More Than Just “Good” Citizens - Should we be looking at small businesses for our emission reduction solutions?

Today is World Ocean's Day! We have many reasons to love the ocean: it covers over 70% of the planet and it produces at least 50% of the planet's oxygen. Oceans also absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. Despite this, we are currently taking more out than can be replenished and the ocean's precious ecosystems are being depleted. 'Revitalization: collective action for the ocean' is the theme for 2022. Collective action is required to save our oceans, from governments to everyday people. That's why it is the perfect time to highlight a family (and brand) that have been concerning themselves with plastic pollution in the ocean for the last four years.

Good Citizens

Since the 2018 dinner table conversation that started it all, Good Citizens have achieved the unimaginable and have been making waves centre stage in the global sustainable fashion industry with their innovative sunglasses made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. This family unit is a testament to what can be achieved when we set clear targets, work collaboratively, involve our future leaders in decision making processes and utilise the technologies and resources readily available to us.

The Good Citizens story began when sons Harry and Archie (8 and 6 at the time) shared their concerns about the amount of plastic waste piling up in the Earth's oceans with their parents during a dinner conversation. Being conscious of the climate crisis themselves, Nik and Jocelyne not only validated the feelings of anxiety their children were experiencing, but made it their family's mission to come up with a solution.

The next two months were filled with countless conversations, a bunch of brainstorming and plenty of planning before the Robinson family finally settled on their plan to Untrash the Planet™, making sure they always followed the four guiding principles created and agreed upon by the whole family:

  1. Only use 100% Recycled Materials
  2. Make products that last
  3. Don't exploit people or the planet
  4. Employees get time with their kids (this is our favourite!)

It took another 752 days and over 2500 failed attempts before they turned one single-use plastic bottle into a fashionable pair of sustainable sunglasses and saw the fruits of their hard-work manifested in front of them. Not only did Good Citizens find a way to use a single-use plastic bottle to create a pair of sunglasses that don't sacrifice style (or our planet), they also put in the work to make all aspects of their family business as planet-friendly as possible.

More than just "Good" Citizens

Good Citizens have previously stated that, "The day they go out of business will be a good day for the planet", and that "the day they run out of discarded single-use plastic bottles to recycle means they've done their bit to help the planet." And we think it's this attitude mixed with the actions to back it up that make Good Citizens just a little bit more than "Good".

Not Just Carbon Neutral - Carbon Negative

Good Citizens have partnered with the innovative team at C2Zero to become carbon negative, with each pair of sunglasses sold preventing a whopping 10kg of carbon from entering the atmosphere in the form of Emission Allowances. This covers the manufacturing and transportation of every component used to make the shades, plus a little extra. You can even track your impact by scanning the unique QR code found on each sunglasses box!

Every pair of sunnies is also delivered by a carbon neutral delivery service, held securely in a box made from 100% recycled materials and printed with plant-based ink and wrapped tight in a compostable courier bag.

Untrashing The Planet - Preventing Pollution And Removing Plastics From Our Oceans

Good Citizens collect single-use plastic bottles before they enter our waterways and turn them into sunglasses of various styles and colours - including their specially designed hinges (with patent pending). Not to mention, buying a pair of glasses from Good Citizens funds ocean cleanups, thanks to the support of their NGO partners who have so far removed over 4394kg of trash from our seas.

Creating A Circular Economy That's Good For The Planet

Once your glasses have reached the "end of their life", you can post them back to Good Citizens to be recycled. Or simply pop out the lenses and recycle the frames at home. Good Citizens' glasses have also been carefully designed to be fixable at home, extending their lifeline so that you can save money while also saving the planet! If your sunnies break, just reach out to the team at Good Citizens and they will send you a new part.

Trash Talk - Sorting The Truth From The Trash

To further add to this family's incredible impact, Nik and Jocelyne have created an engaging blog called Trash Talk, that's helping us spot greenwashing and misleading language being used commercially to disguise virgin plastics and unsustainable business practices.

We aren't the only ones who love Good Citizens though!

Since their humble beginning Good Citizens have popped up in Forbes, won 'Gold' and 'Best in Class' at the International Good Design Awards and The Design Files' Sustainable Design Initiative for 2020 (which Nik then went onto judge the following year), Good Citizens were proudly showcased in a window display for three months in Selfridges London, right next to Prada and Nik and Harry even spoke at the United Nations about transparent supply chains! You can find out about these incredible achievements (and others) over at Good Citizens News.

Not to mention the countless features in…

We think it's suffice to say that Good Citizens have not only set the standards for what can be achieved when we listen to and involve our younger generations, but also for what the fashion industry are capable of achieving if they choose to invest in our planet and our future the way Nik, Jocelyne, Archie and Harry have.

Read this next: Meet the world's largest plant: a single seagrass clone stretching 180 km in Western Australia's Shark Bay

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