is no longer a surface level issue; we have 12
years to make unprecedented changes to save our world. Be
empowered, wilful and ready to use your voice – and wallet – to
make progress,” says Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder and CEO of
Heading up Positive Luxury, the company behind the Butterfly
Mark – a unique interactive trust mark awarded to luxury lifestyle
brands in recognition of their commitment to having a positive
impact on people and the planet – the formidable Diana Verde Nieto
is championing sustainability in the luxury industry and urging
shoppers to buy better.
Get to know Diana Verde Nieto of Positive Luxury…
Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired
I grew up in Argentina under a dictatorship and saw first-hand
how a lack of good leadership can have a detrimental effect on both
people and our world. I always wanted to be a human rights lawyer.
However, when I came to my adopted home of London,
I discovered that I could study environmental technology – I fell
in love with the subject, the ethos and the challenge of
integrating the principles of sustainability into the business
Tell us about Positive Luxury…
Karen Hanton MBE, the founder of Toptable, and I launched
Positive Luxury seven years ago through our passion and strong
belief that technology will bring transparency to the
sustainability conversation and enable every member of society,
individuals and corporations alike, to play a role in preserving
and restoring nature.
What is the Butterfly Mark?
Positive Luxury connects luxury brands and people who care about
the future through the unique Butterfly Mark. This mark is a symbol
of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a
business strategy and meet the highest standards of verified
innovation, social and environmental performance and sound
governance. It promotes transparency and enables consumers to vote
with their money and buy from brands that reflect their
Why have you chosen to focus on the luxury industry?
Luxury brands are inherently more sustainable; they value
quality, craftsmanship and design over quantity. The luxury
industry has the capability to drive innovation through the supply
chain, innovating on materials, packaging and different business
models making a positive impact in the world. I hope this will
eventually filter down and have a systemic impact on high-street
fashion, as well as influence consumer behaviour and purchasing
decisions. Consumers are striving to buy less and better, and the
luxury industry can enable that, as quality and durability are
inherent in its products.
How do you predict the luxury market will evolve over the next
I think the luxury market will be more collaborative and
inclusive. Additionally, we can expect the luxury market will play
a leading role in sustainable development. 2017 was dominated by
the idea of truth, 2018 was defined by influence through emotion
and in 2019 the notion of quality over quantity – less is more – is
the reigning ideology.
How can we shop smarter, more ethically?
Look for the Butterfly Mark.
How can we travel
Travel with hand luggage. Stay in hotels that invest in
conservation, culture and bettering the communities where they
operate. Choose accommodation where the facilities are efficient
from an energy and waste management standpoint. Choose food that is
local and/ or sourced responsibly and where people are paid
How can hotels work to be more
Many hospitality brands are catching on and are in the process
of integrating sustainable practices to many areas of their
businesses, whether it’s looking at their packaging and recycling
in hotel amenities, farming their own produce or sourcing produce
What hospitality brands are leading the way in relation to
Song Saa are pioneers in conservation-based luxury
tourism, working with villages in Cambodia‘s
Koh Rong Archipelago. Water conservation and marine preservation
have been given high priority alongside maximising the island’s
impact on the local community - Song Saa is host to Cambodia’s
first ever marine preserve and a sustainability and education
SALT of Palmar approaches travel
in a responsible manner, creating jobs where needed and being
honest and fair in its relationships. Every SALT
hotel has its own farm, using permaculture practices and
hydroponics to yield diverse crops. Each of the farms has its own
vegetarian restaurant, with daily specials based on the harvest and
the morning catch this ensures zero skill miles too.
Lagom resort in Switzerland is committed to offering a
bespoke approach when considering sustainable travel; it asks the
consumer how often they want their rooms cleaned, sheets laundered
and toiletries replaced.
Where’s your next adventure?
Business wise, we are currently launching our operation in
– it’s is an exciting new market for sustainable luxury. We’re also
working hard preparing for our 2020 Positive Luxury Awards, which recognise and
celebrate leadership in sustainability.
On the personal front, my next adventure is homeward. I never
get tired of going back to Argentina.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Your favourite app…
Nest. It saves energy.
One piece of travel advice…
Only travel with hand luggage.
And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?
A pair of running shoes.