This year, Tops Day Nurseries introduced a brand new sustainability category to the Dorset Venus Awards. As part of the application process, Tops Day Nurseries have been interviewing our 5 semi-finalists and would like to share their incredible stories with you!
Next, we have Kelly Levell of We Do Ethical. Kelly Levell runs a successful sustainability consultancy, as well as We Do Ethical’s Not-For-Profit organisation. Kelly founded We Do Ethical in 2009 during her second year of study at university. It started with a project that aired on ITV News called “What Is Fast Fashion?” to raise awareness of how and where clothing is made.
With the knowledge that fashion is the second largest polluting industry on earth, Kelly looked for ways to create fashion without harming people and planet… upcycling and recycling clothing. This was the start of Kelly’s journey to live life sustainably but also in style. Kelly started sharing her tips and the products from brands that she loved, to help spread the message of buying better to create her vision for a more eco-friendly and socially responsible future.
The purpose of We Do Ethical is to encourage people and businesses to be the change, towards using eco-friendlier and more socially responsible products and services. Kelly finds creative and economical solutions to get clients sustainability on target. Through procurement and corporate social responsibility, solutions are often community beneficial making great stories to share. She qualifies any potential clients during an initial free phone consultation to understand the client’s needs, from clothing to furniture Kelly will source new, sustainable suppliers. All products recommended to clients by Kelly hold recognised accreditations such as Organic Soil Association, Fairware, Fairtrade and ISO standards. Kelly researches the factories in which products are made, one factory in particular featured on a recent documentary in which the dyed water by-products were re-filtered to drinking level standard.
She role models sustainability through her own actions, by taking part in kilo swaps, visiting charity shops and even mentioned she hasn’t done a ‘normal’ high street shop in over 7 years!
Love Dorset is an interactive festival Kelly has recently set up, which takes place during Fairtrade Fortnight. When Kelly discovered there were ten Fairtrade towns in Dorset, she knew that this was something worth celebrating! The two-week calendar of events lists fair-trade and other eco-friendly events and activities from film screenings to pop-up shops for the local people and businesses within the community to get involved in.
As part of the We Do Ethical Not for Profit organisation, Kelly runs the Miss Dorset Contest to find a local brand ambassador and has introduced award rounds like Miss Fairtrade, Miss Natural Beauty and Miss Ethical Vision into the regional heat for Miss England. Contestants are quizzed and judged on their skills to win a place at the national finals, which is England’s only official entry to Miss World, with a top prize of 100k. Kelly is passionate about changing the public’s perception of the contest, because it’s about much more than skin deep beauty. Judging the Miss Eco award at Miss England has been a highlight of the past five years for Kelly to find a national brand ambassador. The prize for winning the Miss Eco title is an incredible eco trip to India and a hamper of eco products, worth over 1k.
There are four programmes within the nfp organisation:
We care – This category focusses on waste reduction and caring for the environment. Kelly has partnered with organisations such as Bournemouth University, for the Big Give campaign; where she has rescued unwanted clothes left at the end of the term from going to landfill. The Miss Dorset contestants for 2018 collected over 3 tonnes of unwanted clothing where offcuts will be used for a special reason. Kelly plans to hold empowering workshops for women to create re-usable sanitary products for woman. After trialling this locally, Kelly is hoping to branch out into Kenya and Gambia to hold the same workshops for Kenyan girls and woman who may not have as much access to sanitary products. This will help them to get an education by not missing school days at their time of the month.
We nurture – This project is about education. Kelly mentors 500 students between the ages of 16-19 at the University of West England during her pop up workshops. The purpose of this is to get young people thinking creatively about how they can become sustainable. These workshops also feature at local to Dorset events, schools and colleges around the county.
We unite – This project unites people with eco-friendly and socially responsible products; covering vegan, organic, Fairtrade and how to assess sustainability in suppliers. Kelly’s next project is to create a new online market place, conscience.com, which will be a one stop shop for living better.
We love – This project is to promote the brand’s key message to be the change and create awareness for living a sustainable lifestyle. Recently, We Do Ethical’s annual brand reach of 1 million, jumped to 12.8 million in just 4 months!