Award-winning Oxford hairdresser Anne Veck is calling on more salon owners to take personal responsibility for climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of their business.
Anne – who has a salon close to the centre of Oxford – has spent the last few years making substantial adjustments on both a personal and professional level to introduce sustainable measures that make a real difference. As a result, hers is the first salon business in the UK to be certified carbon neutral – an accolade she has held since 2019.
The hairdressing industry has huge importance in society both as an industry and culturally. By influencing our clients and by setting an example, we can contribute to the positive changes needed to halt and reverse the climate and biodiversity emergencies. I am trying to do something… including inspiring other salon owners and hairdressers to get real about the mess we are creating and to take personal responsibility for fixing it.
Remaining true to her values, Anne took the ethical decision to partner with sustainable product brand Davines, in turn stepping away from a more profitable brand contract. She has made multiple changes to the way her salon operates to reduce CO2 emissions – from 12.8 tonnes in 2013 to 7.7 tonnes in 2018/19, a drop of 40%. The company is also planning on introducing a team-building initiative later this year, which will see the salon team plant trees to help offset their own carbon emissions.
Some of the more significant and effective measures that Anne hopes will inspire others include:
- Installation of a Ceramic Fuel Cell to produce more efficient electricity, reducing energy consumption by 50% and carbon emissions by 40%. A further benefit is that 200 litres of hot water are produced daily as a bi-product, further reducing energy consumption.
- Electricity and gas supply from Ecotricity, who generate 100% of their own renewable electricity and 5% green gas.
- Installation of Ecoheads at the backwash to save energy and reduce water use by 65%, plus a grey water filtration system.
- Recycling of all paper, card, glass, plastic, products, metal and hair by Green Salon Collective, with product waste reduced using VISH app. Good quality hair is sent to the Little Princess Trust, who make wigs for young cancer patients and anything else is collected by Oxford City Council who have a zero landfill policy.
- No printed price lists (all information is online). Salon literature is printed by Seacourt, a net carbon positive company using waterless printing technology and closed circle recycled stock.
- EasyDry biodegradable towels reduce energy and water use, saving 83,250 litres water per year. Additionally, the towels are used three times: first on clients, then for cleaning and finally by a local garage for heavy duty cleaning.
- Use of the Ecosia search engine, which uses its profit to plant trees to offset CO2 emmissions and a reduction in unnecessary emails (an email with attachments is equivalent to 50g carbon).
- No single-use cups or bottles – clients are asked to bring in their own for the FairTrade drinks served in salon.
Along with salon Managing Director Keith Mellen, Anne is also the brains behind Salon Re:Source, a digital ‘toolkit’ created to educate stylists and salon owners on the actions they can take in order to become a more sustainable business. Available free of charge, it offers everything from easy, low-cost ‘baby steps’ to larger measures which require more considerable planning and investment. To date, the toolkit has inspired 209 other salons to look at the environmental implications of their business and to consider ways of making a difference.