On the eve of COP26 in Glasgow, 300 eco aficionados gathered at London’s One Marylebone for the 11th P.E.A. Awards in association with Citrix, to celebrate the UK’s leading sustainability awards show and the green trailblazers and changemakers behind the products, services and businesses that are changing the face of our planet.

Opening the dramatic ‘Fantasy and Futurism’ green-carpet event, attended by leading lights in the sustainability industry, Jarvis Smith, founder of the P.E.A. (People. Environment. Achievement.) Awards, said:

“With the pivotal COP26 in Glasgow, there has never been a more critical time for sustainability heroes to get noticed. Like tonight’s winners, the P.E.A. Awards have been leading the way by celebrating climate solutions for over a decade. It’s high time our government started learning from those of us who are actually taking real action to safeguard our long-term future.”

TV presenter Zilpah Hartley presented the year’s spectacular hand-made and nature-infused awards, created by Katie Weiner. Winners were honoured across a variety of sectors ranging from Digital Technology, Money and EV to Energy, Influencers and Art.

In her keynote speech, Atossa Soltani, founder & board president of Amazon Watch, said: ''It is an honor to be joining this impressive community of eco-visionaries who are creating a new normal for how to live in harmony with the web of life. We are living on the precipice of biosphere collapse and climate chaos and every day the window of opportunity to reverse our fate is shrinking. Future generations are depending on our bold and courageous actions today to shift our life-blind economic system to one that is life seeing and life affirming. It will take leadership from the likes of all of you gathered here to create such shifts as circular economies, deforestation-free commodities and truly regenerative investment portfolios. And we must not forget to the importance of changing our political leaders along with changing our light bulbs.''

Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist, Satish Kumar and his family were honoured to win the P.E.A Greenest Family Award. Following this achievement, they have been sharing ideas and inspiration with families across Britain on how to play their part in mitigating climate change and ‘Shop4good’.

Satish Kumar and his wife June Mitchell live and breathe a green life which has been passed on to their children, Mukti and Maya Kumar Mitchell, now low-carbon lifestyle pioneers. Mukti and Maya - who run a not-for profit, Carbon Savvy, working to support councils, businesses and individuals to save C02 - spearheaded a Shop4good campaign in the South West. The campaign imparts helpful advice for shopping in a way that’s both good for individual wellbeing as well as low impact on the environment. Following an avid response to this campaign, the Kumar Mitchell family are now extending it across the nation.

Satish Kumar explained why this campaign is so important: “While governments have set targets at COP26, it’s up to all of us – businesses, organisations, individuals and families - to play our part by reducing our own carbon footprints. Shopping is a significant part of our carbon footprints so shopping sustainably is a great way we can all play our part in helping to turn the targets into reality.

As well as buying low-carbon products we need to ensure our money goes to supporting sustainable businesses who produce things in a way that is good for the environment. Buying choices make a difference and every penny is a vote. We can build the world we want for ourselves and our families through the way we spend.

“A recent study from The Economist Intelligence Unit proposes that consumer buying choices are doing as much to help the climate as governments. So with the festive season around the corner, we want to support families across Britain to shop in a way that is good for the climate whilst also fulfilling their own desires.” 

A former Jain monk, Satish, now 84, famously walked around the world for peace in 1962-1963. He has authored 10 books, presented various documentaries including BBC TV’s Earth Pilgrim, and been the guiding spirit behind a number of internationally respected ecological and educational ventures, including Devon's Schumacher College.

Satish’s wife June, a keen gardener and environmentalist, was co-editor of Resurgence for 30 years. An acclaimed low-carbon living pioneer and creator of a globally acclaimed carbon footprint calculator, Mukti built and sailed a zero carbon micro yacht around Britain in 2007, giving talks on how to reduce your carbon footprint which reached a media audience of 10 million. He is co-founder of Mitchell & Dickinson, an insulation company helping owners of period and listed properties to save carbon. Formerly a professional tango dancer turned teacher, Maya has edited a number of environmental books and is a dedicated eco parent. Her daughter, 11-year-old Samay Ball, refuses to fly and attends quarterly meetings with her local council to help keep their carbon reductions on track.

Mukti Mitchell says: “I believe one reason why our family won the P.E.A. Greenest Family Award is because we’ve always looked for ways to make saving CO2 fun and enjoyable, and that is exactly what Shop4good is all about. 

After 25 years of researching low carbon living, I can vouch that most of the things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint actually save you money and make you happier and healthier. Here are some of the things we most enjoy about living a low carbon lifestyle through the way we give gifts at Christmas, or any other time of year.

The Kumar Mitchell family’s top ten ways to Shop4good

1. Buy less at higher quality: Buying high quality, long lasting products is one of the best ways to save CO2, and sometimes they last for generations.

2. Think end-of-life: Is the product we are buying easy to repair or recycle? Will it compost into the earth at the end of its life? Natural materials give you a yes.

3. Choose pollution-free: Try to get a chemical-free version of the things you need - buy natural and organic.

4. Avoid packaging: Avoid plastics and other packaging as much as possible, and reduce the excess rubbish created.

5. Make low impact shopping trips: When you can, go shopping with other members of your family and reduce the number of cars on the road. Better still, take the bus or train when it's a convenient journey. You can save a lot on parking.

6. Minimise manufacturing: Make, mend, buy handmade or buy second-hand. Britain has wonderful second-hand markets - you can often buy a much higher quality product for a low price when you buy it second-hand.

7. Shop local: Buying things made as close to home as possible cuts product miles. It also supports the local economy, giving jobs to our neighbours.

8. Buy from ethical companies: Source gifts from brands which embed Nature restoration into in all their audited transactions, for example: MyGreenPod which has partnered with reforestation charity TreeSisters to plant a tree with every transaction on their online shop; natural beauty company, Weleda, who have pledged to plant one million trees; and Yeo Valley who are committed to organic and regenerative farming.

9. Buy energy-saving presents: A prime example is an electric blanket to cosy up on the sofa in – at 1p an hour to run, they are typically 50 times cheaper than an electric room heater and 200 times cheaper than central heating.

10. Give experiences, make memories: Taking someone out for a meal, visiting a special place, getting tickets to the theatre, or a class in surfing or art, can be really memorable and avoids manufacturing and packaging.

For more information: Carbon Savvy and the Shop4good campaign visit carbonsavvy.uk / carbonsavvy.uk/shop4good/
For more information about the P.E.A. Awards, the UK’s longest-standing sustainability and ethics awards body, visit www.peaawards.com

Will Gethin is the founder of Conscious Frontiers www.consciousfrontiers.com