How to Live Sustainably
Top tips from the skincare guru Irene Forte
Irene Forte is the founder of the eponymous skincare range and a wellness consultant for Rocco Forte Hotels. Here she discusses how to live a healthier, more sustainable life.
1. Why is sustainability one of Irene Forte skincare’s core values?
I started working in wellness in 2014 and gradually became more interested in sustainability. When I started working on Irene Forte skincare products, I knew that I wanted to build sustainability into my brand’s DNA. It was not simply an afterthought; we consider the environmental and social impact of every decision we make. Sustainability is a journey; no one is ever perfect, but I’m constantly striving to find ways to improve.
2. Which vegan and upcycled ingredients do you use in your products?
We grow our core ingredients on an organic farm in the grounds of Verdura Resort in Sicily. These include olive oil, sweet almond oil and aloe leaf juice. Our other ingredients come from neighbouring areas in Sicily. Examples include lemons from a nearby farmer, pistachio oil from a farm 20 minutes from ours and white wine from the Di Giovanna vineyard, which is 40 minutes away. Our water comes from Madonie Regional Natural Park in the north of Sicily.
We also work with reputable farmers to source upcycled olive seed oil from Trentino, the region between Venice and Milan where our lab is based. We also source upcycled wheat bran from Po Valley, apples from Trentino-Alto Adige and upcycled red grape skin and white grapes from Emilia Romagna around Bologna.
We have integrated zero-waste upcycled ingredients, made from nutrient-rich plant-based leftovers. Our insistence on plant-based sources means all of our ingredients are vegan and we are certified vegan by VEGETALOK.
3. Which ingredients do you avoid to protect the environment?
In general, I’m opposed to using ingredients that harm the environment. This means I avoid mineral oils, plastic microbeads and unsustainably sourced palm oil or palm oil derivatives. Our philosophy is to only use what is necessary, and we use naturally derived alternatives to synthetic colours, harsh surfactants and preservatives.
4. How do you avoid single-use plastic?
It’s hard to completely avoid single-use plastic. It’s everywhere – particularly in the food industry. I carry a Chilly’s reusable water bottle everywhere I go. I also carry a collapsible coffee cup from Stojo when I go to the office. In terms of my personal care products, I use my own sustainable skincare range, and other natural or sustainable brands such as RMS Beauty. I always take bags with me when I do my grocery shopping so I don’t use plastic bags, and I ensure I recycle plastic food packaging properly.
5. How do you make your diet sustainable?
I think we shouldn’t be too obsessive. My tips are to eat smaller or fewer portions of meat, particularly red meat, to reduce your intake of dairy products or use non-dairy alternatives. Choose fresh, seasonal produce that’s grown locally. Avoid too many deliveries, take a bag with you when you food shop, recycle your grocery packaging properly and don’t over purchase.
6. Can you share any more tips on how to live more sustainably?
I try to be as eco-friendly as possible when going about my day to day life. I always try to use sustainable products, I carbon offset my flights and I love vintage clothes, handed down from my amazing grandmother.
I don’t shop for fast fashion anymore; I prefer to buy nice pieces that last a lifetime. I get lots of clothes handmade in Italy – my mother designs most of them. I’m also always re-hashing my existing clothes; given that my mother has a dressmaker I love to fix and reformulate my wardrobe. I shop for secondhand clothes on websites such as Vestiaire Collective. I use Reflaunt via Net-a-Porter to resell past purchases. It connects fashion brands or multi-brand stores with customers like me so we can resell past purchases at the click of a button.