Celebrating great New Zealanders doing extraordinary things.

BLAKE Awards Dinner Event

10 November 2022


Nominations for 2023 awards will open here in mid-April

BLAKE Awards

The annual BLAKE Awards recognise and celebrate people whose leadership has delivered high impact results and contributed to a more sustainable future for Aotearoa – either socially, culturally, environmentally or economically.

Each year we look to celebrate up to seven extraordinary New Zealanders who have created positive impact from all areas of New Zealand society – this includes six BLAKE Leader Awards and one BLAKE Medallist.

Nominations for the 2023 BLAKE Leader Awards will open in mid-April 2023

There are four leadership award categories:

  • BLAKE Award (4)
  • BLAKE Award – Rangatahi (1)
  • BLAKE Award – Kaitiaki o te Taiao / Environment (1)
  • BLAKE Medal (1)

BLAKE Award: This award recognises and celebrates people whose leadership has delivered high impact results and contributed to a more sustainable future for New Zealand. This includes leadership creating impact across any social, cultural, environmental or economic areas of New Zealand society. Up to four BLAKE Awards in this category are presented annually.

BLAKE Award – Kaitiaki o te Taiao: Sponsored by NIWA, this award recognises and celebrates a person whose leadership has delivered high impact results with a significant emphasis on environmental sustainability. This can include fields such as science, education, communication, or general environmental leadership.

BLAKE Award – Rangatahi: Sponsored by Westpac, this award recognises and celebrates one young person annually aged 13-20 whose leadership creates an impact on a sustainable future for New Zealand. This includes leadership creating impact across any social, cultural, environmental or economic areas of New Zealand society. This award may relate specifically to a project.

BLAKE Medal: The BLAKE Medal recognises and celebrates one person each year whose leadership has helped create a more sustainable future for New Zealand and/or globally, usually over an extended period of time. This includes leadership creating impact across any social, cultural, environmental or economic area of society. One BLAKE Medal is awarded annually.

For more information email Courtney Davies at [email protected] or phone (09) 307 8875.

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Meet our 2021/22 BLAKE Awards recipients:

BLAKE Medallist 2022

Every year in this country, a national cervical screening programme saves the lives of at least 100 women. That programme exists partly because of the work of Professor Sir David Skegg, a man who has dedicated his life to fighting cancer and other debilitating diseases. Sir David is a world-renowned leader, academic, health advisor and […]

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New Zealanders love fantails, and 99 per cent of a fantail’s diet is insects.

Fantails follow us as we go hiking through the forest, snapping away at all the invertebrate protein we’ve stirred up from the branches and soil. What few of us realise, however, is that fantails are descended from Tyrannosaurus Rex – and there’s no telling what might happen when fantails go bad.

This is the type of story that Ruud Kleinpaste loves to tell. And it’s a great example of the humorous and evocative way he helps people understand the importance of insects to the grand scheme of nature.

This is Ruud’s biggest mission in life – to ensure that insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies get the love, affection and understanding they deserve.

“They’re part of the ecological system,” Ruud says.

“They’re right at the bottom, perhaps, but they feed everything above it. If we lose them, everything above it will be compromised as well.”

Ruud migrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand in 1978, bringing with him a Master’s degree in animal ecology, conservation and silviculture, which is the science of maintaining the health of forests and woodlands.

It wasn’t long before Ruud was studying kiwi in Waitangi Forest and working as an entomologist with the Ministry of Agriculture. Then he moved into the world of media as New Zealand’s best-known bugman.

His television appearances have been many and varied over the past 35 years, with highlights including Maggie’s Garden Show, the children’s programme What Now? and various series for Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.

He has also written several books, and is a regular magazine columnist on ecology, bugs and gardening.

Ruud describes himself as a nature-nerd. His leadership style is to engage people’s curiosity and fascination with our ecosystems, rather than to admonish decision-makers.

The first chief executive of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, Professor Mark Orams, says Ruud is “utterly and completely committed” to helping improve our environment.

“The vast majority of Ruud’s contributions are not remunerated and he gives freely of his time and expertise,” Mark says.

“Children respond to his antics with weta and other important invertebrates with delight and enthusiasm. They are never the same again!”

“What Ruud creates is an indelible memory which frequently ‘plants the seed’ of a passion for nature which becomes a catalyst for future action.”

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Ruud has inspired thousands of New Zealanders – especially young people – to improve the natural ecosystems in their communities.

Away from the media spotlight, Ruud is a highly respected academic and tireless leader in the world of conservation.

In 2008, Waikato University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate and, in 2009, his alma mater university in the Netherlands awarded him the prestigious prize of Outstanding Alumnus. He went on to receive the MNZM in 2018.

Ruud is also a trustee of Save the Kiwi and  until recently, Project Crimson. Other involvements include the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Kids Restore New Zealand, the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, the National Wetland Trust, Trees for Survival, the Southland Community Environment Trust, Wingspan (Birds of Prey Trust) and the Mazda Foundation.

There’s little doubt that Ruud’s greatest contribution to conservation is through his efforts to inform and educate.

Ruud is championing biodiversity, biosecurity and environmental education projects from Fiordland to the Bay of Islands, engaging whole communities in citizen science.

And it’s all because of his passion for insects.

“Insects literally run this planet,” he says.

Insects really are the key element to study when it comes to all the problems we face on the planet – from climate change to biodiversity loss to… you name it!”

“And because invertebrates have  been around for so long, they can provide us with  quite a few answers that might help us to solve those problems.”

One of Ruud’s greatest inspirations for spreading the environmental message was Sir Peter Blake himself.

“He was the first one to do teaching on a grand scale,” Ruud says. “That gave me the inspiration to do what I’m doing now, because it made total sense. It’s important and I love him for that.”

“If we are serious about improving the health of our environment we need to learn how to live on this planet”. Ruud believes we must build a society in which people are nature-literate. This means helping people to grow and maintain their connection with nature, which leads to understanding how nature works, and how cleverly nature sustains this planet.

The key to achieving this is to encourage teachers and students to find the entire curriculum outside.

“The more teachers that can do that, the more we can reconnect our whole next generation back to nature.

“If we can get Nature-Literacy into the next  generation of New Zealanders, of Australians, of the people in the Netherlands, in Russia, everywhere on the planet, then we can actually live on this planet really well.”

“With a bit of luck, we might actually become a welcome species again, in the eyes of the organisms we share this planet with”

“That is what we need to achieve, and that’s what needs to happen in the next 10 years.”

By the time she was 12, Georgia Latu was already someone who enjoyed making gifts for her friends and whānau.

So when she found herself facing the challenge of getting to a wānanga in the North island, it was natural to put those skills towards a fundraising effort.

Within three days, she’d raised $1000. She was shocked by her success – but it was just the beginning.

“My auntie said, ‘We’re having a 48-hour boot camp for start-up businesses, so why don’t you guys come?’

“And at that time, we thought this was just a hobby, just a fundraiser. We went there and won people’s choice awards and thought, ‘This is much bigger’.”

Latu and her whānau were soon hard at work in their lounge, making poi.

Right from the start, Latu was committed to an environmentally friendly approach. She and her mother, Anna, would comb the local op-shops looking for clothes and other cheap materials they could recycle into taonga. They also gathered wool or fabric waste from people in their community.

Within a short time she had added jewellery, prints and clothes to her line of poi – all while sharing the mātauranga Māori – or Māori knowledge – which has fascinated her since childhood.

This fascination with her heritage sparked another project during lockdown – writing a book.

“We have just published a brand new book talking about whakapapa of poi, because we do know there’s a big knowledge gap, that people know what poi are but they don’t know where they came from.”

Latu named her main business Pōtiki Poi after her ancestor Tahu Pōtiki, who led her people to the South Island, and after Api, her little brother. Pōtiki means ‘youngest brother’ in te reo Māori.

Latu’s business ventures have been daunting and difficult, but the rewards are many.

“The biggest challenge for me is being young and a Māori wāhine.

“It’s quite hard for me to venture out into this business world, which not many young people are doing at the moment. But one of the highlights coming from the challenges is being able to find those people making a difference.

“I won a GirlBoss of New Zealand award 2019, and that was an eye-opener seeing other young wāhine making a change in our community and doing awesome things, and I thought, ‘How lucky am I to be amongst this change and making Aotearoa a better place’.”

Latu credits her whānau with helping her to overcome her challenges.

Her whānau is also an inspiration – especially Api, who was born with trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome. He is part of the reason for her commitment to employing people with a diverse range of abilities and making sure they are fairly rewarded for their efforts.

“I’m not on this waka alone – I’m on it with my people, so I’m encouraging everybody to get on this waka to make a change.

“I know that without my mum and dad, I wouldn’t be here, without my nannies and uncles helping to start the business – at the start it was quite tough in the lounge.

“We needed to give back to the community, and in that way we were actually creating change, and getting people employed – living wage, not minimum wage – and getting everyone involved.”

Three years after founding her business, it has grown into a successful enterprise and Latu is considering her next steps. With the support of whānau, she is expanding into the field of education.

It’s a natural progression for a young woman whose mother is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago. Latu herself is a student at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Ōtepoti in Dunedin and has hosted workshops on the whakapapa of poi.

Today Georgia has opened Kura Poi – a contemporary poi dance academy, a school of arts, teaching how to use our poi. She has also established some really large contracts, now stocking her poi in over 30 Countdown stores across the motu. Her most recent contract has seen make over 30000 poi for the Womens Rugby World Cup in just 3 months.

“We want to make sure our taonga don’t get lost, but we also need to contemporise how we use it. We have poi and we’re revitalising them for everyone.”

Looking further ahead – maybe 10 years from now – Latu sees herself becoming even more involved with revitalising her culture and preserving Māori taonga, perhaps in the field of tā moko.

“Ever since I was a little girl in kohanga, I’ve always loved everything Māori – arts, weaving, mahi toi, anything Māori I was drawn to.

“I see myself revitalising and being a tā moko artist.

“Now that I’m older I realise that’s a huge pool of knowledge that not many people know or tap into, so I want to make sure that doesn’t die like a moa – that it will be revitalised to its fullest potential.”

You might have seen video footage of Carlos Hotene, swerving and jinking past would-be tacklers on rugby league fields both here and overseas.

But you probably haven’t seen the quiet mahi he puts in at home, building a sustainable future for his marae and feeding the people of Mangere.

From a young age, Carlos dreamed of growing up to be a professional sportsman. He achieved that goal, working his way through the ranks of rugby league until he earned a two-year contract with the Cronulla Sharks in Sydney.

Eventually, it was time to come home.

“I thought I was coming back to nothing,” says Carlos.

“But I came back to 2.4 acres of māra kai and food sustainability – and from there, really, it’s been all about nutrition.”

The centre of Carlos’s new life is Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Māngere.

The marae pursues resilience and sustainability in all sorts of ways. The marae’s gardens produce enormous quantities of kai. Water tanks have been installed. Solar panels are planned.

Carlos describes the outside world as “ordinary” and the inside world – the world of the marae – as “extraordinary”.

Far from ordinary is Carlos’s own role in the Kai Ika Project, a mission to reduce his community’s visits to fast-food chains.

He has worked relentlessly towards this goal by personally planting over 80,000 kumara in the marae’s gardens, which have expanded in line with the increasing needs of the community.

Apart from kumara, the gardens also produce lettuce, kale, rocket, beans, chillies and herbs.

“Our process is around micro-greens, planting our seeds, building fertilisers,” says Carlos.

“We’re also picking up offcuts – fish waste – from our big fishing companies. We pick up the offcuts, we bring it back to the marae, we process them into our heads, wings, frames, and then we use the guts as a fertiliser.”

About half of the produce goes to churches, community groups, and the whanau of volunteers. Another 30 per cent goes to Ooooby (Out Of Our Own Back Yards), a social enterprise that supplies locally grown food to about 500 Aucklanders. The remaining 20 per cent is kept for seed.

According to the woman who nominated Carlos for the Blake Leader award, Zara Motutere of Te Puna, Carlos’s horticultural skills are as much figurative as they are literal.

“He plants values, grows confidence and harvests leaders,” she says.

“Carlos constantly demonstrates the characteristics of a great leader through his interactions, mahi and actions.

“He is a passionate, inspirational and driven. He is honest and open. He is kaupapa-driven, and he works hard to get the mahi done while encouraging, supporting and empowering the people he works with.”

Zara says that, in four years, Carlos personally made over 880 pickups, volunteered nearly 3000 hours of mahi and diverted over 125 tonnes of fish heads, frames and offal.

When it comes to food sustainability and waste reduction, Zara says, Carlos is not only a leader. He is also a speaker, a singer, a cook and a cleaner. In short, he works in multiple roles at all levels of the marae.

This will come as little surprise to people who know his whānau.

“My parents are a big inspiration,” says Carlos.

“My mum’s the manager here at the marae, Valerie Teraitua, and also my dad, Lionel Hotene, who’s our garden manager here.

“They’ve been here for about 11-12 years, off the smell of an oily rag, doing it from their hearts. Not expecting anything, and I guess that’s definitely rubbed off onto myself.”

Apart from his parents, Carlos is also inspired by other leaders at the marae – especially kaumātua and kuia. He finds that their mana rubs off onto himself and others, including those who are much younger.

“Our next generation are the ones that are going to be holding down the fort of this world, our planet here, looking after Mother Earth,” says Carlos.

For that reason alone, it’s “perfect that this marae is able to grow our own kai and get resources so that we’re able to feed and serve our community”.

Giving and volunteering do not pay well. However, they do bring their own rewards. Carlos has learned that blessings come from following his heart, from following his passion. His new life is one he enjoys much more than his old approach of working for money.

Every great leader must overcome challenges and, for Carlos Hotene, these can be surprisingly mundane.

“Weeding, bro,” he says.

“The challenges would probably just be weeding.”

And his future goals?

“I’m really keen to make an impact in my leadership and what I’m doing at the moment in terms of growing our next generation to be sustainable.

“It’s all from the heart,” says Carlos, “and I love it with a passion.”

He appears regularly in the media, commenting on how a blend of science and mātauranga Māori can help us overcome our most important ecological challenges.

It’s therefore no surprise that Dr Daniel Hikuroa has become world-renowned for the way he has successfully integrated Earth system science with mātauranga Māori –Māori knowledge, culture, values and worldview  – to help realise the dreams of the communities he works with.

Dan’s unique approach was born after he led an Antarctic geology mapping expedition for his PhD, and went on to investigate how the world’s oceans, plants and animals responded to climate change in the distant past.

As his knowledge and understanding grew, he increasingly found himself drawn to his Māori roots and to exploring the interface between mātauranga and science.

 He was especially drawn to Earth system science, a discipline which considers our world’s land, rocks, water, ice, plants and animals to be interconnected with each other. In a practical sense, it blends several fields of study to address big challenges such as sea level rise, climate change and sustainable sources of energy.

“I discovered that Earth system science was consistent with a Māori worldview,” Dan says.

“It was just a natural progression of trying to understand the world as a system as opposed to being discrete, disparate parts.”

Since embracing Earth system science, Dan has become especially well-known for his work on projects related to water, such as in the Hauraki Gulf, river restorations, and Te Awaroa, a collective action to care for waterways, and more recently Let the River Speak.

He has also worked on geothermal developments, hazard and vulnerability assessments, and industrial waste site rehabilitation.

His expertise has taken him to Te Wānanga o Waipapa in Waipapa Taumata Rau – the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies, University of Auckland – where he is a senior lecturer in Māori Studies. He teaches a course on tikanga, indigenous environmental politics, earth systems science, kaitiakitanga and contributing courses in natural hazards and disasters, as well as the Science Scholar programme in the Faculty of Science.

Over the years, Dan has accepted invitations to deliver over 130 plenary, keynote addresses, public speeches and research presentations for international, regional and local governments, hapu, iwi, science societies, NGO’s, community groups and – increasingly – schools.

This passion for sharing his knowledge is matched by the inspiration he draws from his colleagues.

“I’m really inspired by the way they listen to the Earth, the way they listen to Ranginui, the way they listen to Papatūānuku, and then are so generous in their time with sharing it with anyone who wants to learn – from the little kiddies right through to the kaumatua.”

One of Dan’s colleagues, Michael Steedman, describes him as an exceptional communicator and a leader in the national conversation about mātauranga and science.

“Dan weaves mātauranga Māori and science to help solve challenges and realise the dreams and aspirations of the predominantly Māori communities he works with,” says Michael.

“One of the key contributions he has made is shifting the way we think about sustainability.”

Michael says Dan’s reputation has been built on his service to his discipline, his culture, and his grounding in science.

The gifts that have been shared with Dan by Māori, non-Māori and indigenous groups around the world are drawn from the knowledge that they will be treated with respect, care and attention, says Michael.

In addition to his academic work, Dan co-leads an action programme to care for the Waimata waterways and serves numerous communities as a board member, representative and independent scientific advisor.

Increasingly, this work has achieved tangible results. Over 20 projects have been undertaken as part of his relationship with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei alone.

One project demonstrated that moorings in Okahu Bay were polluting the seabed with zinc, and these moorings have since been removed.

As a mātauranga and science advisor, Dan has also helped lead a range of projects to restore the mauri of the Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana / Te Moana a Toi.

A key aspect of Dan’s work with various groups and communities is the philosophy of ā-kanohi (face to face). He aims to be ‘super-passionate’ and principled in his work.

He is optimistic about the potential for Earth system science and mātauranga to help make our world a better place to live.

“One of my goals is to train the next generation of people who do this work,” he says. “I want them to be so good they boot me off and take over.”

He dreams that mātauranga Māori will one day be ubiquitous throughout New Zealand society, and that “Māori wherever they are will be able to express that in ways they choose to”.

For Earth system science, he sees a future in which a multi-disciplinary approach can shape our world for the better.

“For decades, scientists tried to understand the world within our disciplines,” he says.

“Now it’s time for us to see the world as an integrated living system – and in so doing we’ll be able to tackle some of these really challenging things that we face.”

Action and leadership are needed right now if we are to meet the challenges of climate change and build a sustainable future for our planet.

Wellington environment and climate scientist Dr Richard Levy is committed to helping us understanding global warming and lead the necessary changes.

Since his childhood days building machines from Meccano sets, Richard has been fascinated by systems. He has also thirsted for adventure and exploration.

It is therefore only natural that, decades later, he should find himself living in a tent on the ice sheets of Antarctica while leading a project to find out how climate change will cause the ice to melt and our sea levels to rise.

“Understanding the history of the planet on which we live has always fascinated me,” says Richard.

“Using fossils, using life forms that have evolved through time … it helps us to untangle that history – how it began, how it’s evolved to where we’re at now, and where we’re heading to in the future.”

Richard’s 23 years of scientific research includes more than a decade leading the Past Antarctic Climates and Future Implications programme.

As the name suggests, this work explores the distant past to help understand how warming temperatures will affect our planet in the near future. It has taught us that Antarctic ice sheets are even more dynamic and vulnerable than we previously believed.

Closer to home, Richard is also leading a project to learn how climate change and sea-level rise will affect different parts of New Zealand’s coastline.

This “super-exciting, but also quite concerning” project is geared towards practical solutions. Richard has personally connected with iwi, councils and many other people to help them understand the risks of sea-level rise and plan more resilient infrastructure.

“We’re just starting out on this journey, this adventure – working with key communities so local governments can better plan for the future,” he says.

The challenges of climate change are so great that they might seem insurmountable to many people. But Richard is optimistic about meeting these challenges and has been leading by example – he drives an electric car, for instance, and follows a vegetarian diet.

According to one of his colleagues, Professor Gary Wilson, this typifies Richard’s pragmatic style of leadership.

“Through Richard’s efforts, people are learning not only that this is important but also that they can act and make a difference,” says Gary.

“He knows that change will start at home, and he uses his own actions as talking points to engage others.”

Richard has been praised for the quality and breadth of his scientific work.

He has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles and is principal scientist at GNS Science, where he leads the environment and climate research theme.

He also leads the Antarctic Ice Dynamics Project, and is associate professor in the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington.

Richard considers education to be such a crucial part of the climate challenge that he has been been studying the psychology of educating people without creating fear.

The message is starting to get through, and more governments around the world are agreeing to cut the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere.

A certain amount of warming is inevitable, says Richard, but there is still time to keep this to manageable levels by focusing on mitigation and adaptation.

“I’m much more confident that we as humans are trying to get on top of this problem,” he says.

“We’ve acknowledged it at last – and we’re actually coming up with solutions.”

These include planning ahead for environmental changes and finding new technologies so we can switch to carbon-neutral energy sources without disrupting our lives too much.

“But, gosh, we’ve got so many things still to do and I’m getting older every second,” says Richard.

“There’s still so much to do in terms of how Antarctica, for example, will respond to climate change.”

To help aid this understanding, Richard is co-leading a project in Antarctica to drill through the Ross Ice Shelf into the sediment far below.

The aim is to dig up a record of previous times when the global climate was warmer, providing clues as to whether or not the western Antarctic ice sheet collapsed or remained intact.

Richard says this work has “massive consequences for future sea level projections”.

Just as importantly, Richard wants to keep improving ways to engage with the non-scientific community.

“People are wanting to know what they might expect in the future and we’ve got to do a much better job of translating scientific knowledge into a way that is accessible to all,” he says.

Richard wants people to have an even better understanding of science and the things they can do to reduce the impacts of our lifestyles on our planet’s systems.

This applies especially to youths, who he believes must safeguard their futures by holding to account politicians, business-people and scientists.

“People across the world are tackling the problems of climate change much more seriously,” says Richard.

“I’m hopeful we’ll continue doing that and actually get on top of this challenge.”

When Brianne West noticed how much plastic was sitting on her bathroom shelves, she decided to do something about it.

She set out to rid the world of wasteful beauty products.

It was 2012, and the Canterbury University student did not yet have enough cash to battle the cosmetics industry on a global scale.

But she did have gumption and she did have smarts – so she marched off to her kitchen and started working on a recipe for solid shampoo bars that had no need for bottles or plastic packaging.

That was the start of Ethique, a brand that has since grown to become a beauty industry leader for sustainability and ethical manufacturing. A brand that is now has dozens of product lines and is being sold in more than 20 countries.

“The cosmetics industry is pretty murky,” Brianne says. “It’s so far from a beautiful industry, ironically.

“I wanted to – to use an overused term – disrupt it. I wanted to create a brand that was completely waste free, from a product perspective, but also had clean supply chains, treated its teams well and just did everything as ethically as possible.”

Ethique’s products are made with biodegradable, palm oil-free, natural and sustainably-sourced ingredients.

But the brand is not just environmentally friendly – it’s also socially conscious.

Ethique pledges to source fair-trade ingredients, to pay employees a living wage, and to avoid cruelty to animals. It also donates a slice of its profits to charities that support animal rescue, community education and environmental conservation.

At the beginning, these initiatives were unusual – but they struck a chord with consumers. Ethique attracted the attention of big publications in the United States – and really took off when stars like Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears started name-dropping the brand on social media.

It turned out that Ethique was selling the right products, at the right time, to an untapped market.

“At the end of the day people will always make the ethical right choice if they are given it,” says Brianne.

“And it’s not about payoff. People don’t just buy environmentally friendly products if the product is rubbish. There are very few people who will buy something at the cost of its efficacy.”

Brianne’s team has not always been able to keep up with orders, and she has needed to raise extra capital through the crowdfunding platform PledgeMe.

She has also had to overcome some major challenges with product development and manufacturing.

“The biggest thing has been scaling a really niche product that didn’t exist beforehand and making it at such a scale that we now sell one Ethique product every 12 seconds globally,” Brianne says.

“It was very difficult – 18 months of chemists and engineers to figure out how we get this bar that started in my kitchen at home into a mass factory floor.”

Other challenges arise from New Zealand’s location at the end of some very long supply chains. But New Zealand is a brand in itself, and this creates opportunities.

“Obviously, we have a global reputation for being a kind, fair, environmentally friendly country, which is absolutely well deserved.

“But we are also one of the most isolated countries, so in terms of getting ingredients, or sourcing things that are pretty rare, or trying to develop new packaging or manufacturing techniques, it’s been a little bit harder than it would be in, say, America.

“But I think the benefits absolutely outweigh some of the harder stuff.”

Ethique’s success has helped spark a trend in the cosmetics industry towards sustainability. Some of this is ‘greenwashing’ – when businesses try to appear greener than they really are – but Brianne says consumers are driving positive change through their choices and many brands are genuinely trying to do the right thing.

The industry is providing more refillable bottles as well as ‘solid’ options like shampoo and conditioner bars which do away with the need to package fluids.

“Consumer demand is becoming quite intense,” Brianne says.

“If brands aren’t doing something better for the planet, then consumers are leaving them, so they don’t have much of a choice.”

Nine years after she started, Brianne is still looking to save the world.

Ethique claims to have prevented 13 million bottles from going to landfill, and is aiming for 500 million by 2030. Some ‘exciting new products’ will soon add to Ethique’s growing range of skincare, lip-care and hair-care products, including one which will push the brand into a new market segment.

Ethique is also working on some new charitable initiatives.

“We always donated 2 per cent of sales or 20 per cent of profit to charity since day one, and we’ll be expanding upon that now that we’re much bigger,” says Brianne.

“We’re also going to continue making as much headway as we can in terms of lessening carbon emissions and all those sorts of things that all businesses should be doing.”

Brianne wants Ethique to continue its intense growth and cement its position as a trusted global leader that other businesses look to for inspiration and for answers to their sustainability concerns.

Brianne has personal goals, as well – perhaps involving seaweed, which is a natural carbon sink.

“I’ve always been incredibly passionate about the environment, so I’ve always wanted to save the world, as trite as that sounds – and working and creating a business allows me to do that.”

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