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Last updated: April 12, 2019

Aveda Talks Sustainability At FIT’s Sustainable Business & Design Conference

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Phillip Lim, Hannah Bronfman, Lauren Letta and Barbara De Laere

To celebrate the start of Earth Month, Aveda partnered with the Fashion Institute of Technology as the presenting sponsor of their 13th annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference: Innovation in Sustainability, joining the conversation with the people and brands that are helping to make the world a better place. On April 3, Aveda hosted a panel discussion with global change makers who shared their insights on the importance of environmental and human sustainability, challenges that can come with sustainable choices in business, how sustainability can integrate with luxury and their goals for the future.


Leading the panel was Barbara De Laere, SVP and Global General Manager at Aveda, who was joined by brand partners and sustainability leaders Phillip Lim, Creative Director and Co-Founder of 3.1 Phillip LimHannah Bronfman, Director of Sustainability for SH Hotels & Resorts and Lauren Letta, Chief Operating Officer of charity: water.


Aveda’s mission is to care for the world we live in, and that guides every decision we make: from how we source, which packaging we use and how we manufacture, to how we work together, how we serve our guests and who we partner with,” said Barbara. “We are honored to share the stage with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Aveda’s New York Fashion Week partner, 1 Hotels, Aveda’s creative content set and event space partner and charity: water, Aveda’s global charity partner for Earth Month and beyond.”


Barbara De Laere, Phillip Lim, Hannah Bronfman and Lauren Letta


Sustainability Across Industries

Phillip Lim shared an exciting sustainability innovation in the fashion industry, explaining how 3.1 Phillip Lim is currently working with a third-generation, family-owned denim mill in Guatemala that not only creates new denim out of recycled cuts that they gather from around the world, but they also send any waste that they generate to specialized coffee growers who use it in their fields. “Maybe the next drink you have is a part of this chain,” Phillip said.


Hannah Bronfman spoke on behalf of the hospitality industry, stating that a large part of the mission of 1 Hotels—the leading hotel of SH Hotels & Resorts and the first mission-driven lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature—is that each location is fully integrated with the local community. “We find local artisans that contribute to the designs — the Central Park location feels like it’s a part of the park and the Brooklyn Bridge location feels like it’s a part of the pier. They all have a similar feel and introduce guests to nature, but they’re also unique,” she said. “That’s a surprising innovation in this industry, that guests would be open to the surprise and delight of walking through a hotel that’s unique to its environment.”


Lauren Letta of charity: water shared her thoughts from the nonprofit perspective. “We know that people really want to believe in charity, and they think it’s cool, but they want to trust the organization that they give their dollars to and know that it will make an impact,” says Lauren. She explained how that was the premise that started the organization and required charity: water to look at things differently. “For charity: water, the innovation was in storytelling… taking something tragic and terrible and turning into hopeful content to get people inspired and excited to solve the water crisis instead of being terrified of it… It all starts with a visionary, people who are willing to say we could do this differently.”


Human Health and Wellness

“We as companies can have an impact on individuals,” says Barbara. “Aveda’s Founder, Horst Rechelbacher, was known as the ‘Father of Safe Cosmetics’ because he made it his mission to start a beauty company that eliminated toxic chemicals from its products. He believed that we only have two homes: the body we live in and the planet we live on. Since the company was founded in 1978, we have continued on that journey, formulating and reformulating our products to make sure that they are nontoxic for our guests and have a minimal impact on the planet.”


For more information on Aveda’s sustainability efforts, please visit


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