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In 2019, sustainability grew from a buzzword to a full-blown movement, with companies and individuals all over the globe striving to create a sustainable future.
Not only is it a worthy and necessary goal, but it's something we should all actively be contemplating — whether it's as small as choosing to purchase that business function outfit from a sustainable label, or choosing a not-for-profit credit unions over a bank, especially one committed to donating back to community programs like CUA.
Already some people are making huge strides in the area, with these four Australian women going the extra mile to craft their companies' missions around embodying sustainability.
1. Tara Bennet, owner and founder of The Provider store
For those unfamiliar with The Provider Store, Tara Bennet's brainchild focuses on the concept of 'slow living', which is exemplified by creating sustainable tools with a purpose.
Influenced heavily by Japanese culture, Bennet's store offers daily tools including cutlery, homewares, frames, ceramics and more, all created with sustainability in mind.
A large portion of the products available on the website are handmade by Bennet, with the others created by collaborators around the world.
Her brand is all about making smart purchases and really identifying not only the need you have before purchasing, but also the source and impact of each product.
Given the amount of waste created by the impulse purchase trend, it's a sustainable goal that's achievable for everyone — including by Bennet herself.
2. Ronni Kahn, founder/CEO of OzHarvest
Ronni Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004, in an attempt to reduce the amount of food wastage that ran rampant in Australia. Since then, Kahn and OzHarvest have grown exponentially and become a gamechanger in the shrinking world of food waste.
According to their website, on average OzHarvest has rescued "over 180 tonnes of food each week from over 3,500 food donors including supermarkets, hotels, airports, wholesalers, farmers, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms."
But not only does OzHarvest deliver excess food from commercial outlets direct to over 1300 charities across Australia, but it also opened Australia's first rescued food supermarket.
With Kahn at the helm, OzHarvest has also branched out into the education sector, and has taught countless Australians to pay more attention to their food wastage.
3. Abigail Forsyth, founder of KeepCup
If there's one market-cornering product that has entered common vernacular, it's the KeepCup. In the same way as Kleenex for tissues, the name has become nearly synonymous with reusable coffee cups around Australia.
And you can thank co-founder Abigail Forsyth for that. Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, the KeepCup has certainly made huge strides in championing the anti-single-use movement.
In an interview earlier this year, Forsyth told Business Insider Australia that “The sincerity of our mission I think is what compels people.”
“Everything we do as a business backs up what we’re trying to do in the larger world. We’re trying to get rid of disposables, we reduce single use waste, [we] get rid of disposable cups and everything we do as a business supports that. So I think it’s that. It’s the authenticity.”
4. Kristy Chong, founder of Modibodi
Perhaps unconventional, Modibodi is a company striving to tackle sustainability in an entirely different sector: feminine sanitary equipment and underwear.
Instead of single-use personal hygiene products, Modibodi products are designed with anti-microbial, stain resistant fabrics to create multi-use period underwear.
Founder Kristy Chong is a vocal advocate for turning 'unmentionables' into mentionables, breaking taboos around feminine hygiene and making sure that sustainability is at the forefront of development.
Having worked in PR for years prior to the development process of Modibodi, Chong developed an acute understanding of how products like this can empower women across the country.
Now, Modibodi produces "a reusable, sustainable range of tops, singlets, period and sweat-proof undies as well as swimwear, created to liberate us all from endless amounts of landfill".
Ultimately, it's important to note that sustainability is an ongoing effort. Every little bit helps, whether it's the underwear you use or where you put your leftover food. It can even be as simple as making sure the companies you use support sustainable efforts.
If you choose to bank with Credit Union Australia (CUA), for example, you'll feel good knowing that they donate 3 per cent of pre-tax profits back into communities, and you can chat to a Personal Banker via their IM CUA chat when it suits you if you have any questions.