Marco is the co-founder of Novus.
The UK's first B Corp certified neobank – where they want us all to turn our everyday spending into a force for good. We love what they are doing and are partnering with them. They are committed to donating the equivalent of 5% of revenues or more to charitable partners each year.
What actions have you taken to reduce your footprint?
I try to consume only what I really need. When I need to buy something I make sure the footprint of the product is as low as possible. For clothing that means buying high quality, recycled (not only recyclable) clothing, especially from authentic brands that have doing good ingrained in their DNA like the brand partners on the Novus in-app marketplace. But on top of that, having invested in good quality, slow fashion, it is particularly important to give them as long a life as possible. I have found local dry cleaners where I take my clothes when they need mending or rehemming. Not only does this save me having to buy new clothes, but prevents me sending clothes to landfill unnecessarily.
Another area of my everyday life where I have taken steps to reduce my footprint is with my grocery shopping. I find supermarkets use so much unnecessary plastic in their packaging, particularly plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables. I try to buy my fresh produce at the local farmers market. Here I can find locally grown produce, that isn’t genetically modified or overly sprayed with pesticides, nor is it wrapped in plastic or excessive packaging.
I learnt recently that the average individual throws away around 200 plastic bottles a year, so I always carry a reusable water bottle with me. Everywhere offers tap water now, so something as simple as never buying water bottles is easy and can add up to make a big difference.
In regards to my carbon footprint, I need to travel abroad quite a bit, so when I am in a city I always avoid taking cars and walk or use public transport instead. It doesn’t make up for flights but it's an intentional habit I do that keeps me conscious of my impact on the planet and reminds me to do all I can to balance my lifestyle.
What would you suggest others do as a result of your experience?
Everyone has different lifestyles and various priorities, so I think you need to decide what’s most important to you and which areas of your life you can commit to making a change. That’s why Novus is great because it allows you to choose which causes are close to your heart so you can make a significant impact in specific areas, whether environmental or social. No individual can cover all sustainability practices, so if you decide to completely cut out fast fashion from your shopping habits, or eat plant based 5 days a week, or invest in renewable energy, it needs to be something that aligns with your values so that you are committed to upholding it all the time.
Of course I am a bit biased, being one of the co-founders, but I also suggest everyone downloads the Novus app as it allows you to track the carbon footprint of your spending and provides you with projects that you can support to offset your footprint. What’s more, it has an ethical marketplace of sustainable brands that you can trust to be doing their bit to slow the effects of climate change and you are even rewarded with cashback for making these sustainable purchases!
What have you witnessed first hand that has motivated you to do something around climate change?
Other than the extreme weather patterns we’ve witnessed all over the world in recent years, what has shocked me is the statistics on food waste. About a third of all food worldwide is wasted. Not only is it incredibly disparaging when 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, but were food waste a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. With the middle class growing around the world, the demand for certain foods, particularly meat, is leading to deforestation at a rate 5 times higher than any other produce. And what’s more, society’s demand for perfectly aesthetic produce means supermarkets dispose of wonky fruit and misshapen vegetables before they’ve even had the chance to be bought. This is gradually beginning to change and companies are popping up providing solutions to this crazy situation but the misalignment of food waste to starvation really resonated with me.
How would you describe Neem?
My favourite shirt in my closet is the Recycled Sky Italian Como Print Comfort Shirt from Neem (as worn). I don’t know how they do it but the fabric is unlike anything I have seen before - superior in comfort, style, quality and of course - ecological footprint.
Name some music you love
I am a fan of Reggaeton
Elon Musk - he creates his ideal reality and dares to believe that anything is doable. He is an entrepreneurial artist to me.