The rise of sustainability entrepreneur Brianne West and the exponential growth of her global brand Ethique, has seen her recognised as the Ernst & Young ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for 2019.
This puts the 32-year-old founder in the running, alongside five other category winners, for the Supreme Award being announced by Ernst & Young at the end of October.
In August, Ethique also won the 2019 American Chamber of Commerce ‘Exporter of the Year to the USA $1 million to $10 million’ category award.
Convergence researched and drafted both award entries, along with numerous others – Ethique and Brianne are also current finalists in Canterbury’s ‘Westpac Champion Business’, ‘Sustainable Business Network’ and Stuff’s ‘Woman of Influence’ awards.
Brianne’s vision is that Ethique will not only prevent 50 million plastic bottles from being made by 2050 (they’ve already hit the 4.2 million mark), but that it will be an inspiration to other businesses that you can be environmentally proactive while being financially sustainable.
“Our business operates in a way which does as little harm as possible to people, the planet and all its inhabitants. That’s a lot to say in one sentence, but to be a truly trustworthy and ethical company you must consider everything as much as possible,” Brianne says.
“The products are also high quality, vegan and cruelty-free, palm oil-free, plastic-free and 100% biodegradable with compostable packaging.
“Our ethos go beyond beauty: we believe in environmental stewardship, transparent trade, cruelty-free practices and charity involvement. Every business should think of its entire supply chain, its team and should be responsible for the entire life cycle of its products – including the wasted packaging at the end of the product’s life. This is what I believe business should be. We should not be the outlier. We have to stop transferring responsibility for saving our environment onto consumers – businesses need to lead the way and become responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products.
“I’d most want Ethique, which is French for ‘ethical’, to be a trusted brand, so when people think of us or speak of us they know that our products can be trusted to work,” she says.
Ethique came about as a combination of Brianne’s passion for the environment, knowledge of cosmetic chemistry (and the waste the industry creates) and the desire to create a business that had far more at its core than just making profit.
“Years ago while I was studying at university I taught myself cosmetic chemistry from scratch with loads of research into what each ingredient does and how to build a product from the ground up,” she said.
“As the world’s first full range lifestyle brand, we are now available in more than 14 countries.”