Jordan Peel, founder and Managing Director of Salon Futures, came to see the team at Cooler Projects, home of the Carbon Literacy Project, to tell us more about his business and how Carbon Literacy is playing a big role in what he’s doing. Jordan is currently completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Management at Manchester Metropolitan University and has set up the company Salon Futures to fill a niche he saw in the market.
We began by asking him about his ambition for the company.
What’s your vision for Salon Futures?
‘We work with salons and advise them on how they can reduce their carbon footprint, enabling them to become a part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem. We’re particularly interested in hairdressing salons as they are energy intensive and have a relatively high carbon footprint. We then work with them to reduce this whilst making links to other benefits, such as cost savings, health benefits, and their ability to attract environmentally aware clientele.’
We then asked Jordan how he became involved with Carbon Literacy.
How did you hear about Carbon Literacy?
‘I was volunteering at Action for Sustainable Living last year when I went to a ‘Be Carbon Literate’ event and met Dave Coleman, co-Director of Cooler Projects, and co-initiator of the Carbon Literacy Project. I started asking him about Carbon Literacy and we progressed from there.’
You’ve received Carbon Literacy training, have you delivered a session yet?
Our first training session is coming up towards the beginning of 2015!
Why did you want to incorporate Carbon Literacy into your business plan? And how have you done it?
Jordan replied, ‘We see Carbon Literacy as excellent training to enable staff to understand climate change, what’s happening, how it’s likely to affect us, how we can make a difference, and why it’s important that we do so. This goes hand in hand with salons achieving real reductions in both carbon and cost, so it’s win-win! I’m doing a Masters in Environmental Management so it’s been a natural progression to link Salon Futures and Carbon Literacy with that’.
‘I wondered about the best way to incorporate Carbon Literacy into my business offer, and I quickly found that the way to do so would be to relate the topic of climate change with something I have experience with: hairdressing salons. In other words, actually teaching my clients about how climate change will affect them and their business today, in their scenario and location. It’s important to find the relevance of today’s global situation to people’s everyday lives, their businesses, and the things they care about. This way they will take responsibility as a business, become a positive role model in their community, and thus we can make positive shifts towards low carbon behaviour.’
Jordan sees Salon Futures as having two main purposes, ‘my coaching will reduce carbon emissions from salons, but could also enable salons to act as a catalyst for environmental behaviour change, that’s where it’ll tie this with my dissertation’. Jordan’s dissertation will look at the differences between Carbon Literate salons and untrained (non-Carbon Literate) salons in terms of staff outlook, low-carbon behaviour and changes in energy and water usage. He’ll then assess whether Carbon Literate hairdressers feel more or less confident in sharing their carbon literacy to those around them, such as customers. The results of which will be pivotal in our shift to low-carbon culture, considering the large amount of time, great influence, and large reach that salons have within their communities.
We wondered how Jordan planned to monitor energy usage
‘We’re going to look at the difference in energy and water usage, before and after Carbon Literacy training’ Jordan explained. ‘To do this we’ll use eco indicator 99 (A tool that uses a weighting method to compare or identify the most important environmental impacts of a product or service) to give us carbon metrics.’
Jordan then discussed the motivation for salons to engage in Carbon Literacy training.
How do you motivate/ encourage salons to reduce their carbon footprint, and what is their priority?
‘It’s the cost-saving benefits that are engaging salons at the moment. That’s our ‘foot-in-the-door’, so to speak. What I want to push is the environmental aspect of things. We’re at a stage now where companies should be actively engaging in behaviours that reduce carbon cost, are environmentally friendly, and good to the customer – and do so because they want to be that salon, that’s a cut above the rest.
Sustainability is probably the second or third thing down the list in terms of their priorities at the moment. After cost reduction we have marketing opportunities, to engage ethical consumers, then concern about impact their business has on the environment.
Why is climate change an important issue for you?
I have always liked the outdoors and nature, I started learning about climate change at A-Level, but it was whilst studying my Sustainable Development module at University, during my Business Management degree, that the implications of global warming really hit home. My tutor at MMU, Liz Walley, identified the realities for me, and I saw the relevance of how climate change has and will affect me. I’m also continually learning through reading and watching documentaries. Watching Al Gore – An Inconvenient Truth when I was younger was another pivotal moment. That made me think, “if I’m going to do business, I want to do it in the right way”.’
Does Salon Future’s assistance go beyond giving advice on appliances and how to use them?
We asked Jordan if he’d ever thought about setting up projects, such as changing the interior design of a salon to make it more energy efficient.
Jordan said that is was a bit out of his remit at the moment, he’s currently focusing on small actions that are more likely to be introduced. He continued ‘It’s a good thing to aim towards, but the area we want to focus on at the moment is behavioural change and modifying people’s habits by talking about real-life issues. Once the ‘seed’ is planted and nurtured then it’s likely that the salons will lead their own projects in these areas. That’s the long-term plan.
Do you teach salon staff about minimising their environmental impact outside their salon by also focusing on their supply chain (hair products, appliances and chemicals)?
Jordan told us that in the future he hopes to offer a full lifecycle assessment of the salon, ‘but this is very complex and there are large costs attached to this, so it’s something we’d like to do in the future but not yet. We will always encourage our salons in these directions during the training, as part of their long-term action plan.’
How will you get people to become enthusiastic about Carbon Literacy and take action to lower their carbon footprint?
More and more people are speaking up about climate change. Although there is a fair way to go yet, carbon is becoming increasingly frequent in everyday conversation and that’s important. The more we talk about it, the more action will follow in its footsteps. It’s a sort of social peer-pressure.’
‘There’s a lot of support for environmental action in the media too. I use statements from Vivienne Westwood, and the recent UN videos from Leonardo DiCaprio and Morgan Freeman – people they can relate to that have done things recently. It’s showing the salons that this isn’t a new concept, and they are not alone in the fight. This is an agenda that people all over the world are following… And coupled with in-house financial benefits, it’s the perfect package that I deliver, that benefits everyone.
Do you do this alone or are you part of a team?
I have two partners. I provide the academic side of the team, one of my partners has been a trainer for 15 years and my other partner owns a salon in Manchester, Pierre Alexandre, where we are running our pilot training.
We asked Jordan whether he had any more business plans up his sleeve…
‘We’re just focusing on the hair salons at the moment, there’s such a large scope within the hair salon industry and I plan to write my dissertation on this – to see how great an impact our training will have.’