September is Australian Organic Awareness Month so in celebration we spoke with Ambassador Emmily Banks about why she is so passionate about organics.
Australia's largest and most recognised industry powerhouse for organics, Australian Organic, is celebrating all things organic during its annual Australian Organic Awareness Month (AOAM). This month the team behind the -Bud' logo is shining the light on a booming industry, which is being driven by the nation's health concerns as well as the environmental impact.
A national survey conducted last year, revealed that organic food has a firm foothold in Aussie shopping baskets, with more than two out of three households purchasing organic products in the last year.
As consumer consciousness grows, buyers are becoming more aware of the hidden nasties that can be found not just in the traditional food and beverage categories but also in other products like the cosmetics we wear and use. The nation's personal health concerns being identified as the key driver for consumers to switch to organics is cited in the 2017 Australian Organic Market Report.
Championing the importance of making the switch to certified organics is AOAM Ambassador, nutritionist and chef, Teresa Cutter (The Healthy Chef).
'As a nation, we need to make a deeper commitment to healthy living – whether that is our own bodies or the external environment – because products containing chemicals have the ability to deplete ourselves of health and vitality.
This month is also about highlighting the accessibility and affordability of certified organic products as well as the importance of certification and looking for a trusted mark – like the Bud logo – when purchasing organic products." said Cutter.
Across the globe in the US, renowned food activist, media personality and wellness warrior Vani Hari (aka The Food Babe), has built an international following by challenging large food manufacturers and industries to clean up their act. Vani is a long-time advocate of the global organic movement and is on a mission to enlighten consumers about what's really in our food. Alongside high profile AOAM Ambassadors Teresa Cutter, Magdalena Roze and Emmily Banks, Vani has joined Australian Organic in support of the industry.
'In Australia, you have the largest holding of organically certified land. This is incredible and you should all be so proud! There are so many reasons to shop organically – and not just in the food aisle. You owe it to yourself to take a hard look at what you choose to eat every day and how it can affect your health."
In a recent article, Vani unpacked the case for organics and how it impacts people and the planet through the use of GM seeds, chemicals and unsustainable practices.
Earlier this year, the Australian Organic Market Report revealed Australia officially holds the largest amount of organically managed farmland in the world at 53%, however, this is still not enough to meet growing demand locally.
Other key findings driving growth include:
18% of shoppers say the trigger to make the switch to organic was a health crisis/issue affecting themselves or their family
Top three perceived benefits of organics are chemical-free at 83%, additivefree at 75% and environmentally friendly at 65%
The number of consumers who have become more aware of the impact of food, fibre (textiles) and cosmetics on the environment has risen from 32% in 2014 to 41% in 2016
Organic producers, processers and handlers have grown from 2,567 in 2014 to 3,751 in 2016 (up by 46%), with producers representing the largest group in Australia (2,075)
Weighing into the Australian Organic Market Report is a national consumer survey conducted by Mobium Group LOHAS (Life Styles of Health and Sustainability Australia) with 1,024 households polled over one week in June 2016.
Key LOHAS survey findings, include:
Personal health for the buyer and their family is the strongest driver for organic product purchases in 2016
85% of all shoppers say an organic certification mark on a product would have influence on their purchase decision
The Australian Certified Organic (ACO) Bud logo is the most recognised certification mark – 46% of Aussie consumers recognising this logo in 2016
Australia's organic industry is now valued at over $1.72 billion as per the 2014 Market Report (excluding exports of organic raw and processed products), demonstrating that the consumption of certified organic food, cosmetics and household products continues to grow. By 2018, the total value is anticipated to exceed AU$2 billion.
AOAM is held each September and is the biggest event of the year where the organic industry highlights, promotes and supports the products, brands and retailers who proudly wear the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) Bud logo. It's all about raising awareness and protecting the interest of the consumer, because the Bud logo is the best way to guarantee a product is truly organic. The Bud logo now appears on most Australian certified organic products.
Australian Organic Month runs from 1-30 September 2017.
For further information about Australian Organic please visit http://austorganic.com/.
Interview with Emmily Banks
Emmily Banks is Australia's leading natural makeup artist, eco beauty advocate and founder of Depths of Beauty. Emmily is passionate about sharing the importance of non-toxic beauty to inspire healthy and positive change for people and the planet. She is on a mission to help others discover conscious beauty and authentic wellbeing from the inside out.
Question: What originally inspired your passion for beauty products?
Emmily Banks: My background is in makeup artistry - I have always had an interest in beauty from a young age, and to be able to incorporate it as part of my career for a period of my life was wonderful. It was the starting point for me to open my eyes to the beauty industry as a whole - that products were unregulated, and that no one was really taking a stand about the potentially harmful ingredients we were applying on our faces, and the models we were beautifying.
Question: When did you first become interested in organic beauty products?
Emmily Banks: Organic products felt like a natural switch for me more than 5 years ago as I have always been exceptionally health conscious, not to mention my passion for the planet, nature and animals. Promoting and finding the best quality eco-friendly, non-toxic and cruelty free products became an obsession of mine, and now I am spoiled for choice with beautiful, natural, organic and cruelty free brands that perform just as well as the mainstream alternatives.
Question: Was this decision for your health or other reasons?
Emmily Banks: My health definitely played a factor in making the switch, as it is a key priority for me to be functioning at my optimum every single day.
Question: Why did it become crucial for you to know what was going onto your skin?
Emmily Banks: Our skin is our largest organ, and absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it straight into our bloodstream. What we put on our skin matters. Toxins and chemicals in many of the leading mainstream beauty products have known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors featured in the ingredients list - and that just doesn't cut it for me.
Question: How does it feel to see many Australians following your passion for organic beauty products?
Emmily Banks: It is so incredibly exciting to see people becoming more conscious about what they are using on their skin. It is so important we vote with our dollar in this instance, and support the organic, natural products that are making a difference.
Question: Can you share your favourite organic beauty products with us?
Emmily Banks: My favourite organic beauty products at the moment include: The Beauty Chef Fix Me Balm
Endota Spa Highlighter
Maaemo Purifying Gel Cleanser
The Divine Company Naturally Bronze Tan
Question: Do you have a favourite organic beauty brand and if so, why?
Emmily Banks: There are way too many to choose from! I am loving The Beauty Chef, Maaemo, Endota Spa, Nudus and so many more!
Question: What nasty ingredients should we look for in our makeup and skincare?
Emmily Banks: Anything synthetic, especially preservatives like parabens, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrance - as these ingredients are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they can potentially result in reproductive, developmental, neurologically and immune effects when consumed.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Emmily Banks: No two days are the same! I always make sure to get my body moving, whether it be a run along the beach, or a training session at the gym. I love to cook, and am always whipping up nourishing, wholesome, organic meals. Between that, there could be shoots, meetings, trips away, interviews - it never ends! I always love to end my day with time in nature, to really ground myself.
Interview by Brooke Hunter