Sustainable Love

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Sustainable Love

United Kingdom
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A way of promoting ethical choices for weddings and encouraging couples to lessen the social and environmental impact of their big day.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Weddings. They're frequently an occasion for a people to buy a lot of things for a very short amount of time. So they're not a great example of sustainability. With approximately 250,000 weddings a year in the UK alone that means there are a lot of descisions being made to buy things that are wasteful, bad for the environment or that don't give producers a fair price. There's got to be a better way of celebrating love in a way that will help people and the planet last as long as the wedding vows- but without making people feel guilty if they don;t want to celebrate in a (recycled) cardboard box!

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Fortunately there are a number of companies that are recognizing the issue and bringing out better products. From conflict-free wedding rings to fair-trade chocolate cakes (with a side of B&Js of course) But it's not easy to track these down. In fact helping friends plan ethical weddings can turn into a total nightmare. There need to be simple ways for couples to find out about and order these products and services. and more general awareness raising about the ethical impact of weddings. If a £5.5 billion industry can start incorporating more sustainable, fair-trade and environmentally friendly ways of doing something that's going to make a massive contribution around the world.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other wedding shows and planners but none have the unique ethical considerations as us since the eco-chic wedding show only happened once) We don't have to be in competition- instead we can use them to grow our success- being part of a bigger show to start with before branching out on our own. There are guides and websites that provide tips (like ethicalweddings.com) and we could certainly work together to promote ideas but none of these offer the interative side that I'd want to in actually creating dialongue between customers and providers and providing an online retail environment. Ultimately the idea is replicable. What will make it unique and prevent challenges to growth is developing great relationships with great suppliers and offering good service
About You
Organization:
Let Love Change the World
Background Information
First Name

Rosie

Last Name

Blissett

The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you

Yes.

Country of residence of entrepreneur

Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?

I've been a fair-trade supporter for the past 10 years helping to lead both my university and my London borough towards fair-trade status. So I'm a huge believer in the power of ethical consumerism and know that the easier it is to do the right thing the more likely your average customer is to do it. Therefore I want to pout in the hard work that makes other people thing being sustainable is right for them.

I've also been luck enough to work in international development and see first hand the people and places where the impact of UK purchasing decision matters. So I'm not just doing it because I think it would be fun, I want to do because I know just the smallest bit about the lives it would change.

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Let Love Change the World

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

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Innovation
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

One-off articles in a magazine don't cut it. We need:

Ethical wedding shows to bring together suppliers and interesting customers and bespoke planning tools to make being sustainable the easiest and most fun choice.

Online opportunities to purchase goods from local and global suppliers. Organising a wedding is stressful enough without trekking to the back of beyond for a fair-trade cotton wedding dress). Also this can get people re-using wedding stuff that might otherwise go to waste.

A support network for businesses who are working on pieces of the puzzle to come together so they can share ideas and offer helpful combinations to suppliers and customers. And to start shifting ideas and inform people about the work they are doing.

Select the stage that best applies to your business

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?

As I've said it's still just an idea but I think it could have a terrific impact. During trial exercises in helping couples plan their wedding persuading them to try even just a few ethical ideas has gone down well and I know that even tiny decision have a positive effect on suppliers and for the environment.

For example one couple provided fair-trade chocolate favours where the packing included information about the value of trading this way. That means increased revenue for the farmers who produced that chocolate and increased awareness about fair trade amongst the guests.

I helped another bride source an organic florist so that her flowers on the day (and there were lots) didn't have a negative impact on the environment and she was supporting a local business.

What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?

The economy: The business is about supporting other businesses and, whilst the idea is about a cooperative structure it would still require taking a fee from those businesses which. given the current market forces might make it difficult to get the idea off the ground.

I'd overcome it by building good relationships and making sure companies were being offered a real benefit and the chance to reach customers they wouldn't otherwise meet.

Also there is a definite trend for buying ethical products. But couples might still be cutting back on wedding spending. Solutions would be making sure we offered quality and customer support.

Sustainability
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?

The idea is to fund the business by taking a % of sales where we introduce an ethical supplier to a customer meaning that if we offer good quality combined with excellent promotion we should be sustainable through making sales.

As we want to support both local business and ethical suppliers to promote their goods and improve their services social and environmental sustainability are built into the concept.

Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?

I think we're all interconnected. Descisions we make in the UK mean differences in producer income in developing country- which ultimately can make the difference between life and death. I've also ways tried to make choices which will have a positive impact and encouraged people around me to do the same but I think there's a lot of room left for social enterprise to make choices easier, simpler and more accessible to the general public.

What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?

I love learning about new cultures and making friends from different backgrouns so I think the most rewarding part of a trip to Uganda would be meeting producers and getting to know them and how they see our work- make sure the messgaes I'm given really match the reality on the ground.

The bit I'd find most challenging is trying to do practical work on a farm. I currently have an office job so I can't imagine how well I'd do at what is a very physically demanding occupation- but I;m willing to give it my best try.

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