Jessica Alba: ‘My children help me to focus on creating meaningful climate change’

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  • We caught up with the American actress on her latest collaboration, what motivates her to take climate action, and the small yet significant changes she's making day-to-day.

    Last month, Hyundai Motor and the UNDP Accelerator Labs launched a new campaign, for Tomorrow, fronted by American actress Jessica Alba.

    The campaign encourages living more sustainably and showcases some pretty transformational grassroots work – the alternatives are life-altering and eco-friendly, and show that  solutions to the climate crisis can be met – if only we’d all come together to build a better tomorrow.

    “I think we can all see that each of us can truly have an impact. Whether by sharing our own local solutions or simply connecting and supporting inspiring solutions. Again, there is no solution too small to have a positive impact.”

    “Change comes from all of us, together. It needs you to come to life,” Alba shares.

    That’s right – ditching fast fashion, tracking your carbon footprint or clueing yourself up on greenwashing all make a difference. Speaking exclusively to Marie Claire UK, Alba spoke about why she’s decided to start promoting climate action, her top tips for sustainable living, and the small changes that have made all the difference to her day-to-day.

    Jessica Alba: ‘My children help me to focus on creating change’

    A: Tell us why you’ve decided to get involved with Hyundai & the UNDP and promote climate action.

    J: For me, it’s all about supporting the global community. I love that this initiative is grounded in the idea that together as a global community we can truly tackle and work to solve arguably the most pressing issues that affect us all.

    A: Why is tackling climate change so important to you?

    J: Climate change is already having very observable and detrimental consequences on the environment.

    It’s our responsibility to leave the world in a better state than found it.

    Tackling climate change is one step towards achieving that goal.

    A: What motivates you to work towards a more sustainable planet?

    J: My three kids and all the future generations.

    A: What was the most powerful story you saw while producing this?

    J: As a female entrepreneur, I saw first-hand how challenging it is to get funding – and it is even more difficult for people of colour and small business owners.

    I was particularly inspired by the story in Nepal, focused on green mobility through micro-loans for female entrepreneurs. Safa Tempo electric buses, traditionally driven by women, help address the air pollution problem in Katmandu. Getting bank loans is almost impossible for these female micro-entrepreneurs. Because of this, they often have to use inferior batteries that need to be replaced more often, this leads to higher long-term cost and more waste.

    The story in Nepal focuses on Sonika and her partner Tiffany who created a microloan system to help these women reinvest in their buses. They are empowering women to have control over their finances as well as tackle the air pollution problem and are working towards making the whole country more climate resilient. It is truly an inspirational story.

    A: What’s the best change you’ve made personally to live more sustainably?

    J: I grew up with a consciousness around sustainability – values that my grandmother instilled in my parents and in me. Growing up in LA, we experienced droughts and fires, so it created an awareness from an early age.

    Reusing, recycling, upcycling, repurposing and thinking consciously about waste has been something that I’ve always been mindful of and has always been part of me and who I am.

    I think the biggest change I’ve made is deciding to create a different kind of business. The values I mentioned before were at the core of the idea behind The Honest Company. I was on a mission to create a business dedicated to inspiring everyone to love living consciously. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish up until today and know there is still work to be done.

    Finally, I’m really focused on instilling values in my children around repurposing, reusing and upcycling along with just being conscious about consumption and waste. That’s how I focus on creating change today.

    A: What are your top five small sustainable tricks, tips or swaps for our readers?

    J: Try to reduce single use products as much as possible. One of the easiest tips is to use reusable water bottles or coffee mugs for your drinks, whether they’re hot or cold.

    Also, opt for refillable cleaning products instead of single use. Reusable bottles mean less bottles heading to the landfill. Plus, by shipping the bottles empty, less energy is used to transport them. [Speaking about her own eco-cleaning company, The Honest Company] our all-in-one Clean Vibes Kit cleans + deodorises your home and comes with three empty spray bottles, three corresponding refills (two pods per refill), a reusable towel and a palo santo stick (for the good vibes). When you’re finished, add a new pod and keep the clean vibes going.

    Ditch single use beauty products. Instead use sustainable beauty products, like reusable cotton rounds and shampoo bars. I love Honest Beauty’s Reusable Silicone Sheet Mask.

    Shop local, reduce your carbon footprint by getting food at your local farmer’s market or using a food waste app.

    Finally, try and take a minute to consider your consumer habits and reflect on the purchases that might be considered wasteful. Whenever possible, opt for products mostly made from recycled materials.

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