Observer Ethical Awards 2011

Wow what a night! We were lucky enough to attend the Observer Ethical Awards 2011 at the stunning Victoria & Albert museum in London a few weeks ago. After setting off from Brighton on the train, Jamie and I walked from Victoria to the V&A in the bright evening sunshine, which was a great way to start the evening off.

Ben Ramsden and Lily Cole

We arrived and were offered some fab canapés and a glass of bubbly, after a while we bumped into Lucy Siegle, Observer Ethical Living Columnist, One Show reporter and author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World. Lucy lived in Brighton (our hometown) for a while, so she knows all about our ETHLETIC Fairtrade Trainers and our Fairtrade Sportballs as well.

After speaking to Lucy we ran into our good friend Ben Ramsden from Pants to Poverty and the supermodel Lily Cole (pictured). Lily is well known for her support of ethical fashion. She was one of the judges of the Observer Ethical Awards and has her own ethical knitwear brand The North Circular. Lily told us she’d just finished her History of Art degree at Cambridge Uni and was waiting for her results. Ben and I chatted to her about some of the great Fairtrade projects Pants to Poverty and The Fair Corporation are involved in, so we hope to see her walking down the catwalk in some of our ethical trainers and eco friendly flip flops very soon!

We also ran into Rick Edwards, Channel 4’s T4 presenter, he was well qualified as a judge for the awards as he studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge Uni and is a keen supporter of environmental causes. He’s over six foot tall so when I, Ben from Pants to Poverty where all standing together (all of us being over six foot), a girl said we were all too tall to look up and talk to!

Heading back to the bar we chatted to the lovely guys and girls from Pachacuti who went on to win the coveted Ethical Fashion Awards. Pachacuti help Ecuadorian panama hat manufactures and they were the first company in the world able to put Certified Fairtrade on their hats. Hats off to them (sorry terrible pun), they are taking the fashion world by storm.

The awards began and it was great to see so many people and projects that work hard to try to make a difference. We loved the mix of grassroots projects, companies and campaigns. Highlight for us was the guys from the Bristol Bike Project winning the Grassroots Award, they’d just won the award so we went to go and congratulate them. Jamie and I love bikes and cycling so we were keen to find out more about the project. These guys do an amazing job helping provide bikes for drug addicts and marginalised people, engaging the community at all levels to promote cycling and self esteem.

Pachacuti Winners

Colin Firth announced The People’s Supermarket as the winner of the Local Retailer Award, his wife Livia ‘Queen of Green Clothing’, Blogger and Creative Partner at Eco Age announced the winner of the Global Campaigner Award as Greg Valerio the pioneering campaigner who set up the jewellery business CRED, and with the Fairtrade Foundation launched the first Fairtrade Fairmined gold.

Rob Da Bank, Radio 1 DJ and Bestival curator (plus another judge on the night) was spinning the tunes on the night, some of the Bestival team already wear ETHLETIC ethical shoes, so we think Rob will be a new fan very soon (watch this space!).

It was a great night out, we met some lovely people and heard about some great businesses and initiatives making a real difference in the UK and across the world. Fingers crossed we’ll be invited back next year!

Congratulations to all the winners: Thameside Nature Park (Conservation Award), Savvy B.O.B. (Ethical Kids Award), James Lovelock (The Observer Lifetime Achievement Award), The Bristol Bike Project (Grassroots Award), Pachacuti (Ethical Fashion Award), Greg Valerio (Global Campaigner Award), The People’s Supermarket (Local Retailer), Riverford Organic Vegetables (Online Retailer), Compassion in World Farming (Campaigner of the Year), The Co-Operative Group (Ethical Business), (Ethical Blog), Pavegen (The Big Idea).

Click here for more information on the Observer Ethical Awards 2011 including videos.


Johnathan Lewis, Co-Founder, The Fair Corporation

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