Sustainability: the word is so frequently trotted out by brands, ambassadors, campaigns and countless initiatives that we start zoning out whenever someone attempts to preach on the subject. Instead of talking the talk, Tamsin Thornburrow is here to make a difference with her brand Live Zero.
Tamsin Thornburrow’s passion for protecting the environment was fuelled by a childhood surrounded by nature and the ocean, leading to her 2017 passion project of starting Live Zero as a neighbourhood retail brand that offers eco friendly products. It quickly grew into Hong Kong’s first zero-waste bulk store. Offering a wide range of package free natural and organic brands, the chain sells everything from pantry staples and household solutions to lifestyle and beauty products.
How do you ensure your brand runs sustainably?
Everyone who knows me knows I live and breathe the zero-waste life. 100 percent of our products are made from compostable and natural materials. Our suppliers work with us to improve the supply chain; even the containers we use for our spices, nuts, snacks, kombuchas, shampoos and all other bulk products are completely reusable. We operate fully as a circular community: our suppliers drop off the products for bulk sale in refillable containers that they retrieve for the next round of orders.
Are there any difficulties with sustainable practices that are unique to Hong Kong?
We don’t have enough commodities that are locally grown or made. Most of what we use and consume is imported from overseas, which makes a zero-waste operation a lot more difficult than in countries with an abundance of local produce and products. However, my allies and I still source as locally as possible to reduce carbon footprint and I’m glad to see our numbers grow rapidly in recent years.
Are there any areas of improvement that could make your brand more sustainable?
We’re hoping to increase in location to make our products more accessible; convenience is the key to encourage customers to shop bulk on a daily basis. I hope to start a Zero Waste Bulk truck that could provide our zero-packaging solutions on the go, it’s a bit of a pipe dream but nothing is impossible. We’ve also started producing and designing our own products that are created through direct trade with suppliers, so we can ensure everything is produced as advertised. No greenwashing is allowed under my watch.