SustainRCA Hosts An Audience With
The Divine Cocoa Farmers

SustainRCA, The Royal College of Art’s initiative to encourage sustainability through art and design, last week hosted an event introducing the Divine Chocolate farmers, Mary Appiah and Esther Ephraim, from Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana, who were in the UK for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Mary and Esther – who had arrived in the UK wrapped in fur coats, expecting our freezing temperatures – gave us an insight into their lives in tropical Ghana.


The talk was chaired by Tom Allen of Trading Visions, who oversees projects for small-scale producers from developing countries. The charity Trading Visions was established in 2003 to build on a long-standing Fairtrade education initiative undertaken in partnership between Divine Chocolate, Comic Relief and Kuapa Kokoo.

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Home Pickings And
Our Top Drawer Favourites

On a recent visit to “Home” and “Top Drawer” 2013, at London’s Earls Court, we donned our trekking boots in search of the latest sustainable designs. Home is a design-led interior & home accessories industry show, which took place alongside Top Drawer, a showcase for over 700 British and international retail suppliers.

Here are some of our favourites from the shows:

At All Lovely Stuff loveliness is at the core of whatever they do. They have the ethos that if you really love something you’ll want to hold onto it, which is good for everyone. Each item has an element of character, or humour, which helps to build an emotional connection with the user.

all lovely stuff

flavoured doughnuts

These delicious flavoured doughnuts are made from beech and are iced in strawberry pink, chocolate brown and sugar white. Designed in conjunction with Michael Marriott.

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NODE Rugs:
The Design Museum’s
Fairtrade Collection

We briefly mentioned the work of Chris Haughton of NODE, in October 2012, in our summary of Tent London, knowing that we would return to the story to give you greater detail.


Chris Haughton of NODE

Chris Haughton is a children’s book author and illustrator who has been working in Fairtrade for the past 9 years. In 2010 Chris spent eight months in India and Nepal working with Fairtrade groups. The projects he developed resonated with people and became popular online; he was featured in Eye Magazine, Fast Company and other publications.

More recently he sought the help of Akshay Sthapit, a Kathmandu based entrepreneur with a passion for social projects, to develop a venture making and selling Fairtrade rugs. Together they called themselves NODE.


Rug design by Chris Haughton

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Future Fabrics Expo 2012

Written by Charlotte Turner
Event photos courtesy of The Sustainable Angle

The second Future Fabrics Expo, organised by The Sustainable Angle, was hosted on November 7-9 at the London College of Fashion. It provided an impressive physical showcase of roughly 650 fashion fabrics with a reduced environmental impact. Displays featured biodiversity, water, waste and energy impacts and benefits, as well as interactive information and videos.

The Sustainable Angle is a not for profit organisation which initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimising the environmental impact of industry and society.

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Sustainable Brands London 2012 Day 2

Following on from our previous article, here’s more from that great event Sustainable Brands London 2012. Some of our favourites from Day 2 (Nov 28)…

Dorothy Mackenzie, Dragon Rouge

Dragon Rouge, the global design and innovation business, have created Brand Futures to stimulate discussion on what future possibilities might be for their clients. With a backdrop of sustainable principles they looked at how Primark could have the same proposition, but be delivered differently. They projected ahead to 2030 to see how a future could look if we returned our clothes for reconditioning, recycling, or up-cycling into other clothes and accessories. See their imaginings in the video below.

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Sustain RCA Talk On
Disruptive Food Systems

The RCA Sustain Talks take place at the Royal College of Art and we attended the most recent one, where the theme was Disruptive Food Systems.  These talks are a series of lectures which are open to students, staff and also external visitors looking to address sustainability in their work.  The speakers were Andrew Thornton of Budgens Crouch End, Kelvin Cheung of Food Cycle, Charlie Paton of the Seawater Greenhouse Project and Julene Aguirre Bielschowsky of project ENTO.

First up was Julene Aguirre Bielschowsky representing a group of RCA masters students who collaborated on a project known as Ento.  The aim of the project is to introduce edible insects to the western diet by the year 2020.

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Ludlow 21

Ludlow 21 is a local initiative, which promotes sustainable living in the Ludlow, Shropshire area. A local voluntary group, with no political or council ties, they’re an independent voice for local environmental interests.

Ludlow 21 participate in local partnerships and forums, they support local food and drink and promote Ludlow’s Fairtrade status to benefit farmers, independent shops, supermarkets, cafes, schools, churches and local businesses and charities.

In their efforts to secure a sustainable future, they instigate numerous community ventures, such as the “Big Food Debate”, a series of events looking at how the world is going to feed itself in the coming years, and they collaborate with many local groups to help them reduce their carbon footprint.

To catch up on the latest happenings, and hang out in this lovely picturesque town, we sneaked over to the Ludlow Green Festival, an annual celebration of all things eco. Coordinated by Ludlow 21, The Festival took place on 26 August, in the town square, next to the impressive medieval castle. Now in it’s 9th year, it brought together 60 stallholders exhibiting and selling their products and services – and there was lots more to see and do.

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Joanna Taylor On The Value Of Ethical Jewellery

You may remember, we featured Joanna Taylor in our New Designers article in July. As a jewellery designer-maker Joanna established Tootsievalentine® Ethical Jewellery in 2007 and now, after achieving a First Class BA (hons) in Jewellery, she’s set up practice in a shared workshop in Buckinghamshire. We were keen to find out how she’s getting on since her debut at the New Designers show and wanted to find out more about the sustainable way in which she works…and what ethical jewellery actually means.

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