Here’s what happened at Marie Claire’s Sustainability Festival plus everything you need to #StartSomewhere

From practical takeaways to inspiring quotes, here's everything to know...

Marie Claire UK launched its first ever Sustainability Festival, taking place virtually on Saturday 27 March.

The event was in partnership with Vanish, who have collaborated with the British Fashion Council to challenge our throw-away culture. In a bid to create a more circular fashion industry, Vanish are raising awareness and empowering consumers to adopt more sustainable fashion choices by championing the re-purpose, re-wear and recycle message.

Hosted by the Marie Claire team, the festival encouraged viewers to #startsomewhere, featuring leading voices and brands within the global sustainability movement.

Its aim? To share insights and advice on how we can live all aspects of our lives more sustainably, kickstarting a month of Marie Claire content dedicated to sustainable living.

‘Sustainability is a topic we’ve always been passionate about over at Marie Claire – we were the first women’s magazine brand to talk about global warming and sustainable fashion back in 1988,’ announced MC‘s Editor in Chief Andrea Thompson as she opened the Sustainability Festival. ‘We’ve been championing environmental issues for over 30 years.’

‘Small collective actions can become very powerful global movements,’ added Marie Claire’s Chief Purpose & Sustainability Advisor Sara Vaughan, before quoting David Attenborough:

‘We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we’re doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth now depends on us.’

‘Our aim of today is not to frighten you,’ Sara continued. ‘Our aim to harness our collective power and to inspire you to start somewhere.’

The jam-packed festival programme saw MC Editors join leading figures, tuning in from their sitting rooms, kitchens and bathrooms to hold insightful panel discussions and fun breakout sessions over the course of the day.

From fashion and beauty, to work, interiors and food, our bitesize sessions broke down the small changes we can make to our routines to lessen our carbon footprint, and how we can all #startsomewhere to create lasting behavioural change that will positively impact our planet.

‘No single one of us is going to solve this huge situation,’ model and activist Lily Cole explained in her keynote speech. ‘But what we can do is look at our hemisphere and make active choices on an individual level one step at a time.

‘For me, a huge part of the solution that we have available to us as a species is our ability to learn from and listen to younger generations,’ she continued. ‘To try and see the world the way that they see the world because they’re in many ways less contaminated by old ways of thinking and being.’

‘It’s our only home. It’s the rug underneath every other issue that we have to deal with.’
Lily Cole, Actress, model and activist

With all the festival sessions now available to watch on-demand, here’s what happened on the day…

Following Lily Cole’s inspiring keynote speech came panel discussions in partnership with Vanish and Garnier. Marie Claire’s Chief Purpose & Sustainability Advisor Sara Vaughan sat down with a powerhouse panel to talk about the future of fashion, while MC’s Beauty and Style Director, Lisa Oxenham, spoke to leading voices about the part we can all play in the beauty sustainability movement.

‘Think before you buy, think about how you wear, think about how you use and how you get rid of clothing – all of those things acting together will have a huge impact.’
Gail Gallie, Co-Founder Project Everyone

The festival’s career panel looked at how we can all be our own sustainable champion at work, with MC’s Digital Editor Holly Rains quizzing Joanna Abeyie MBE, Michelle Feeney and Ele Ward on creating eco-conscious businesses from the ground up and practical tips on how to make a difference in the workplace.

‘It’s important to ask businesses: do you have a commitment to making a meaningful social impact?’
Joanna Abeyie MBE

Our afternoon breakout sessions provided plenty of hands-on advice. Sew Yeah maker Christine Leech and writer Hannah Rochell talked shopping sustainably and up-cycling our wardrobes, with a visible-mending workshop.

Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot and chef Bettina Campolucci Bordi, from Bettina’s Kitchen, made plant-based fritters in a zero-waste cooking session, while discussing ways to reduce our food waste. And MC’s Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas joined Creative Director and podcast host Estée Lalonde as they unpicked what’s really in their bathroom and gave practical tips to take that #onegreenstep and cut down on bathroom plastic usage.

‘Think about slowing down, finishing products and assessing how you move forward with your next purchase.’
Jasmine Hemsley, Author and Wellbeing Expert

Interiors-wise, our Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor Ally Head led a stellar panel of home experts in how to make our homes more planet-friendly, in partnership with Gumtree. We’re talking Interior Designer Kate Seidler, Rob Green, Founder of COAT Paint and Designer Barbeline in the panel of dreams.

‘Slow down, take your time and ask yourself – do I really need it? Is this a piece I’m going to love in years to come?’
Katie Seidler, Interior Designer

And drawing the day to a close, EIC Andrea Thompson sat down with One Young World Managing Director and author of How to Make a Difference, Ella McKay Robertson, to discuss how we can all become change makers. Featuring stories from some of One Young World’s most inspiring ambassadors, they talked using social media effectively, the does and don’ts of protesting and how to fix something that isn’t right.

We all have a part to play and by making minor individual changes, we can collectively make a monumental difference.

As Sara Vaughan reminded viewers in her speech this weekend, ‘We are each more powerful than we can imagine.’

Who were our sponsors?

Playing a huge part in the day were of course our sponsors, Vanish and Garnier.

Also playing an important role were our partners for the day. We partnered with Hellmann’s and The Felix Project for our zero waste cooking session, Gumtree sponsored our Interiors panel on making our homes more planet-friendly and One Young World,who took part in our closing session focusing on how we can all become local change makers.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Sustainability Festival, and to those who missed it, it’s not too late! All the sessions are available to watch on-demand.

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