Elizabeth Scarlett putting conservation at the heart of its purpose with a self-imposed 'Earth tax'

By Juliet Herd | 04 Mar 2021 | Style, Design, Philanthropy
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In a clarion call to action for businesses, ethical luxury brand Elizabeth Scarlett has pledged to donate two percent of its annual sales to the preservation of keystone species. As part of its commitment to protecting precious wildlife, the growing accessories and homeware company will tax itself for using the earth’s resources - whether it makes money or not - in honour of the animals that embellish its limited-edition embroidered bags, pouches, bedding and cushions.

“I’ve always had a strong passion for wildlife and our duty to protect their environment,” says Elizabeth Scarlett Petrides, founder and creative director of Elizabeth Scarlett. “My artwork and designs have always been inspired by animals and nature, so it’s a privilege to be able to use my art to invest in the future of their species and natural habitats. We can all find big and small ways to promote biodiversity in our lives – it’s as simple as planting a wildflower window box.”

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Acknowledging that brands had a responsibility to behave more ethically, Petrides told Tempus last year: “Businesses are definitely being held to account now. If companies are going to talk about what they do, they need to show their values are genuine, especially with all the greenwashing out there. If people don’t think you’re authentic enough, they will let you know. We bring our customers on the journey with us. As far as my beliefs are concerned, purpose is becoming just as important as profit.”

Elizabeth Scarlett plans to reveal the recipient keystone charity later this year, marked by the release of a new, dedicated collection. Last year, it invited charities to apply for the two percent funding grant, specifying that it was looking to support grassroots projects in the UK involving beavers, bees and red squirrels.

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To coincide with World Wildlife Day on 3 March, the brand also announced it would donate £5 from every order on the day to its charity partner, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation programme in Kenya. The company has pledged to donate at least £70,000 to the Trust in 2021 alone. 

Since its launch in 2014, Elizabeth Scarlett has dedicated funds and raised awareness for the protection and conservation of keystone species, including elephants, turtles and giraffes. Keystone species uphold balance in their ecosystems, enabling biodiversity. While they may not be the most productive species or the most endangered, their very existence helps prevent dramatic and often disastrous changes within their natural habitat.

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The brand’s latest collection, released last month, features another keystone species, wild tigers, an animal close to Petrides’ heart. “I’ve always been fascinated by tigers,” says the designer, who captured the big cats’ signature striped coats using bright threads embroidered onto sumptuous apricot and azure velvet bases. “When I was five years old, I couldn’t yet read but I adored drawing animals. I was particularly captivated by tigers and their distinct markings. It was a joy drawing them again with their powerful personalities and swagger, just how they prowl around the jungle. To this day, it’s my dream to see one in the wild!”