Hi, Diana! Please, can you introduce yourself and what goes on at Positive Luxury?
I’m the co-founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, a company that showcases the luxury lifestyle brands who are working hard to protect people and our planet.
We do this by awarding brands our coveted Butterfly Mark – a unique interactive trust mark that helps consumers instantly recognise the brands they can trust, and in turn encourage them to make better choices.
When did you first have the idea for a trust symbol ensuring a form of quality and ethical control over brands for their consumers?
Sustainability is a very complex topic, and often has negative associations – I wanted to turn this on its head.
My aim is to make sustainability cool, stylish and accessible to anyone. I believe that people inherently care about our planet, but often don’t know what is the best choice. So, we do the hard work to make it easier for the consumer, our Butterfly Mark shows the consumers the brands that are having a positive impact.
Please take us through the assessment process a brand has to go through to be awarded the Butterfly Mark?
Before being awarded the Butterfly Mark, all companies go through a stringent assessment process that looks at sustainability holistically, beyond solely focusing on the supply chain. The application is devised with the help of our sustainability council of experts and evaluates companies across five areas; governance, social framework, environmental framework, philanthropy and innovation.
Brands must respond positively to a minimum of 80% of the questions, along with providing supporting documents to become a Positive Luxury brand. If they don’t reach the requirements we will then work with them on the areas they need to improve before awarding them the Butterfly Mark.
Every year, the application is updated and the brands must reapply to ensure there is constant improvement.
Could you tell us about the three pillars involved in sustainable development?
The three pillars of sustainable development are economic development, social equity and environmental protection, and have become universally recognised and accepted by governments, businesses and civil society over the past twenty years. Sometimes known as the triple bottom line, these three pillars are not exclusive of each other and must be developed in tandem.
What’s your ambition over the next few years for Positive Luxury?
Our plan involves rolling out Positive Luxury globally and make the Butterfly Mark a globally recognised trust mark that is associated with brands that care about people and the planet.
What more can be done to raise awareness of brands not following ethical guidelines?
Personally, my outlook is that we should be celebrating the brands that are doing good, rather than criticising the brands that are not up to scratch. No brand is perfect, and many are in their infancy when it comes to social and environmental sustainability – sometimes because of the size, sometimes because of the complexity of their supply chains. But the reality is that in today’s world when people can find anything and anywhere at a click, it’s pretty foolish to believe that brands can afford not to care.
The Butterfly Symbol
Could you tell us the story of why you chose to use a butterfly as the symbol?
Back in 2010 I presented Sir David Attenborough with a Lifetime Achievement Award and had the pleasure to sit right next to him, where I had the opportunity to show off my knowledge about the natural world (foolishly). As part of my education, I learned the story of the Large British Blue Butterfly, which inspired me to choose the butterfly as a symbol for Positive Luxury.
The Large Blue Butterfly was brought back from extinction in Britain thanks to the dedication of many organisations and individuals. In fact, it’s been the most successful insect reintroduction to date. I was inspired by this story as it affirmed by belief that if we put our minds together we can reverse the negative impact we are having on our planet, turning this into a positive effect.
What were you doing before launching Positive Luxury?
You could say that I am a serial entrepreneur as before starting Positive Luxury I had recently stepped down as CEO of Clownfish, a business that I founded in 2002, the first international sustainable communications consultancy out of the UK.
Have you always been passionate about the environment and ethical living?
My passion has always been human rights as I was born under a dictatorship. When I came to my adopted home of Britain I discovered that I could marry my passion for business and ethics in one single degree. And I went for it.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Yes, I started my first business at the age of eight, selling my grandmother’s jewellery in the playground. What I know now is that you must not start a business on an unethical ground, as you can get in a lot of trouble!
What is the best piece of career advice that you have been given that you can pass on to our readers?
Never ever, ever give up the fight for what you believe in.