As Aveda salons around the country prepare for Earth Month, Ashleigh Sharman discovers just what it means to be part of a global charity effort.

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Aveda has long pioneered new benchmarks of environmental responsibility in beauty, having been the first privately-owned company to sign the Ceres Principles in 1989 (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) and the first beauty company in the world to manufacture with 100 per cent wind power. And since 1999, Aveda’s annual Earth Month campaign, held each April, has raised more than $32 million to support environmental projects around the world — from its vision of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation (WaterAid), to protecting the Earth and restoring damaged ecosystems (Global Greengrants Fund).

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“Earth Month allows us to take a step back from just focusing on selling our retail product purely because of the results a client will get. It is about collectively keeping the integrity of Aveda’s historical roots and philosophy of caring for the environment. It brings us to focus as a business on our own foot print — not only as a spa, but as individual service providers, encouraging environmental sustainability and awareness. This brings a great sense of community to the team and also business sustainability. We can easily get too focused on other things in our industry,” says Mineral Lifestyle director, Kristy Hines whose Sydney team gather over breakfast each year to contribute funds and work on daily activities to enrich clients throughout the month.

Perth-based Glenn Tucker, director of Element Aveda Lifestyle, adds that the initiative also provides an opportunity to feel part of a larger family.

5“Earth Month on a local level is a great time where we get to meet other Aveda salon staff and feel a bit closer whilst getting active. Walking along some of Western Australia’s iconic scenery, as part of Walk for Water, we are reminded that a child dies every 60 seconds due to the lack of drinking water,” explains Glenn whose salon is responsible for the creation of the annual Walk 4 Water Fashion Show held in Perth for the purpose of both raising money as well as educating the importance of a sustainable future. This year the show hopes to attract over 340 guests and media, with a portfolio of local and national designers.

Last year, Earth Month efforts raised a total of $5.5 million for Clean Water and, in 2014, a goal of $6 million has been set for the initiative. Throughout April Aveda will also donate 100 per cent of the recommended retail price of the limited edition Earth Month Light the Way Candles to WaterAid Australia, a non-profit organisation that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation — the charity work proving its impact on many levels.

“We attract a lifestyle and eco conscious clientele so they are excited by the initiative and they are generally interested in what Aveda is doing to keep up its environmental integrity. As a small business you become very much part of your local community, aside from the feel good factor, and we believe it is essential to give back to the community creating a healthy network and sustainable eco system of business and integrity,” Kristy says.

Aveda’s Earth Month takes place throughout April, for more information visit www.aveda.com.au