Livia Firth, activist, cofounder and creative director of Eco-Age, a consulting and creative agency specialized in sustainability, and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge, speaks about her new projects and how the present business model could (and should) change.
How did you start supporting the environmental cause?
It was a puzzle that started to form slowly–then thanks to my brother Nicola, who had the idea of creating Eco-Age, the puzzle got formed and got bigger and bigger. I have always been involved in human rights campaigning and it helped also to understand that environmental justice has a lot to do with social justice–the two are completely interlinked.
When did you found Eco-Age and why?
Eco-Age was created in 2008 as a shop on the high street, selling consultancy and products for the perfect eco home. We created the first eco library in the world for the home and started working on consulting companies such as Adidas for their stores and Wembley Stadium. Then few years later, thanks to getting involved in sustainable fashion and starting to work with more and more companies on sustainable business strategies, we closed the shop and evolved Eco-Age as it is today–the leading agency in progressive sustainability solutions and creative communications.
How does it operate?
We work from the ground up, building responsible business practices for our clients and accelerating external engagement around these initiatives. From strategic consultancy through to media relations, corporate reputation and digital storytelling, our team combines technical knowledge with creativity and innovation. In the past ten years have seen us collaborate with NGOs, governments and changemakers across industries to become the leader of change in corporate responsibility.
Today, through our ongoing advocacy work and high-profile events such as the Green Carpet Challenge and Green Carpet Fashion Awards, The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange or the TV series Fashionscapes, Eco-Age is widely recognized as the authority on sustainability in the industry and beyond. Our digital channels are now an established platform for individuals to learn from our network of insiders.
You started raising sensitivity for the environment among designers and VIPs, encouraging them to design and wear sustainable clothes. How did that start?
When Colin [Colin Firth, her ex-husband] got the nomination for the Golden Globes with Tom Ford’s movie A Single Man the British journalist Lucy Siegle challenged me publicly to wear only sustainable fashion during the awards season. That was the beginning of The Green Carpet Challenge and in the last ten years we worked with so many celebrities and designers to raise the profile of sustainable fashion on the red carpets all over the world.
The partnership with the Green Carpet Awards in Milan has finished. Why and what’s next?
The Green Carpet Fashion Awards have been paused last year as 2021 is a red code for the planet, and we needed to elevate the conversation beyond fashion and across all industries–and ahead of COP26 we wanted to pass the mic to young worldwide leaders working on solutions for a more socially right and environmentally regenerative future. This is why we created The Renaissance Awards–to showcase their work and the way forward. The Green Carpet Fashion Awards will come back in 2022 at a whole new level….
A recent episode of the miniseries Fashionscapes spoke of greenwashing and apparent attempts to promote circular economy. How could the present global business model change?
The solutions are multiple. First we need to start talking about sustainability as social and environmental together. The social impact is almost more important. And when you consider this, then the other solution is to finally measure impacts with the right methodology, as today we measure using only certain KPIs and metrics–as if sustainability was one thing or only about carbon emission or planting trees. The third solution is to be vigilant and ask for accountability–we can’t live in a world anymore where brands are allowed to launch empty initiatives as marketing tools or to create nice PowerPoints.