Consumers are clearer than ever on what they want from the businesses they buy from. The parallel crises of the climate emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic have thrust environmental and community sustainability into the limelight. Now is the time to become a sustainability leader in your community, and believe me, your clients will thank you for it.

If you didn’t know much about Sustainable Salons, you’d be forgiven for assuming we’re just a fancy version of your curbside yellow recycling bin.

I’m here to tell you that that assumption is wrong. While it’s true that we’re fancier than your yellow bin (or at least we like to think so), here at Sustainable Salons, we’ve got our fingers in about every sustainability and community building pie you can think of.

That’s not to throw shade at the yellow bin. It certainly serves an important purpose and is a great tool in the sustainability toolbox of your average household. It’s just not quite a good enough solution for small businesses like yours.

Firstly, small businesses are not legally required to use a yellow bin, so even if your salon does, there are plenty of others out there whose waste is going directly to landfill unless they can access a good alternative.

The yellow bin also offers close to no transparency about how the waste materials gathered are being used, and there’s minimal positive impact on local communities through this process.

More importantly, it doesn’t add any value to your business, your community, or our collective goal of sustainability for our planet and the people on it.

Okay, so you know we’re fancier, but let me tell you a little bit about how else Sustainable Salons is working towards a better world for us all.

We care about the impact that every single piece of waste coming from a salon has on this earth. For instance, paper waste collected from salons is bundled and sold to local recyclers.

Those proceeds from recycling are donated to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest and so far have provided over 169,000 meals to those in need. Just from paper that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Our recycling depots employ people underserved by typical employment structures, including many people living with disabilities.

We’ve fixed the issue of sharps disposal in beauty salons, one of the industry’s more prickly problems (pardon the pun). Incorrect sharps disposal is a huge hazard. We certainly don’t want any kids or vulnerable people in the community being pricked by used syringes. We make sure used sharps are disposed of safely and responsibly.

We’ve been on the hunt for new ways to amplify our purpose. One of our proudest achievements is the events we’ve put on across Australia and New Zealand to help people in need access beauty and grooming services. Check out our Sustainable Salons member, Cara from Wild Ginger Beauty in NSW, volunteering her time at one of our community events.

Particularly at a time when people are changing careers or losing jobs, and more people fall beneath the poverty line, this is something we can offer that makes a real and tangible difference. As salon owners and staff, you understand what a difference being well-groomed can make to a person’s self-esteem, let alone to their chances of nailing a job interview.

It’s not just about the impact becoming a Sustainable Salon has on the environment – it’s a great move for your bottom line, too.

The reality is that businesses without a clear purpose are missing out. Consumers are wide awake to the world around them, and they are voting with their dollars. Your clients don’t just want to leave your salon glowing and fresh; they want the environment and their local community to benefit too.

If you want your customers to feel confident in your business, not just in your staff’s abilities and skills but in the values your business upholds, it’s time to jump on the sustainability train.

In fact, sustainability has become such an essential factor in determining consumer behaviour that the Sustainable Salons directory has become the largest driver of clients into salons. That means more people are checking the Sustainable Salons directory for their nearest sustainable beauty salon than any other source.

Being a sustainability leader in your community is something your customers will reward you handsomely for.

Think of it like this – you could continue to use a basic skincare routine of cleanser (that’s your excellent customer service) and moisturiser (the way you make your clients’ skin glow). Or you could elevate that routine a bit and add in a super potent serum that’s going to make you look good, feel good and inspire confidence in your clients that you’re the best fit for them. That’s where we come in.

Okay, maybe that was a bit of a convoluted analogy. The point is, partnering with Sustainable Salons not only means you’re doing the right thing by our environment, but your clients will see you as a business that aligns with their personal values. You’ll attract clients that keep coming back, both for your amazing facials and your dedication to a more sustainable future.

In today’s consumer environment, that’s irreplaceable. Nowadays, brand loyalty is built on values and trust, and your clients are no exception.