscious women. With sustainability increasing on the travel agenda, Citizen Femme provides compelling socially conscious, travel content curated for the modern, affluent, savvy globetrotting woman.
  • Natalie Campbell, social entrepreneur, member of the Stonehenge Fleming Advisory Board and CEO of Belu, a UK-based drinks company producing a range of carbon-neutral and ethically-sourced bottled waters and filtration systems and 100% of its profits are donated to WaterAid.

Mona asked the panel what three things they would recommend people do in their daily lives to make the greatest sustainability impact. Their answers were varied and interesting.

Will: Number one is simple. Consume less. Moving house recently has really brought this home to me. The sheer amount of possessions I own is striking. I don’t need it all. At Christmas, Ocean Bottle went out with a message that makes a lot of sense: don’t gift things, gift an experience instead.

Go reusable. By adopting a reusable bottle, you can cut down by around 150 plastic bottles a year – that’s the EU average. You will save money and reduce your carbon footprint by about 80 times from refilling and rejecting transported water.

Be an activist. By using your voice, you can have a huge impact in terms of influencing your friends or colleagues. Vote for politicians who are speaking the language of sustainability and employing the policies to make it happen. Vote with your wallet too and only support those businesses who are sourcing and selling products in a sustainable way.

Sheena: Travel more consciously. Generally, think about the sustainability angle of your trip from start to finish. Be conscious of the credentials of the tourist board, the country, the city, the hotel and take advantage of any local initiatives they engage in. Rather than making a ‘pit stop’ in New York or Paris, try to make your trips longer or ‘twin’ cities and visit more than one location in a trip.

Travel off the beaten track. Visit ‘untapped’ destinations and avoid tourist hotspots. Go to the village next door and make an effort to understand the community and culture, supporting what they are doing locally. From a tourism point of view, that is a big part of sustainability.

Indulge in a spot of ‘bleisure’. There are good reasons why this rather odd word has come to be. If you are travelling for a business meeting, extend it for a week. By combining business and leisure travel you save time, money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Natalie: Make good choices. If you are out and about, make sure you have a refill with you. It’s a simple, good choice you can make easily. If everyone did it, the compound impact would be huge.

Look at the packaging. When buying anything, check out the packaging materials. Are they sustainable? Does the wording tell you where the item was produced or – in the case of water – bottled? How far has it travelled to get to you – has it been shipped in? Use packaging to help inform yourself and make sustainable consumer choices.

Take stock. Look at what you have bought in a given year and actively reflect on whether you really need it. Use this information to change your habits. By taking stock of the amount you have bought and analysing your habits, you will be better prepared to make sustainable choices going forward. It is a great exercise.

Photo by Tony Hand on Unsplash