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Shining a Spotlight on Sustainability in the Retail Industry.

A focus on sustainability in the Retail industry has become paramount as consumers expect brands to put their best foot forward when it comes to impactful actions to target climate change.

As the Millennials and Gen Z generations now expect sustainable products and approaches to be the norm, the pressure is on for all brands to step up to the mark if they want to be considered relevant and forward-thinking in 2022. According to Meta, Millennial online shoppers are 1.3X more likely to care about sustainability and 1.2X more likely to consider the availability of local products and support for local businesses than their older counterparts. Overall, more consumers are willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly or sustainable products since the onset of the pandemic.

Two great examples of Irish businesses who are killing the game when it comes to sustainability are Angela O’Donnell with her fashion brand YAWUW and Sharon Keilthy with her toy brand Jiminy ECO Toys.

Angela O’Donnell, from Cork, founded the sustainable and ethical fashion brand YAWUW – an acronym for You Are What U Wear – last year. After becoming a mother for the first time, she said:  “The climate crisis will be one of the biggest issues of the next generation and the fashion industry is one of the worst culprits.

“My lightbulb moment was when my little girl was born. When she is my age, 37, she says, ‘Mom, what the hell is going on with the world? What did you do?’ I can say I did something.

“I went and designed the best products to try and change an industry that is just decimated because of the textiles they use and the conditions that people work in”.

Angela uses recycled polyester yarn obtained from plastic bottles, organic cotton, recycled wool, and recycled elastane for her designs. An amazing entrepreneur making a difference in the fashion industry. 

Sharon Keilthy set up Jiminy Eco Toys after leaving her senior role at a US multinational company.

Sharon said: “It was 2018 and my daughter was about to turn four. I wanted to get her a nice eco-friendly gift, something made in Europe, something plastic-free.

“I went to the toy store, and I came out empty-handed. Everything was made from virgin plastic and shipped all the way from China.

“So, I just thought, well maybe I’m not the only one who wants to do better. We can’t expect people to do better if better isn’t on the shelf if it’s not available.

“So, I decided to set up my own eco-friendly toy company specialising in ‘made in Europe’, plastic-free toys to give people more choices.”

This is an incredible initiative, and it just goes to show that people from all walks of life can make changes to improve the world around us.

If you know of any small or large business making a change to be more sustainable, drop their handle below in the comment section so we can shine a light and show our support for them.