This Wednesday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the achievements of women. As we move towards a more sustainable way of living, women around the world are playing a vital role, and Ireland is no different.
Below are just some of the amazing Irish women leading the way in sustainability in Ireland.
DR. CARA AUGUSTENBORG
When it comes to raising awareness of climate issues and the need to act, Dr. Cara Augustenborg is an unstoppable force. A PHD educated environmental scientist, Cara manages an impressive range of roles including lecturing at UCD, sitting on the EPA Advisory Council, writing an award-winning blog The Verdant Yank and holding the role of Chairperson of Friends of the Earth Ireland!
Food waste is a big issue. In Ireland, we throw out 1 million tonnes of food each year – at the same time 1 in 8 Irish people experience food poverty. Not content to ignore this issue any longer, Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward launched FoodCloud, a not-for-profit social enterprise in 2013.
FoodCloud uses technology to redistribute surplus food from retailers to charities and community groups. Since launching, FoodCloud has successfully redistributed approximately 4,000 tonnes of food (creating 8.8m meals) to 3,000 community groups around Ireland, saving the environment from at least 7,700 tonnes of Co2 emissions.
FoodCloud continues to grow from strength to strength and has now moved into the UK. As if that wasn’t enough, Aoibheann and Iseult have recently launched FoodCloud Hubs, a network of redistribution hubs around Ireland that will allow an even wider range of food to be saved from waste!
You can stay up to date with the Aoibheann and Iseult at food.cloud.
It is fairly impossible not to be impressed by the Winckworth ladies who recently launched White & Green, Ireland’s first fully certified organic and fair trade cotton bedding brand. Mum Sari, an interior designer, together with daughters Rebecca, a successful soloist and advocate of sustainable development, Danielle, a supermodel with a passion for design, and Andrea, an event specialist, are on a mission to lead an ethical consumption movement in Ireland and abroad. Their first products include a range of luxury sheets made from 100% organic cotton and the family have gone to great lengths to ensure they have a fully transparent and sustainable supply chain that guarantees workers receive fair wages.
To raise their sustainability game even further, White & Green have also recently started using biodegradable packaging. You can check out their full range at whiteandgreen.ie or pay a visit to their pop shop in Monkstown.
ALI KELLY & AISLING BYRNE
During trips to India, Ali and Aisling saw first-hand the devastating effects that the fast-fashion industry has on people and the environment. Driven to make a difference, the girls applied for a social enterprise incubator run by the NGO, Suas, and from there Nu. was born.
Nu. aims to move consumers away from the destructive cycle of fast fashion consumption and has a vision to reinvent the way we shop to make sure ethics and style go hand in hand. The girls hold frequent swap shops around Dublin as well as other sustainable fashion events and are developing a clothes sharing and swapping app.
It can be hard to find high quality, relevant content related to sustainability in Ireland. However, Ann O’ Dea is changing all that. Passionate about sustainable business and climate change issues, Ann co-founded Silicon Republic, Europe’s leading technology and innovation news service which keeps readers up to date on a wide range of sustainability issues including cleantech, sustainable technologies as well as start up and innovation news.
In addition to acting as CEO of Silicon Republic and driven by her passion to promote the role of women in STEM, Ann founded Inspirefest, a truly unique international festival of technology, science, design and the arts, which also happens to place diversity and inclusion at its heart.
Some people see a problem and just accept it. Others won’t rest until they figure out a better solution. The latter is definitely the case for Liz Fingleton and Kate Purcell of Obeo.
Realising that a lot of people are turned off from using their brown bin, (let’s face it, sometimes it can be a little gross) Kate started to create a new product as part of a Masters in Sustainable Design. At the same time, Liz, who was looking for a change in career and to work for a cause she was truly passionate about, joined Kate and Obeo was born. The girls developed an innovative food waste storage box that is easy and clean to use and that encourages people to recycle their food waste in the brown bin
Already Obeo boxes have diverted an impressive 775,000kg of food waste from landfill, saving 156.500kg of Co2 emissions and creating 155,000kg of quality compost.