SUSTAINABILITY: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?
Our planet is in
a critical condition and we will soon reach the point of no return if we don’t
do anything to avoid it. Governments are aware of it (although they usually
look the other way), and so are companies and consumers, who are becoming ever
more stringent given that the situation is affecting us all, both directly and
required. Not in a few years, or even months. It is required now. There is no
planet B we can escape to when we have destroyed this one. This is why being
sustainable now is not a choice, it’s the only path to follow if we wish to
roll back the unstoppable process of climate change.
Brands carry an
enormous responsibility. What was optional before is now a non-negotiable
BUT WHAT DOES IT
MEAN EXACTLY TO BE SUSTAINABLE?
sustainable has been misused to the extreme by all of us, to the point that it
no longer means what it originally meant. It’s very easy to fall into to the
trap of contradiction, or even greenwashing. When talking about sustainability,
it is crucial that we do so with transparency and honesty. At least, that is
how we see it. Which is why we are pursuing what we believe it is to be
For a start, zero
impact does not exist. This would only be possible by not consuming anything at
all. Since this is entirely impossible, we have to find ways of minimising our
impact on nature as much as we possibly can. As individuals, as brands, and in society
as a whole.
For Vera &
the Birds, being sustainable means channelling all your resources and energy
towards a single purpose: to ensure that your impact as a company on the
environment is as small as possible.
And this is not
an easy path, because you have to take many factors into account. With humility
and perseverance we are taking small steps towards sustainable development that
enables us to grow in a responsible way.
OUR SMALL STEPS
formulas. We take great care to ensure that all the ingredients contained in
our products are biodegradable. We do not use components that may contaminate
or pose a threat to animals, so materials such as glitter and micro-plastics
are included on our blacklist.
We give preference to packaging made from sustainable materials such as glass,
cardboard and aluminium and we also use innovative materials such as sugar
cane. A small part of our catalogue is still made with 100% recyclable plastic
because, due to their format, it is difficult to find a viable substitute, but
we continue to strive to find alternatives.
ingredients whenever possible. A large percentage of the ingredients contained
in our formulas are organic, which promotes biodiversity and helps to avoid the
use of pesticides and fertilisers.
Zero waste range.
In May 2020, we launched a range of solid, zero waste cosmetics, which has been
expanding to become established as a collection that includes body and facial
soaps, body exfoliants and solid shampoos. This is how we are promoting a
cosmetic range that does not require water and very little packaging, making it
much more environmentally friendly.
inks used for printing labels and boxes. Paper from responsibly managed, FSC-certified
We work with
local suppliers so that our products do not need to travel from the other side
of the world to get here.
we promote a culture of conscious shopping, of buying only what you need,
without being influenced by trends that only tempt us to acquire more and more
stuff. We are fans of slow life, of reusing packaging and of objects that
accompany us the whole of our lives. We do not believe in fast fashion (or its
equivalent, fast beauty) or in seasons that urge you to buy because you
might miss out on the latest fad product if you don’t.
We won’t lie to
you; we are a company and we need to sell to survive. But there are ways and
ways of selling. And there are ways and ways of consuming. And a brand can grow
and develop responsibly, consciously and sustainably without urging people to
buy at all cost and at all times. In a world where hyper-consumption is one of
the main causes of global warming, we believe that this is important.
WE ARE CARBON NEUTRAL
It is not enough
just to cut down. No matter how much we try to minimise our footprint, there
always will be a footprint. That is a fact. Aware of this situation, in 2020,
we decided to offset 100% of our carbon emissions, and today we can proudly say
that we are Carbon Neutral.
We have offset no
less than 5 tonnes of CO2 (5 times more than we produce) by investing in a
European Union project in Cambodia whose goal is to use rice husks as biomass
fuel to generate electricity for local communities.
DOES NATURAL MEAN
To conclude, we’d
like to talk about two terms that are often confused. Is natural the same as
sustainable? No, not always. As we’ve discussed in this post, very often
concepts such as natural, vegan, organic and sustainable are treated as
synonyms. But they are not. A lipstick can be natural but contain cochineal,
which means it is not vegan. Or a cream may be natural but contain a large
percentage of ylang ylang, which is not sustainable.
We have all heard
of the example of rose essential oil: a litre of rose essential oil requires
4000 kilos of rose petals. There are certain ingredients that require mass
exploitation of their natural resource, which means they are not sustainable.
How do we avoid
the contradiction? It isn’t easy. In our particular case, we study each product
in all the stages of its development to make sure it is in line with our
This is our
position. These are the steps we are taking in our endeavour to honour our
commitment to protect the environment. Despite being very proud of them, we are
aware that they are not enough, (it never is!) so we will continue to strive
every day, with each decision and each of our products, to achieve excellence.
Thank you for accompanying us on our journey.