The final session in our Zero in on Neutrality: the Full Story series featured people who live consciously for a discussion full of relatable narratives, to nudge you and our planet in the green direction!
As inhabitants of this planet, sustainability is for everyone. So, our fifth panel of the Zero in on Neutrality: the Full Story webinar series, featured 5 conscious consumers to share their stories. The panelists were Garik Himebaugh of Eco-Stylist, Iris Skrami of Renoon, Lindura of Plasticfree Toronto and Myriam Laroche, an apparel and sustainability consultant. The session was moderated by Derek Sabori, a sustainability advisor, educator and entrepreneur.
Where do you start?
Your sustainability journey must start somewhere, typically with a trigger point. For Myriam, it was during her time as a buyer when she realized that she needed a greater purpose. Her aha moment took place while “negotiating 50 cents on an 8-dollar tank top. [She] stopped and asked herself ‘why?’” From there she set off to Canada’s west coast and to start her eco-fashion advocacy and career.
For both Lindura and Garik, documentaries played their parts. Lindura found herself “watching the documentary The Plastic Ocean one night, on a whim.” She quickly realized “how something so trivial could have such a large impact.” So her sister and she tried out a plastic free month and never turned back. Garik spent his post university years travelling through national parks, enamored by the biodiversity and motivated to preserve it. While our panelists’ watershed moments varied, the change in behavior and mindset started with a realization and motivation to have a positive impact.
Tools to help make the change
Once you have realized the part you want to play, it’s important to remain educated and equipped to make better choices. When Garik “became aware of sustainable clothing, it was hard and took time to find brands [he] trusts.” Through Eco-Stylist, Garik hopes to provide consumers with the clarity they need to make green purchases by partnering with Remake to “provide a consistent metric for sustainability.” Iris founded Renoon after realizing “we’re so used to having everything at our fingertips. Sustainability needs to be the same. We need to have ways to find everything at once.” In order to make better choices, consumers need to have tools readily available to them, especially in an industry inundated with greenwashing.
Iris looked for tools to have a positive impact in her personal life too. She turned to carbon offsetting. “Although it’s not the final solution, it’s something you can start doing paired with better consumption,” she shared. It definitely is a great place to start for people new to the green lifestyle but also an added bonus for those already leading sustainable lifestyles.
Embracing the grey areas
Our panelists agreed that there is no right or wrong when it comes to sustainability. It’s about “doing what we do better,” as Iris put it. Lindura reminded us that “we are all humans. Even brands, governments and organization are not entities, they are still humans.” Every human needs to shift their mindset towards eco-friendly choices, in their own way and start somewhere.
Myriam shared her cardinal rule for living sustainably: reusing. She views it as “a re-use spectrum,” acknowledging that it takes different shapes for everyone and that’s completely acceptable. For some it may manifest as “repairing their own clothes, buying second hand, renting clothes, or even donating them.” Derek shared that “the first thing we need to remind ourselves is that there is no silver bullet. There is so much to consider and it’s really complex.”
The reality is that sustainability is not perfect, and “there is no absolute better,” as Iris pointed out. It’s about shifting your mindset, finding what works for you and embracing the grey areas. We must start somewhere instead of getting overwhelmed by the infinite shapes sustainability can take.
Co-Founder & CEO, Renoon
Iris is the co-founder of Renoon, the search platform that helps consumers access sustainable clothing from multiple websites at once. She started her career in innovation and FashionTech at NIKE and PVH.
Eco-Stylist is the trusted go-to source for stylish and sustainable men’s clothes. Garik’s journey led him from peace worker, to MBA student, to creating a sustainable fashion marketplace for men.
Apparel and Sustainability Consultant
Expert in sustainable fashion and textile circularity, Myriam devotes herself to the sustainable development of methods and strategies for the design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and reusing of clothing.
Co-Founder, Plasticfree Toronto
As a social media influencer, Lindura works diligently to represent sustainable brands, and showcase local entrepreneurs who are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and empower their communities.
Sustainability Advisor, Educator & Entrepreneur
An apparel industry veteran, consultant and entrepreneur, Derek helps brands and individuals tackle that very word on their journey to balance the responsibilities they have to people, planet and profit.