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Celebrating 5 years: Q&A with founder Emily Fletcher

To celebrate 5 years of the Awards, we sat down with founder Emily Fletcher to reflect on the Awards so far and the incredible changes she's seen unfold over the past five years.

Emily Fletcher is the founder of the Clean and Conscious Awards, and the Head of Education + Research at Clean and Conscious. This year, we are celebrating our fifth year of running the awards, which is a huge milestone, and one that we would’ve never reached without the support of our followers.

**This blog post is a transcribe of a Q&A video published on our Instagram account**

What was your biggest motivator behind starting the awards?

Well, I really wanted to create the most accessible way for all of us to be able to make easy decisions on the products we buy. I also wanted to highlight the beautiful brands who are doing amazing things for the planet and its people, so that we can support them in their efforts.

How have the awards changed over the past five years?

So much! The growth of the industry has been huge. There’s been more and more conscious brands being created all the time. We’ve had a huge expansion of our subcategories. We had 21 categories in our first year of the awards, and now in our fifth year we’ve got 96 categories. We’ve had new umbrella categories such as food and nutrition, which has really grown as well as fashion and fitness. And each year due to consumer demand, we add more and more categories. So this year, we’ve got wine and sunglasses running for the first time.

We’ve had more entries year on year too. There’s been a steady growth as more and more brands are prioritising clean and conscious values. We’ve had a growth of our expert panel from 4 in our first year to 56 this year, with many of our wonderful expert panel returning year on year. Such as Sigourney Cantello from Beauticate, and Sarah Berry from Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, as well as Julie Mathers from Flora and Fauna. We’ve also got aligned influences such as Montana Lower and Laura Wells returning as well.

We had the introduction of our Social responsibility award that we are really proud of. That started in our second year of the awards, so that’ll be in its fourth year. And also we are really proud to be partnering with aligned businesses. This year we are really excited to be partnering with Peppermint as our official media partner and Verve Super.

What would you say would be the biggest highlight of working on the awards over the past five years?

Oh, the close friendships that I’ve made with our Clean + Conscious team. It is just so powerful to be working with people that you really respect, on a project that you feel so strongly about. It’s amazing.

How do you feel that conscious consumerism has impacted the industry?

Well, we’re in a transformative era thanks to the conscious consumer movement. Now more than ever, consumers really hold the power, and more importantly, are starting to realise the incredible power that they have as a collective when they choose their products wisely. A massive thank you to our brands and consumers alike because you are the driving force behind the evolution, or should I say revolution?

And would you say that the Clean and Conscious Awards are a catalyst for this shift or a reflection of it?

Clean + Conscious enables consumers to become educated and educated consumers are the key to creating change in the market. So we both help enable this shift, and our growth is a reflection of it.

What do you see as next for Clean + Conscious?

I believe that the awards and our directory are so important for creating awareness and support for both brands and consumers. So we’ll definitely continue doing this, but I also look forward to adding in some extra new projects as well. I wasn’t going to say this yet, but a podcast is in the works, which I’m really excited about.

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