With the New Year come new resolutions and often a renewed focus on doing things differently.
Many of us seek to be healthier, fitter, and more organised. However, have you considered making some sustainability related resolutions too?
There are a variety of ways in which we can act more sustainably in 2022, for example, reducing our food waste, using public transport, helping with a local beach clean up or being better at recycling. Living more sustainably requires you not just to consider your environmental impact on the planet but also to recognise the value of ethical working practices within society. Yet, it can sometimes be difficult for consumers to know how to translate these beliefs into action. This means there is opportunity for businesses to help support consumers to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
Deloitte (2021) reported that nearly 1 in 3 consumers claimed to have stopped purchasing certain brands or products because they had ethical or sustainability related concerns about them. Purchasing products or services from ethically responsible and environmentally focused companies can be an easy resolution to adopt when wishing to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Supporting local businesses that recognise and embed sustainability and ethical practices into what they do can be one way you can make a difference in 2022. Here is a list of some local businesses that promote responsible practices:
1. Born & Bred
Whether it’s art, homeware, food or jewellery, you can find it all under the roof of Born & Bred in Belfast city centre. They stock products from over 85 makers, artists, and designers from our local community. This company works with artists, manufacturers, and suppliers to reduce the materials used in the production, packaging and shipping process, encouraging them to use sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives.
2. Gourmet Grazing NI
For the ultimate foodie, Gourmet Grazing NI offers grazing tables, platters, and boxes which support local Northern Irish & Irish artisanal producers like Ballylisk Cheese from Armagh as well as Dart Mountain cheese from Derry/Londonderry.
3. Life Farms Microgreens
This urban farm situated in Bangor, County Down specialises in growing microgreens from organic seeds, using organic methods, and is chemical free. According to Life Farms, microgreens are mini vegetables grown to the first two leaves and then harvested resulting in a more intense flavour and nutrient dense product.
4. Mrs R-Ganics
This earth friendly and cruelty free skincare brand handmade in Crawfordsburn, County Down, uses the highest quality ingredients that are almost exclusively 100 per cent organic, raw, unrefined and ethically sourced. When possible, these products are created using local ingredients, such as Duvillaun Irish salt, flowers and herbs gathered from local organic farms, organic apple cider vinegar from local producer Natural Umber, Hills Mix spent coffee and wild Irish seaweed gathered by hand from the west coast of Ireland.
5. Wild About Soaps
Trained horticulturalist Averil Milligan produces a wide range of handcrafted soaps, shampoo bars, hair conditioners and body butters at her local studio in Downpatrick. All her soaps are free from palm oil, parabens, SLES, SLS, artificial colours or fragrances. While a number of gifts stores across County Down and Omagh stock her items, they are also available to buy online. She even has teamed up with local potter Lisa Brown of Cloverhill Ceramics NI based in County Tyrone to produce some beautiful hand thrown soap dishes (available to buy online).
6. Do Your Bit NI
This Carrickfergus-based company offer natural, chemical free, and plastic free products to help you eliminate waste and go plastic-free. They provide a wide selection of products ranging from bathroom and kitchen necessities, like reusable silicone Ziplock bags and reusable Q-tips, to bundles that makes for a great eco-friendly gift.
7. TAMS: The Art of Mindful Style.
County Tyrone based mum Niamh Bennett launched her sustainable fashion brand after being made redundant due to the pandemic. With an aim of doing fashion differently, TAMS products range from organic cotton t-shirts, hoodies to beanies. The products are Fair Wear accredited and PETA vegan approved.
8. Beechfield Flower Farm
Located in Magherafelt, County Derry/ Londonderry, this farm grows a selection of seasonal and scented flowers with the aim to encourage the promotion of locally grown flowers in a sustainable environment of the highest quality. From hand-tied bouquets to jam jar posies, this business offers a beautiful range of flowers that are the perfect gift to a friend, loved one, and the earth!
These are just some of the local businesses doing great things for others and the planet. All companies listed here contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a consumer, you have the power to do your bit towards a cleaner, greener and fairer world as well. Check out this link to the UN’s Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World. Hopefully it has given you some ideas of how you can make the swap to supporting more sustainability focused products and services in 2022.
If you are a local business or you would just like to know more about how to embed sustainability into your everyday practices, please contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Dr Lynsey Hollywood, Ulster University Food and Drink Business Development Centre Manager, and Robyn Simpson, Sustainability Engagement and Communications Assistant (Placement Student) at Ulster University Business School.