Award-winning Oxford hairdresser Anne Veck has participated in an online panel discussion on the vital role hair salons can play in tackling climate change.
Anne – whose eponymous salon is based in Oxford’s city centre – is the first salon business in the UK to be certified carbon neutral*, an accolade she has held since 2019. Anne joined co-hosts from the Sustainable Beauty Coalition’s Hair Taskforce for the discussion, chaired by Marie Claire’s Lisa Oxenham as part of the Marie Claire Hair Awards and watched by representatives from some of hairdressing’s biggest manufacturers.
Titled ‘How to future-proof hair salons and meet the needs of the conscious client’ the thirty-minute talk included contributions from fellow hairdressers as well as Fry Taylor from Green Salon Collective, an authority on salon sustainability. It focused predominantly on salon waste and the measures that salon owners can introduce to become more sustainable; from water literally flushed down plugholes, to foils and colour tubes ending up in landfill, the panel revealed their concern on the scale of the issue.
In a bid to facilitate the industry’s access to relevant and useful information, Anne shared details of Salon Re:Source, an free online ‘toolkit’ she created with her partner during lockdown 2020. ‘We’ve always been doing things to make our business more sustainable – the information is out there but it’s difficult for people to find the time to search for it.
‘As a salon owner, the one thing you don’t have a lot of is time! So, we put together a three-part guide; part one is quick fixes – changes that salons can make today, such as turning the tap off when you’re emulsifying shampoo at the backwash. The second part is changes that take more effort and some planning, but not too much – changing to LED lights, for example. Finally, the third is bigger efforts; for instance, if you are refurbishing your salon, details of where you can source less toxic paint, or furniture that is made in a sustainable way. It’s all in one document to make people’s live easier.’
The talk continued with contributions from the rest of the panel on the sustainable initiatives they had in place and how partnering with sustainably-minded suppliers was key to making a difference. Green Salon Collective’s Fry shared details on how they recycle salon waste – from composting hair cuttings and using chemicals to generate energy to recycling all metal waste and donating any profits to charity.
Anne suggested that in today’s digital world, going paperless was one simple step many salons could take: ‘We stopped printing price lists years ago – we now have a PDF which clients can download using a QR code. If you really do have to print something, make sure you partner with a company who are ethical and use biodegradable ink.’ She also revealed that something as simple as switching to an eco shower head could reduce water waste by 65%.
The discussion wrapped up by revealing the role hairdressers can play in educating clients to switch to more sustainable haircare options, which can have a knock-on effect in influencing them to shop more sustainably as a whole.
*Carbon Neutral certification by Carbon Footprint Limited in 2019, 2020 and 2021