The term 'sustainability' has evolved from being a buzzword to an essential way of life. Be inspired by these salons who are implementing a number of positive initiatives that you could easily experiment with this year….
The sustainable workforce salon
Name: ENA Salon
Location: Covent Garden, London
Sustainability ethos: The salon believes sustainability shouldn’t be an option – it should be a way of life.
Sustainable initiatives: The salon joined an app called CoGo, which is a sustainability shopping/lifestyle app. The idea is to help everyone to live more sustainably by offering suggestions for places to shop that are verified as being plastic-free. The salon also interprets the term sustainability to relate to the health and wellbeing of its staff.
Shouting about sustainability with clients: ENA has a few sustainability awards but hopes to do more in terms of PR to shout about its positive sustainability initiatives such as recycling, using LED lights
and upcycling furniture.
Advice for other salons: Investigate the products you stock and use in the salon – where the products come from, whether the packaging is necessary and consider if you could offer clients a refill option for your retail products.
The eco-designed salon
Name: Anne Veck Oxford
Location: St Clements, Oxford
Sustainability ethos: Keith Mellen and Anne Veck are current British Hairdressing Business Award Sustainable Salon of the Year. Together they are pioneers when it comes to sustainable work in hairdressing, and a remarkable positive carbon salon imprint, they have an ahead-of-the-time approach to sustainable salon life. "We think like hairdressers because we have been running a hairdressing business for 30 years and so we know that we all face similar sustainability challenges," says Keith.
As salon owners for 30 years, Anne and Keith have made it their life work to create highly sustainable salon businesses, leaving a sustainable legacy with succession planning. As an educator teaching about sustainability comes as part and parcel of the course work, it is woven into everything.
Now, Anne has made the decision to take her hairdressing career in a different direction with the launch of Anne Veck Education in 2023, whilst partner Keith sits on biodiversity forums, works on sustainability visions with brands, and continues to evolve Salon Re:Source, a freely downloadable Salon Re:Source tool kit that breaks down steps to being more sustainable in an encouraging and supportive way.
Their work over that past 15 years devoted to sustainable working practice in hairdressing saw them become the first certified Carbon Neutral salon in the UK in 2019; launch the first and only freely downloadable sustainable salon toolkit; become Green Libertines with Green Salon Collective; Marie Claire Sustainability runner up 2022; Most Wanted Sustainability Hero 2021 and 2022, Sustainability Visionary for Davines; and winners of British Hairdressing Business Award Sustainable Salon of the Year 2022.
Sustainable initiatives: The salon was refitted in 2013 to combine sustainability with the Anne Veck brand and created a stylish, green, destination salon. Since then, they have continued to add new features and practices in an ongoing effort to become the most sustainable salon possible. As the UK’s first carbon neutral salon, they have reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 50% (from 12.8 tonnes in 2013 to in 6.7 tonnes 2019/20) with the following actions:
- Their Ceramic Fuel Cell generates electricity from the gas supply at an efficiency rate of 75%. (Electricity is generated at commercial power stations at an efficiency rate of around 35%.) This has led to their salon energy consumption being reduced by 50% and carbon emissions by 40%. Of the energy they generate, 50% is sold to the National Grid.
- The cell also produces one cylinder's worth of hot water (200 litres) each day as a byproduct, further reducing their energy consumption.
- All exterior and interior lighting is LED and staff room and toilet lighting is motion activated.
- They use a high efficiency electric hand dryer to reduce energy use and the need to wash towels.
- At the backwash, the salon was fitted with EcoHead water saving and filtering devices to reduce water use by 65%. They also save energy thanks to using less hot water, and are 100% recyclable. The filtration system also reduces chlorine and removes sediment, rust, and sand, for cleaner water.
- They have increased the size of the windows, allowing for maximum natural light.
- They have signed up to the VISH app to manage and reduce our product waste.
- They have signed up to Green Salon Collective to vastly improve their recycling performance. The initiative can recycle pretty much everything a salon produces. Including hair, used/soiled foils & colour tubes (metals), PPE, and plastic.
The sustainability theme was embraced also by clients. "During our ownership of Anne Veck Salons Oxford, we would say that the majority of our clients are already taking steps to be more sustainable simply through conversations that we've had whilst in salon. We experienced many clients who were already making positive changes to being more sustainable and our experience of this showed that being sustainable is a commercial move as well as just the right thing to do."
Advice for other salons: Do everything you can to reduce energy use (especially reduce hot water, turn off the tap, use EcoHeads at the backwashes, and if you can escape your existing energy contract, the top tip from Anne and Keith would be to switch to a green energy supplier. Their prices are competitive and by doing this you will achieve a huge reduction in your carbon footprint.
The clever technology salon
Name: Gina Conway Salon & Spa
Location: Wimbledon, London
Sustainability ethos: Gina Conway Salon & Spa wants to be part of the solution and not the problem with the ultimate goal of reaching carbon neutrality.
Sustainable initiatives: The salon is reducing colour waste using technology such as the Vish app, which measures to the gram. This means less pollution being washed down the sink. Gina Conway is also known for introducing Eco Shampoos in her salon, which is a technique to reduce water, product and energy. The salon uses First Mile – a recycling company for waste, which offers a zero to landfill programme and has a ban on all plastic bottles and paper coffee cups. Plus, it chooses to use Ecosia as its online search engine, which plants a tree roughly every second.
Shouting about sustainability: The salon uses social media platforms, local press and word of mouth to let guests know about sustainability initiatives.
Advice for other salons: It’s a journey, which is worth investing in both mentally and physically. It’s not too hard to do and the positive changes you make will outweigh the initial effort needed to make the switch.
The sustainable incentive salon
Name: Karine Jackson Sustainable Hair and Beauty
Location: Seven Dials, Covent Garden
Sustainability Ethos: To provide luxury hair and beauty services in an environment that cares about the planet, the client and the team.
Sustainable initiatives: The salon has provided sustainable services for over 15 years and is consistently looking at ways to improve. Not only does the salon offer fully vegan services, it is constantly looking at how to reduce plastic consumption and excessive waste in the salon. They are also members of the Green Salon Collective.
Shouting about sustainability: The salon invites clients and local business to its seminars on sustainability and asks clients for suggestions on how to improve on the road to sustainability.
Advice for other salons: In the words of Anne Marie Bonneau: “We don't need a handful of humans doing zero waste perfect, we need millions of humans doing it imperfectly." Get your team on board from the start and ask them to come up with their own ideas. Don’t try and do everything at once but consider small changes such as emailing client receipts instead of printing them.
The sustainable charitable salon
Location: The Chequers, Ingatestone
Sustainability ethos: It’s just who we are and what we do.
Sustainable initiatives: Kennadys
is addicted to recycling and that permeates right through the salon. Kennadys started recycling foils and collecting empty aluminium tubes on a monthly basis. Essex Hairdressers collect the foils and tubes, which are recycled at a metal depository and the money raised from every deposit goes to the Hair and Beauty Charity
Shouting about sustainability: The salon won a sustainable award which has given the salon the opportunity to explain to clients why it won and the sustainable initiatives on offer.
Advice for other salons: Dedicate time and effort into setting up sustainable systems and put someone in charge of monitoring it. Encourage your team to suggest ideas to make it a fun and positive experience for everyone.
The sustainable design salon
Name: Perfectly Posh
Sustainability ethos: The salon believes in doing its best to do better and be better to ensure a cleaner and greener future for all of us.
Sustainable initiatives: The furniture in the salon is sourced from reclaimed scaffolding boards, tree trunks and branches. Salon owner Krysia West crafted the light for the backwash area from a branch she found. The salon has asked the Green Salon Collective to collect cut hair from the floor so it can be made into brooms and mats. This organisation also collects plastic, cardboard, and chemical waste like left over colour.
Perfectly Posh has also started working with the Vish app to reduce colour wastage by determining how much is needed for each client.
Shouting about sustainability: The furniture in the salon is often a talking point with new clients that haven't visited the space before as this often leads to a conversation on similar initiatives. Perfectly Posh also uses social media to communicate everything it is doing and the #PerfectlySustainable hashtag shares the mission which clients to keep up to date with and engaged.
Advice for other salons: Make a conscious effort to understand just how you are impacting the environment, small things like single use towels and plastic shampoo bottles have a large impact when we are in such a vast industry, so every small effort helps. Ask your energy provider to conduct an energy audit of your salon and provide you with some suggestions to aid this.
The open-minded sustainable salon
Name: Convey Salons
Location: Stokesley, North Yorkshire
Sustainability ethos: In 2017 the salon moved to a much larger space and took the opportunity to make the salon more sustainable and made sure this was incorporated in the design element. Starting with the basics such as A* rated LED lighting and fitting all the taps with eco heads. Moving through to the fixtures and fittings, they locally sourced reused materials for the reception desk and retail shelving which are made of reclaimed timber and sleepers from the local British Steel plant. Instead of using posters and flyers they have installed TV’s to market and advertise to guests.
Sustainable initiatives: The salon swapped to Paper Not Foil, which was a big change as foil had been used in the salon for such a long time. The team was pleasantly surprised and found it was easier to work with and faster than foils. Paper Not Foil is reusable unlike foil, which saves the team time and in turn saves money. The salon has installed Eco Heads to all sinks at the backwash, which means 65% less water is being used.
The salon also encourages the team to turn the tap off between shampooing to help save gallons of water each year. Some marketing materials like posters and signs have switched to digital alternatives, which saves on printed paper and allows marketing materials to be updated easily and instantly. The salon has switched from having cut flowers to potted plants, which help to purify the salon and it stocks Biolage retail products for clients which sit in recycled plastic and can also be refilled in the salon.
The salon is proud members of the Green Salon Collective and use Vish colour software to reduce colour wastage being washed down the sink. They also offer a free water re-fill service to any guests or people passing by. They use a loyalty programme called Trebbly to help reduce the waste of treatment and stock by regularly updating guests rewards allowing them to sell through older stock and treatments which could be due to expire.
Shouting about sustainability: Clients are starting to take notice and make changes in their own everyday lives. This helps when explaining the changes that have been implemented. Clients are encouraged to give feedback and suggest ideas for further initiatives to try via the sustainable suggestion box in reception. One suggestion was to switch of the hairdryer when sectioning the hair during a blow-dry, which was a great energy saving idea.
They hold regular training sessions to teach their practices to the whole team who can also have their say – they have a suggestion box in the reception area and encourage guests and team to put their suggestions on how we can be even more sustainable.
Advice for other salons: You can’t become sustainable overnight but if your bulbs need changing opt for energy efficient ones to replace them. When your foils run out, invest in paper ones – all of these small changes will quickly add up to a big step and transform your business into a sustainable one.
Lead image courtesy of ENA Salon.
Today's Sustainability Week content is sponsored by Davines.