LOTI Heroes

LOTI Heroes is our way of recognising and honouring individuals, brands and businesses that are doing something positive for the city and the people that live here, whether it’s fighting plastic waste, breaking the cycle of homelessness, tackling food waste or advocating for diversity. After the year we’ve all had, we need to highlight the good more than ever. This is the third edition of LOTI Heroes, so there are some familiar faces amongst our Top 50 change-makers and pioneers as well as a whole host of fresh ones. As we celebrate this brilliant lot, their stories will hopefully inspire us all to do our bit to give back to the city we all call home.

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LOTI HEROES 2021


Janet Oganah

Janet's List

Frustrated at the lack of visibility and support that independent brands run by black women and women of colour where getting in the UK (only 0.02% of venture capital funding goes to black women in business) but knowing that there were a lot of people who were purposeful about how they spent their money, former barrister Janet Oganah decided to connect the two by setting up Janet’s List. The platform features a curated selection of black and WOC-owned brands, spanning the lifestyle sector from haircare to jewellery to gifts, making it easy for people to discover them and shop from them.

janetslist.co.uk

Eliza Flanagan & Mary McLeod

KANKAN

The beauty and personal care industry is one of the worst offenders when it comes to plastic, as a lot of products contain microplastics or come in single-use plastic packaging. Reusable and refillable products are a great solution to this but lugging around huge cartons of shampoo and soap isn’t always the most convenient thing. Eliza Flanagan and Mary McLeod have come up with a solution with KANKAN, vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free soap refills in cans that you can dispense into your reusable container of choice and then recycle with ease.

kankan.london

Alice Moxley

Pivot

Founded by Alice Moxley during her time on postgraduate social innovation programme Year Here, Pivot is a social enterprise that fuses her love of creating and her technical knowledge with her passion for supporting the homeless. Working directly in homeless hostels, the organisation offers those experiencing homelessness a way to change their lives through designing, making and selling jewellery, and provides coaching and financial support to enable people to find meaningful employment and help them transition out of temporary accommodation.

makepivot.org

Aimée Felone & David Stevens

Round Table Books

Aimée Felone and David Stevens, co-founders of children’s publishing company Knights Of, where the aim is to commission writers and illustrators from diverse backgrounds, initially created Round Table Books as a pop-up to celebrate the first anniversary of their publishing business. That week-long pop-up was such a success that the pair were able to take it permanent, and now Round Table Books in Brixton is stocked full of children’s literature with diverse characters (in terms of race, gender and disability) and inclusive stories.

roundtablebooks.co.uk

Jacqui Braganza

Cutting Floor Cushions

We’re all aware of the huge amounts of old clothes ending up in landfills but it’s less common to hear about the waste generated from pre-consumer textiles. These are all the offcuts created during the production process that don’t make it into finished pieces, and up to 15% of textiles intended for garments end up on the cutting room floor. That adds up to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wasted fabric. With Cutting Floor Cushions, founder Jacqui Braganza has created a way to save some of this waste from going in the bin by transforming pre-consumer textile offcuts (which have been turned back into fibres) into eco-friendly cushion inners. Not only do these inners give the old textiles a new lease of life, they take less energy and water to produce an inner made with brand new materials. And Cutting Floor Cushions doesn’t stop at inners, it produces entire eco-conscious cushions with limited-edition covers made from roll-ends and deadstock fabric.

cuttingfloorcushions.com

Steve Clarke & Bonita De Silva

Cafe Van Gogh

Cafe Van Gogh is a not-for-profit vegan café and community interest organisation in Brixton, with a mission to train adults and young people with learning disabilities so that they’re able to gain employment in the hospitality industry. It was founded by Steve in 2015 after he’d quit his 20 year career in supported living, where he’d worked with mental health, addiction and homelessness, and finally realised his ambition to open a community-facing cafe by taking over the cafe in the grounds of an old church on Brixton Road. With Bonita De Silva coming on board as co-owner and head chef the food has gone from strength to strength, and has also allowed the cafe to run cooking on a budget classes for young people in Lambeth.

cafevangogh.co.uk

Claire Sachiko Fourel & Lex Shu Chan

Sachiko & Shu

Sachiko & Shu aka Claire Sachiko Fourel and Lex Shu Chan are two Londoners who run events, supper clubs and storytelling experiences, and who are taking a stand against Asian hate crime with their cookbook project Recipes Against Racism. The rise in anti-Asian hate crime since the start of the pandemic coupled with the duo’s own experiences of racism and microagressions, plus their work on social justice and diversity in their law careers inspired them to highlight the injustices perpetrated against their communities whilst also bringing people together through food. The e-cookbook features recipes from Asian and Asian-influenced restaurants in London, with proceeds going to two the not-for-profit organisations Stop Hate UK and End the Virus of Racism.

sachikoandshu.squarespace.com

FoodCycle

FoodCycle is a charity that turns surplus food into nutritious meals for low-income families, those affected by homelessness, and those who can’t afford to buy food, tackling food poverty, food waste and social isolation all at the same time. There are two food programmes; Community Meals, where volunteers collect surplus food, cook it and then sit down with the guests to eat; and Cook and Collect, where volunteers prepare meals for takeaway, and since the charity was founded in 2009, they’ve rescued over 900 tonnes of surplus food.

foodcycle.org.uk

Anqa Collective

An offshoot from TERN (The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network), a social enterprise that provides business support to refugee entrepreneurs, including help accessing and building a network of customers, Anqa Collective is the first marketplace for refugee-led businesses in Europe, selling a range of products and experiences from refugee entrepreneurs, with everything from Nigerian chilli sauce and fairtrade coffee to handmade lingerie and beauty services available to shop. Refugees face social and financial disadvantages for a significant amount of time after their arrival here so supporting and shopping from their businesses has a huge impact.

anqacollective.org

Chloe Pierre

thy.self

Wellness is a huge industry in this country but it’s not up to scratch when it comes to diversity. Chloe Pierre is looking to change that with her platform thy.self, which is all about actualising self-love and self-care in an inclusive way and making wellness facilities safe spaces for everyone. As well as providing a digital space where the thy.self community can connect, learn and share, Chloe also works with brands like Nike, Monki and Urban Decay to help them create inclusive, authentic wellness campaigns. 

thyself.space

 

Breadwinners

Everyone loves a fresh baked loaf but the ones from Breadwinners are extra special because the company employs refugees and young people seeking asylum to sell and deliver it. Half of young refugees in this country struggle to find work and those seeking asylum cannot work until they are granted status, so it makes it difficult for them to find experience. Breadwinners tackles both of these problems through its three programmes; training young people as market stall assistants, providing first time employment for refugees with newly received status, and supporting refugees with existing experience in running the online delivery service. 

breadwinners.org.uk

 

Marie Cudennec

Goldfinger Factory

Based in the Trellick Tower in North Kensington, Goldfinger Factory is all about turning waste into gold. The social enterprise transforms surplus and reclaimed materials into quality sustainable furniture and runs a free teaching academy to train local low-income residents in craft and woodworking. The Goldfinger Kitchen also acts as a food incubator for local chefs, who in turn provide free meals for the local community – they used to run a large monthly feast made from surplus food but are now operating a socially-distanced delivery service.

goldfingerfactory.com

Simon Boyle

Brigade Bar + Kitchen

Brigade Bar + Kitchen, housed inside a Grade II-listed former fire station in London Bridge, serves up classic British grub and helps bring those who have experienced homelessness into the hospitality industry by offering training and career support. The restaurant is a partner of the Beyond Food Foundation, which runs the programmes for vulnerable adults, bringing good, fresh food into their lives and teaching cooking skills to help build confidence and establish a sense of purpose. The money you spend eating at Brigade goes straight back into working with more apprentices.

thebrigade.co.uk

Claire Marchais and Jerilee Quintana

Fair-Well

If you’re in North London but can’t get out to a zero-waste shop, let it come to you instead. Fair-Well is a mobile refill service designed to make shopping plastic free much more convenient by taking zero-waste products to the people on converted milk float Charlie. They sell Fair Trade and organic dried goods, BioD cleaning products and Faith in Nature toiletries. To shop, you just book Charlie (make sure you’re in the catchment area), have your containers at the ready, and then fill up when the float arrives.

fair-well.co.uk

William Pearson

Ocean Bottle

We as a society have an enormous plastic problem – around 8 million metric tonnes of plastic are thrown into the ocean every year, polluting the waters and destroying wildlife. Ocean Bottle is trying to stem that tide with its reusable bottles. As well as the bottles themselves containing upcycled ocean-bound plastic, for every one sold Ocean Bottle funds the collection of 11.4kgs of ocean-bound plastics (that’s the equivalent of 1000 plastic bottles). So not only does Ocean Bottle help you switch away from single-use plastic, it’s actively addressing the plastic that’s already polluting the environment too. 

oceanbottle.co

 

Zoe Hough

Anxiety Empire

Anxiety Empire is a new print magazine founded by Zoe Hough that explores mental health from a societal perspective, by taking a large system (like gender, money, work or media) as the topic for each issue and examines how that system affects our mental health, through contributions from writers, artists, activists, journalists and academics. Not only is the mag free, because Zoe believes mental health resources should be accessible to everyone, it’s also advert-free too, because ads don’t always have a positive impact on mental health. 

anxietyempire.com

 

Farshad Kazemian & Glen Burrows

The Ethical Butcher

Meat comes with a pretty bg carbon footprint but thanks to The Ethical Butcher, you can still enjoy your steaks and chops and do your bit for the environment too. The company is all about providing ethically and sustainably farmed, carbon-neutral, grass-fed and organic meat. Animals are reared humanely and using methods to reduce the carbon footprint, and of course everything comes in environmentally friendly compostable packaging. The labels show exactly which farms the meat has come from and when it’s been packed for delivery. Many of the farmers have even measured a net loss of carbon as a result of the methods they employ, improving soil health and combating climate change.

ethicalbutcher.co.uk

Ali Namdari

Labo Mono

A designer by trade, Ali turned his hand to fashion after getting caught in the rain on a cycle home and then struggling to find a waterproof jacket that was cool and sustainably made as well as being functional. His brand Labo Mono, which is based in Hackney, now makes waterproof jackets using 30 recycled plastic bottles and an eco-friendly water-repellent covering. The jackets have all the technical bits you need for city life, including concealed pockets, breathable fabric, taped seams and pit zips as well as bold colourways and fun prints.

labomono.com

Celia Pool and Alec Mills

DAME

There’s a hell of a lot of plastic in tampons and pads – there are nine applicators for every kilometre of beach in the UK and one disposable pad can take up to 800 years to biodegrade. After realising how much plastic was involved in period products whilst working on another brand in the sector, Celia Pool co-founded DAME with the mission to create sustainable and reusable products that were easy for women to use. DAME has created D, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, made from medical grade Mediprene. It works with all sizes of tampons and you just have to rinse it after use. By making the switch to D, one woman can save up to 12,000 disposable applicators from going into landfill.

wearedame.co

Mahira Kalim

Spruce

If every UK household switched to refillable cleaning products, over 300 million single-use plastic bottles would be prevented from polluting the environment in just one year. Spruce is here to make the switch easy with its reusable aluminium bottles and plastic-free, non-toxic cleaning refills – the refills come through the letterbox, you empty the sachet into the bottle, add water, and then you’re ready to clean. There’s no plastic waste, no water gets shipped and the refills are incredibly lightweight so the carbon footprint is minimal too. And with every order Spruce helps collect a kilo of ocean-bound plastic waste. That’s what we call cleaning.

@we.are.spruce

 

Max Dubiel & Ted Rosner

Redemption Roasters

Redemption Roasters is the world’s first behind bars coffee company. The roastery is based inside HMP The Mount and they train offenders in barista, coffee production and roasting skills to help them find employment on release – if ex-offenders find work, they’re significantly less likely to return to prison. Redemption Roasters actively helps graduates find a job once they’re out, often in one of their own coffee shops. 

redemptionroasters.com

 

Swiss

Black Pound Day

Set up by former So Solid Crew member Swiss in response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, Black Pound Day is an initiative that’s all about tackling the systemic racism faced by Black-owned businesses (they are more likely to struggle with investment and have less access to capital than white-owned businesses). On the first Saturday of every month, people are encouraged to shop from Black-owned businesses and share their experiences on social media, which not only injects more money into the Black economy but also helps make these businesses and entrepreneurs more visible, ultimately creating long-term growth for the Black community. 

blackpoundday.uk

 

Sophie Williams

A former COO in advertising, Sophie Williams is an anti-racist activist and author whose 10-slide Instagram post on anti-racist allyship went viral following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. Williams’ Instagram is full of advice and information on how to be an effective ally to the Black community and she also has two guides on allyship and activism and black womxn in the workplace  – Anti-Racist Ally (coming this autumn) and Millennial Black (coming in spring 2021) – on the way. She also works to increase BAME representation at senior levels within the advertising and creative industries through her non-profit organisation Culture Heroes. 

sophiewilliamsofficial.com

 

Munroe Bergdorf

If you follow Munroe Bergdorf on Instagram, you’ll know how tirelessly she advocates for marginalised communities, using her platform to talk about and educate people on anti-racism, LGTBQ+ rights and feminism. As well as modelling for the likes of Illamasqua, Calvin Klein and Uniqlo, Bergdorf consults on diversity and inclusivity issues for brands, including sitting on the L’Oreal UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board (a significant appointment as the brand had dropped her from a campaign in 2017 after she spoke out about white supremacy and racism). She’s also writing Transitional, a manifesto on gender, race, identity, sexuality and how society can change for the better, which’ll be published in 2021.

@munroebergdorf

 

Meg Doherty

Fat Macy’s

Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise that helps young Londoners go from hostels to their own homes through food. By hosting supper clubs, catering events and food deliveries, Fat Macy’s trains participants in cookery skills, front of house service, food hygiene and financial planning, whilst allowing them to save for their future. Profits from the enterprise are invested into a housing deposit scheme for the trainees, so whilst they volunteer their time during the programme (with grants available to cover the cost of small items they need like clothes for interviews and ID documents), at the end they are able to apply for a housing deposit grant and transition into their own homes.

fatmacys.org

 

Itseoritseno Onuwaje & David Martos

House of Cinn

Baked goods that do good? House of Cinn is doing them. For every box of cinnamon bun that’s bought, money is raised to help break the cycle of homelessness and get rough sleepers back on their feet. House of Cinn has partnered with Street Cafe to build supportive communities around those sleeping rough, with a buddy and back-to-work system in place to help the beneficiaries back into a supportive work environment, and there are jobs as bakers and retailers at House of Cinn available when they’re ready for employment. 

houseofcinn.co.uk

 

Mette Lykke

Too Good to Go

Tackling food waste is a huge part of a sustainable future, and it’s an issue that can be tackled in many ways as our list of LOTI heroes shows. Restaurants are at the front line of food waste and unless you are someone like Doug McMaster at Silo, there’s a good chance that a lot of good food is being thrown out when it isn’t sold. Enter Too Good to Go an app that connects restaurants with customers who can purchase unsold, perfectly good restaurant dishes at a fraction of the price. Not only does it earn the restaurants a bit of extra money, customers get a bargain meal, and the end result has a positive impact on the planet. Now that’s a win-win-win situation.

toogoodtogo.co.uk

Steven Dring and Richard Ballard

Growing Underground

We love what Steven and Richard have created down in Clapham – the UK’s first underground farm. Here they sustainably grow fresh micro greens and salad leaves 33 metres below the streets in disused WW2 tunnels. Using the latest hydroponic systems and LED technology, the crops are grown year-round in a perfect, pesticide-free environment and use 70% less water than traditional farming. Thanks to a controlled environment, each tiny leaf has a consistent flavour and are unaffected by the weather and seasonal changes. Thanks to the prime location, they also reduce the need to import crops and drastically reduce the food miles for retailers and consumers. Since launching in 2014, they now supply loads of top restaurants as well as M&S, Whole Foods, and Waitrose among others – smashed it guys!

growing-underground.com

Chloë Stewart

Nibs Etc

nibs etc. is about making delicious snacks from ingredients that would normally be thrown away, to fight food waste, and enable customers to reduce their carbon footprint. nibs etc. was launched as a food and photography blog in 2015, about upcycling leftovers and no waste recipes. Chloe then landed upon a brilliant food waste product – juice pulp – that she began to collect from juice bars to make into granola. From there business has blossomed, winning at the WeWork Creators Awards (twice) and setting up at Borough Market where she now sells crackers, brownies and loaf cakes alongside the granola.

nibsetc.com

Anshu and Renee

DabbaDrop

Plastic packaging from takeaway is one of the worst offenders for waste, and as our appetite for Deliveroo and Uber Eats is growing, the problem is only going to get worse. As shown in other areas, reusable packaging is the way forward, and London start up DabbaDrop which specialises in curries delivered in metal tiffin boxes, could be the future of food delivery.

This is curry with a conscience. Sign up for either one or two deliveries a month and you will be sent a regularly changing selection of veg curries, dal, rice and roti all made with fresh, quality ingredients. With your first delivery you’ll also get a reusable tiffin box for an extra £15 charge – each time you get a new delivery you just give back your old (clean!) tiffin box and keep swapping it out. You can even use it as a lunch box in between deliveries.

With no wasteful plastic packaging it’s definitely an idea we like – and one that hopefully more companies will pick up on (SpiceBox in Walthamstow have also launched a similar tiffin box scheme). Dabba Drop is available in Hackney, Walthamstow and Leytonstone, with South London coming very soon!

dabbadrop.co.uk

Sophie Tait

Trash Plastic

Although we have highlighted some of favourite sustainable Londoners on our LOTI Heroes list and in our articles on sustainable swaps, there’s far more out there than we can cover. So we really recommend having a look at the site Trash Plastic if you are serious about reducing your reliance on plastic. Run by Londoner Sophie Tait, it’s an incredible resource of sustainable swaps for the whole house, with everything from plastic-free dental care to pet food and kitchen goods. If you’re serious about going plastic-free this site will come as a huge help.

trashplastic.com

Alice Williams

Luminary Bakery

Luminary Bakery isn’t just our local bakery, but one of our favourites in all of London… and not just because they make some of the best cinnamon swirls we’ve ever had. The bakery, founded by Alice Williams, is a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women from an economic and social disadvantage to build a future for themselves. Encouraging ambition, restoration and second chances, they use baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship. Yes, by feasting on cake, traybakes and pastries you are supporting a good cause and they are now open 7 days a week with toasties, soups and cream teas during the day.

luminarybakery.com

Julius Ibrahim

Second Shot

Second Shot is all about ‘bringing people together by tackling homelessness one espresso at a time’. The coffee shop on Bethnal Green Road founded by Julius Ibrahim, employs people affected by homelessness, helping them with training and moving further on the workplace as well as running a pay-it-forward system, so you can pre-pay for an extra drink or snack when you buy your own brew, ensuring that someone on the street can get something to eat or drink for free. What’s great about Second Shot is that people can contribute toward something more, just through buying their daily coffee. But more than that, they’ll be receiving some of the best coffee London has to offer, made by individuals who not too long ago were homeless.

secondshotcoffee.co.uk

Mursal Hedayat

Chatterbox

The best way to learn a new language is to practice with a native speaker, but imagine if you could do that and change someone else’s life at the same time? Chatterbox, which was founded by Mursal Hedayat in London, trains and employs refugees to teach language courses, meaning they are able to put their talent to good use whilst helping others out at the same time.

As Mursal explains: “I started Chatterbox because I was a bit fed up with the misperception of refugees as a threat or a burden. Like many other talented members of our community, my mum faced significant challenge finding work that made use of her ample talent. She used her language skills to become a language teacher here in the UK, so I pinched the idea from her and am using it to unleash this huge wealth of talent in the refugee community”.

The beauty of this solution is that it provides meaningful employment for refugees whilst plugging the language skills shortage estimated to cost the UK economy about 3.5% of GDP. Even if learning or teaching isn’t your thing, you can still gift a course to someone who might need one through their website, allowing us all to do our bit.

chatterbox.io

Jess Thompson

Migrateful

Migrateful is a cookery and language school where asylum seekers, refugees and migrants struggling to access employment in the UK due to legal and linguistic barriers, teach their traditional cuisines to the public. Since Migrateful was founded in July 2017 by Jess Thompson, they have run 300 cookery classes with 3000 participants and now have 16 chefs from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, China, Albania, Eritrea, Gambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ecuador and Cuba teaching their cuisines regularly. As well as offering a fun way to learn new cuisines from around the world, the social impact of integration and contact with other communities has a huge effect on how people few immigrants. In the current divided country we are living in, that is definitely something to be grateful for.

migrateful.org

Sophie Slater and Sarah Beckett

Birdsong

It’s estimated that 60 million women worldwide – aged 18-35 and working in the garment industry – make less than minimum wage. These women are making the clothes we see on the high street everyday, and are hidden in the fashion supply chain. London company Birdsong, founded by Sophie Slater and Sarah Beckett in 2014, is aiming to do things differently however – they work with skilled women makers in the UK that face barriers to employment, and pay them a fair wage. Sophie and Sarah offer an inspiring alternative model for how the fashion industry can work, a protest against the practices of the global chains and its abuses.

birdsong.london

Hannah Carter

#LoveNotLandfill

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, so overconsumption of clothes that are worn only a few times before being discarded is a big problem. Hannah Carter’s #LoveNotLandfill campaign is hoping to address the issue by specifically appealing to 16 – 24 year olds with clothing banks, sprayed by female street artist Bambi, placed at key fast fashion purchase points around London to encourage younger fashionistas to think about the life of their clothes once they’re done with them. By putting used clothes in the clothing banks, consumers can ensure that wearable clothes are sold on to people who need them and that man-made fabrics especially (which take years to break down) stay out of landfill. This November, the campaign will be hosting its first pop-up shop at the Truman Brewery, featuring amazing second hand clothes curated by renowned designers. (8-11 November)

lovenotlandfill.org

Tom Fletcher

Rejuce

Tom Fletcher turns fruit and veg destined for the bin into juices with his company Rejuce. He lives and breathes his work, living in a flat right above his production kitchen in Hackney Wick. He chose Hackney Wick after researching for his dissertation in Food Waste and discovering that there was a huge edible food waste site just by the Olympic Stadium and deciding that he had to do something about it. Rejuce aim to use all food waste from the farms they work with. So far, farms and packaging plants have reduced their food waste levels by 75% since working with Rejuce; this equates to 300 tonnes which is very impressive!

www.rejuce.co.uk

Sarah Vaughan-Roberts

Forty Hall Vineyards

Founded by Sarah Vaughan-Roberts, Forty Hall is not only a great vineyard based in Enfield, north London, making some superb English wines, but also a social enterprise. As London’s only commercial-scale vineyard they put all their profits back into the project and local community to drive its eco therapy programme. Centred around the idea that being outdoors and active is good for our mental health, Forty Hall provides volunteering opportunities to the local community, particularly those with mental health issues. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in the vineyard or the market garden on scheduled volunteer sessions that run on a weekly basis throughout the year. All volunteers can benefit from the support and guidance of an eco-therapist who attends volunteering sessions and participants can work alone, in pairs, in small groups or in larger teams. Their aim is to improve mental and physical health through working outdoors in a green environment, being socially connected and engaged with horticultural activity and the production of our wines.

fortyhallvineyard.com

Varun Bhanot & Anisha Seith

UNHOUSED

The number of people sleeping rough in London accounts for almost a quarter of the entire homeless population of the UK, so it’s clear that more needs to be done to help. And that’s exactly what Varun and Anisha are doing with Unhoused.org, a non-profit online shop where for every item you purchase, another of the same is delivered to someone homeless.

The first Unhoused project they’ve launched is StreetWear – the UK’s First Online Shop for the Homeless. The idea is that people can buy their basic winter clothing on the site, and for every item bought, an equivalent is donated to the homeless. It’s a simple so far it’s been extremely effective, with an average spend of £23. If you think how rare it would be to give someone £20 on the street it’s clear that this has the potential to have a massive impact. What we really love is that they also send a photo or video of the donation so the giver sees the final result of their “purchase”.

unhoused.org

Andrew Clarke

Pilot Light

Although mental health can be a stigma across any industry, typically macho ones like restaurant kitchens are perhaps even worse when it comes to talking about mental health with many chefs afraid to talk about the issues. That’s definitely starting to change, however, and that’s partly down to chef Andrew Clarke who has been vocal in speaking out about his own mental health and encouraging others in the industry to do the same. There is still a long way to go however and to help other chefs in the industry, Andrew has launched Pilot Light, a campaign focused on changing the way people think and act about mental health through in professional kitchens and the broader hospitality sector. You can hear Andrew talk more about his career and Pilot Light in our recent interview with him on our Yes Chef podcast.

pilotlightcampaign.co.uk

Rob Wilson

Toast Ale

Many things have claimed to be the best thing since sliced bread but Toast Ale, might just have the best shout of all. A whopping 44% of bread is wasted but Toast Ale is making a dent in that by working with bakeries and sandwich makers to brew delicious fresh beer out of surplus bread. The only other ingredients are hops, yeast and water. They also send the spent grain from the brewing process to a local farm to be used as animal feed which creates a nice closed loop, and also use recycled bottles. Oh and if tackling food waste wasn’t enough, Toast Ale is entirely not-for-profit, donating all proceeds to Feedback, an environmental charity campaigning to end food waste. Cheers!

toastale.com

Jenny Costa

Rubies in the Rubble

Rubies in the Rubble make amazing condiments – all out of fruit and veg that is wonky or would have been discarded for some reason. Jenny had the idea after reading an Evening Standard article about bin divers and getting hooked on the topic of food waste. One early morning trip to New Covent Garden Market later and Rubies in the Rubble was born. The nature of fresh produce and the unpredictability of supply & demand means that a lot of perfectly good fruit & veg gets wasted, so being onsite, wooden spoons at the ready, to turn it into chutneys and preserves that day was a great set-up. Nowadays the company has grown beyond these humble beginnings but still has that same principle at heart, although on a much bigger scale. The range now includes everything from the famous banana ketchup so spicy tomato relish and chutneys.

rubiesintherubble.com

Eliza Rebeiro

Lives not Knives

Founded by Eliza Rebeiro in 2007 when she was just 14, this campaign started as a simple t shirt she had made emblazoned with the words ‘Lives Not Knives’. 12 years later and the issue of knife crime in London is now even more prevalent, making the work of charities such as Eliza’s Lives Not Knives more important than ever. Having grown from that first t-shirt design LNK has since moved towards supporting young people into education, employment and training. LNK works with a broad range of young people up to the age of 24, as well as a great number of local businesses – forging the connection between young people and prospective employers. The charity aims to assist young people by developing their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals rather than falling into the traps of gangs and violent crime.

livesnotknives.org

Alex Head

Social Pantry

Social Pantry is an events and catering company that’s worked with the likes of Alexander McQueen, H&M, Adidas, Harvey Nichols, Rihanna and Gigi Hadid. Food-wise, there’s a focus on fresh, seasonal grub and root-to-stem cookery and in terms of personnel, over 10% of the workforce are ex-offenders. Alex goes into London prisons herself and recruits behind bars ahead of, as well as on, release. Offering opportunity and supporting these employees has and will continue to change lives. She recruits through Novus and charities such as Switchback and Key4Life who are all doing great work too. Commenting on the scheme Alex says: “I’m so proud to employ ex-offenders as they are ambitious, hardworking, trusted and talented and are a great addition to the team.”

socialpantry.co.uk

Douglas McMaster

SILO

As the founder of the zero-waste, closed-loop Silo in Hackney Wick, Douglas McMaster is the chef that’s probably done more than anyone else in the restaurant industry to tackle waste and bring widespread attention to the issues. His dedication has seen him carefully examine every fine detail waste production and Silo is the place where he’s been able to put his ideas into practice, and he’s been awarded a Green Michelin star for his efforts. He doesn’t even have bins in the restaurant and any food that isn’t consumed is fed into an aerobic digester which can create 60kg of compost in 24 hours. At Silo he makes everything from scratch from milling the flower to churning butter, reducing food miles and unnecessary processes. All deliveries to the restaurant come in reusable crates or other containers, completely eliminating packaging waste, and the furniture and fittings are all upcycled – when he realised that one of the final bits of waste they were still producing was the wine bottles from customer meals he started to grind them down and create plates for the restaurant.

silolondon.com

Anna Foster

E.L.V. Denim

Apparently, it takes around 4 – 10,000 litres of water to create your average pair of jeans – YIKES. A simple solution would be to buy more second-hand vintage jeans but if that’s not really your thing then meet Anna Foster of East London Vintage (E.L.V.) who’s here to solve your sustainable denim dilemma. Each pair of jeans is made from two old pairs that have been stitched together to make a fresh new pair in a completely new style. Plus no two pairs are ever the same, so you’ll be the only one wearing your unique pair. For even greater customisation there’s even a fitting service available so you can get a pair made to fit you perfectly.

elvdenim.com

Ben Tattersall & Nia Jones

Good News

Founded by Ben Tattersall and Nia Jones in London in 2016, Good News is a contemporary British footwear brand with a conscience. As well as making some very stylish kicks they have sustainability and a sense of purpose as a core business model, not just some tacked on idea to score sustainability points. The shoes themselves feature recycled rubber soles and organic fair trade cotton and their production uses as few processes as possible to reduce carbon and chemical footprint. Any deadstock they end up with is donated to homeless charities in London and further afield too – through their partnership with Good Luck Shoes they’ve already donated 3,000 pairs of shoes to refugees and migrants arriving in Italy.

goodnews.london

Ivo Gormley

Good Gym

Combining regular exercise with community work? Good Gym, which was founded by Ivo Gormley in London in 2010, is the very definition of a win-win situation. Building on the idea that working out in a gym is a waste of energy when you could be putting that energy towards helping someone (and helping yourself at the same time) Good Gym has grown to not only have a presence across London but all over the UK too.

Once you sign up there are three types of run you might go on: 1) a solo run to help someone with a one-off task they can no longer do alone (think gardening or changing a light bulb); 2) a run to make a social visit to an elderly person that may be battling loneliness – over 1 million people aged over 65 admit to feeling lonely or isolated; and 3) a group run with a trainer to do physical tasks for community organisations, such as sorting cans for the food bank or planting trees in the park. An incredible idea that started with one person in London and is now influencing lives for the better all across the country. Hats off to Ivo.

Marta Tarallo

Bottega Zero Waste

When it comes to single-use plastics, beauty products and bathroom essentials are some of the worst offenders liquid hand soaps, shower gel, and shampoos often come in packaging that can’t be recycled. Moving away from these products is clearly an essential step to reducing our plastic consumption but of course, we all need to stay clean at the same time! However, we wanted to introduce you to a Londoner, Marta Tarallo, who makes beautiful hand made soaps from all natural ingredients with traditional methods and no waste. Marta also runs soap-making workshops so if you’re feeling inspired, you can learn to make your own. With natural materials and no unnecessary chemicals, the soaps are good for your skin too, so you can have a clean body AND a clean conscience.

bottegazerowaste.com

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