Lip balms by one of Germany's most popular eco-beauty brands, Weleda.

GREEN MACHINES: A host of European fashion, textile, accessories and beauty brands walked away with accolades for their sustainability efforts at the inaugural Positive Luxury Awards, which took place in London this week. Selfridges, Weleda, Nadja Swarovski and Carole Bamford were among the winners, with Bamford accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Positive Luxury described the awards as a “global celebration of sustainability and innovation within the luxury industry” and said it wanted to recognize companies or individuals that are working towards positive change.

Founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneurs Diana Verde Nieto and Karen Hanton, Positive Luxury created the Butterfly Mark, which brands can earn by building sustainability into their business strategies; promoting transparency and helping consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Candiani SpA won Innovation of the Year for its Coreva technology, used by designers including Stella McCartney. “The denim industry needs to make significant changes in the very short term, and we are fully committed to lead this change, starting with our R&D,” said the founder Alberto Candiani.

Verde Nieto said Candiani’s “ground-breaking plant-based elastomer epitomises the moves we like to see a brand making.” For pre-fall 2020, Stella McCartney worked with Coreva fabric for her stretch denim made with mushroom and seaweed dyes.

Swarovski won as Business Leader of the Year, with Alyssa Auberger, global chair of Baker McKenzie’s CG&R Group, describing her as “committed to understanding and responding to sustainability issues across its value chain.” Selfridges won for Retailer of the Year, for “beating their 2020 carbon reduction target, phasing out exotic skins and continuing their work to become plastic-free,” Verde Nieto said.

Verde Nieto described Bamford as “a champion of sustainable and mindful living for more than 40 years, a visionary in organic farming, and a promoter of natural beauty, as well as sustainably produced luxury garments that highlight skilled artisanal work.”

Weleda, which will mark its 100-year anniversary in 2021, won the Better World Initiative award for its efforts to achieve UEBT (Union for Ethical BioTrade) certification for its sourcing.

“Today, this is super important because many businesses place profit before the needs of people and planet. We hope many more brands will join us, to make this the future standard for all beauty products,” said the company, which sustainably sources all of its cosmetic ingredients and traces all of its 1,200 supply chains.

Watchmaker Linde Werdelin, one of the first brands to launch an in-house platform for the pre-owned watches, and which works with recyclable and reusable materials, was named Circular Economy Pioneer of the Year.

 Over the last few years we have moved toward a more sustainable and circular model of operating, both in terms of our direct sales approach and our in-house resale service, the first of its kind in the industry,” said Jorn Werdelin. ​

“​I have personally found it a long and challenging process and very much a mind-set, where practically every decision taken needs to include that view. We anticipate our efforts will be further strengthened through the membership and support of this like-minded community.”

Stay Wild Swim, which uses regenerated ocean plastic to create swimwear, and then packages it without plastic, was the Breakthrough Brand of the Year. We make every decision with ethics and sustainability and the heart, this often means going down a slower less traditional route. It shows the industry is moving in the right direction,” said founder Natalie Glaze.

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