With more businesses becoming eco-minded and looking for effective ways to help reduce their carbon footprint, we are shining a spotlight on entrepreneurs that have taken major steps to not only become more sustainable themselves, but to encourage others to do the same.
Along with our partners Starling Bank, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards prides itself on supporting exciting entrepreneurs making waves in the UK. Here are our 15 eco entrepreneurs to watch in 2020.
Elena Dieckmann & Ryan Robinson – Aeropowder
Elena and Ryan are co-founders of Aeropowder, an award-winning start-up creating novel materials from surplus feathers. With 10,000 tonnes of waste feathers produced every day, Aeropowders mission is to promote a sustainable future by creating high-performance and environmentally friendly products; including the world’s first thermal packaging material made from feathers.
Dr. Carmen Hijosa – Ananas Anam
Originally from Spain, Dr Carmen Hijosa is an ethical entrepreneur with a vision to connect people, the environment and the economy through the idea of a sustainable future. Ananas Anam is a developer and manufacturer of Piñatex, the innovative natural material made from pineapple leaf fibre, an idea Carmen came up with in the 1990’s. Shocked at the environmental impact of mass leather production, Carmen sought to create a new, non-woven textile to provide positive social and economic change.
Lewis Robling – Cocabana
Born from an overwhelming coconut obsession, Cocabana was founded by Lewis Robling in 2019. Providing 100% natural and organic products, Cocabana aims to reduce the carbon footprint of single use plastics and embrace nature with their eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products. Cocabana offers unique, handcrafted coconut bowls and cutlery, and are working with cafes and zero waste stores all around the UK.
Francesco Majno, Edoardo Imparato, Andrea Di Nardo & Guglielmo Gori – CRICKÉ
High in sustainable protein and packed with all the goodness you need, CRICKÉ are insect-based savoury snacks enriched with cricket powder. Founded by four friends, Francesco, Edoardo, Andrea and Guglielmo in 2017, CRICKÉ was inspired by the FAO’s reports on edible insects. The co-founders were astonished with the nutritional and environmental benefits of eating insects, and are passionate about bringing this hyper-sustainable concept to the snack food industry.
Alec Mills & Celia Pool – DAME
Alec Mills and Celia Pool are the co-founders of DAME, responsible for the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. Spotlighted as one of the UK’s most innovative sustainable brands, DAME designs tampons to help improve women’s health and prevent more plastic waste ending up in landfills. Co-founders Alec and Celia hope to break the social stigma around periods, and by 2022 aim to eliminate 15% of the 1.3 billion UK applicators that end up in landfill or in the ocean.
Anna Foster – E.L.V. DENIM
Zero-waste denim brand, E.L.V. Denim was founded by fashion stylist Anna Foster. With the aim to transform discarded vintage jeans into modern and sophisticated styles, all of their jeans have a bespoke fit, making each and every pair unique. By minimising waste, water and carbon footprint, E.L.V. Denim gives a second life to fabrics that would be destined for landfill.
Santiago Navarro & Joe Revell – Garçon Wines
Founded by Santiago Navarro and Joe Revell in 2016, Garçon Wines has set a new sustainable benchmark as the manufacturer of advanced packaged wine, creating a flat wine bottle that can fit through your letterbox. With bottles made from recycled plastic, Santiago and Joe set out to cut the costs and carbon emissions associated with and caused by failed deliveries. They have revolutionised wine delivery in an eco-friendliness and cost-effective way.
Alessandro Rocchi – Georganics
After a few months of making his own toothpaste, Alessandro Rocchi decided to set up Georganics, an eco-friendly oral care business. Made from organic and natural high quality ingredients, Georganics stocks dental supplements, eco toothbrushes, chewing gum and toothpaste tablets, a sustainable alternative to plastic toothpaste in a tube.
Darren Wilson – Kabloom
Inspired by nature in an urban environment, Kabloom makes fun and innovative products that are environmentally-friendly. During his studies, Darren was given the task to design an eco-friendly product that reconnected people with nature, and this is where Seedbom was born. A Guerrilla Gardening grenade filled with organic compost and seeds; and encased in shells made from starch and natural fibres, both the product and the packaging are fully biodegradable and only leave behind beautiful plants.
Emma Shaw, Sophia Wyatt & Rebecca Trevalyan – Library of Things
Emma, Sophia and Rebecca are the co-founders of Library of Things, an online catalogue where people can borrow useful items for their home, projects or adventures. Library of Things is on a mission to make borrowing better than buying, their easy-to-access catalogue offers affordability and convenience to all of their borrowers, and makes getting hold of the things you need, to do the things you love, incredibly simple. By helping to minimise the need to buy brand new items, they are also encouraging everyone to be kinder to the planet.
Eliza Walter – Lylie’s
Lylie’s is a sustainable jewellery business made from Salvaged Gold and Salvaged Silver. Founded by Eliza Walter in 2017, Lylie’s is the only jeweller in the UK sourcing materials from urban mining, they also offer a bespoke service by up-cycling unworn and unwanted jewellery.
Tessa Clarke & Saasha Celestial-One – OLIO
Founded by Tessa and Saasha, OLIO connects neighbours and local businesses with each other to share food that would otherwise go to waste. Simply open the app, browse the listings near you, request your items and arrange to collect. With a presence in 49 countries and 1.9 million users on their app, OLIO believe that small actions can lead to big change when resources are being shared and not thrown away.
Aaron McLaughlin & Nick Marsden – OOSC Clothing
Started by friends Aaron and Nick around their mutual love for skiing, OOSC Clothing was inspired by a one-off ski trip and some vintage outfits from eBay. The brightly coloured ski wear brand uses recycled polyester fabrics assembled by plastic bottles, and has seen success with online retailers such as ASOS, Shinesty and Zalando.
Anna & William Brightman – Upcircle Beauty
Skincare brand Upcircle Beauty was founded by siblings Anna and William Brightman after they saw an opportunity to incorporate wasted coffee grounds from coffee shops in London and upcycle them as beauty products. Upcircle Beauty provides high performing skincare products, sourcing and reusing by-products from other industries,and taking an innovative approach to preventing waste.
Pawan Saunya & Rishi Gupta – Zero Waste Club
Set up by students Pawan and Rishi, the Zero Waste Club produces ethical and vegan essential products at affordable prices. From travel-size bamboo combs, to a waste wood ladle and newspaper pencils, all of Zero Waste Club’s products are made from sustainable materials and are delivered in plastic free packaging.
Enter the 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards here.