Case: Élan Hair Design

Having created a niche position for itself in a fiercely competitive local market, Élan Hair Design has worked tirelessly to improve upon its position as ‘the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon.’
Key to this innovative approach has been a commitment to incorporate almost every conceivable environmentally-friendly initiative – as demonstrated by a major ‘green’ refurbishment of its Inverurie town centre salon, completed in 2012.
The ongoing project includes the use of recyclable materials; PV panels to generate electricity and solar thermal panels to provide energy for hot water; LED lighting that uses 80% less electricity; and, an air-source heat pump, saving 80% on heating costs.
The salon understandably uses large volumes of water but thanks to the installation of a new basin system, water consumption has fallen by 64%.
Élan has also made substantial reductions in its carbon emissions and the amount of waste it sends to landfill. This includes sending customers’ hair clippings, along with other biodegradable waste, to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields.
The business, established more than 40 years ago, is led by Lorna and Gordon Milton along with their daughters Lanice and Lauren.
Lorna Milton, owner and director of Élan Hair Design, said: “We made the decision to implement the new eco-friendly approach on the back of customer feedback which indicated they wanted a greener and more sustainable service.
“Since then the business has grown significantly with increased turnover as well as a rise in the number of customers visiting our salon.
“We have continued to make major inroads into reducing our environmental impact. This includes putting in place initiatives which have seen us reduce our carbon emissions by 90% and increase the amount of the salon’s waste successfully diverted from landfill to 95%.
“We believe these changes will help ensure the long-term success of the business.”
Élan Hair Design is unique, not only in the north-east of Scotland, but in the wider UK market too. Indeed, the environmental and commercial benefits gained by Élan could act as a template for other like-minded businesses throughout the country to follow.

Visit to the ‘Hair & Health’ institute: Dianne te Mebel’s Instituut Haar en Gezondheid

      During the Amsterdam conference we made a visit to a Green Salon. The Mebels's Institute. For the owner Dianne Mebels sustainability is not a trend, but a matter of obviousness. Dianne’s background: Dianne as a child wanted to be veterinarian. She was always very fond of animals and nature. She finished the VET school of agriculture and had the chance to do her school internship in a hair salon. There she was told that the agricultural college was a waste of her time. But later in her own salon it turned out that this school was not at all a waste of time. Her knowledge about nature, seeds and plants was ‘2nd nature’ to her but vital for her knowledge development in her current business. Years ago, when Dianne was working with chemical products only, a customer approached Dianne with the question if she could colour her hair with Henna.  She then started experimenting with ingredients. For example, using red wine and ground coffee. She liked working with it and she liked the smell. Moreover, she noticed that the colour result was very nice, the hair was also healthy. She always wanted to do something other than just chemical hair dyes, but she did not know what that should be. This customer did change her view on hair dyes. Dianne has been active with the use of natural hair products since 2002. 

In general there is an increasing use of natural products. There is however uncertainty about truly natural products and semi-natural products. This is very confusing for the consumer. Dianne believes that more clarity should be given. Many consumers think they use natural products, but in reality there are chemicals in it as well. Moreover, Dianne thinks it's unimaginable that women still destroy their hair with chemical hair dye. She wants to show these women that it can be different.

Visit Graphic Lyceum Utrecht during the Amsterdam-conference

We were welcomed by Joop Engelander and Bert van Toor from the Graphic Lyceum Utrecht (GLU). Joop gave an introduction on the school system in the Netherlands and the school itself.
After that there was a discussion which involved both students from the GLU and students from the project partners about ‘reducing early school dropout’. This topic is directly related to sustainability. Keeping the students inside the walls of your school makes the school more aimed at sustainable employability of students within the school. An important drop-out explanation given by one of the Dutch students was the decrease of motivation because of ‘bad teachers’, meaning teachers who are not able to make students motivated in their study field or just miscommunication with the teachers. We should not underestimate this. Unfortunately there was not enough time to finish the discussion and draw some general conclusions.

The group was divided in 2 and was taken for a tour around the school, involving students in the tour as well. Some students prepared a presentation on their subject of ‘young entrepreneurship’. In this class a group of maximum 7 students start a real company with real assignments. They divided the roles/functions amongst them, under supervision of a teacher, and they run the company as a real life learning experience. 

Hairdressing Heroes

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is about using education to highlight and address environmental issues such as climate change, population growth, the use of finite resources and social inequality.  The Sustainability in the Creative Industries European College project is an example of ESD practice whereby the College partners share knowledge and experience to promote sustainability.    
At Fife College, one of the exercises to promote sustainability in the hairdressing curriculum has been by using the Hairdressing Heroes workbook.  The workbook started as a work placement project with Dumfries and Galloway College as part of my MSc in Carbon Management.  As a result of this work I am now the Sustainable Development Adviser in the College and a Project Consultant with the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges.  In both roles I aim to promote sustainability in the curriculum across College education in Scotland.  I believe there is no area of the curriculum where ESD cannot be incorporated, however work is required to ensure staff have the knowledge and confidence to engage effectively with ESD.  Care also needs to be taken to avoid extra pressure on an already overstretched curriculum so that links can be made to existing course provision to incorporate ESD.   
Through this work I met Christine Laing from Fife College and realised she shared my passion in addressing sustainability issues through education.  To help achieve this Christine is determined to build a ‘green salon’ in the College as a valuable teaching resource for hairdressing students.  We decided to work together and Christine asked if I would meet with the Hairdressing students to show them links between environmental issues and hairdressing practices and also possible solutions to reducing the environmental impacts of hairdressing.  Leading on from this, the students are now working with the Hairdressing Heroes workbook to further their sustainability understanding. 
This Hairdressing Heroes workbook is designed to be used either directly by students, or by staff to assist them in embedding sustainability within their course delivery.  The workbook aims to link sustainability with current hairdressing teaching and practice, where appropriate, but it also addresses other areas of our lives that raise sustainability issues.  The workbook also utilises core skills teaching wherever possible, by using activities that incorporate literacy, numeracy and IT skills.  These activities can also strengthen employability skills by identifying financial savings by changing hairdressing practices.
I was thrilled when Christine asked me if I would present Hairdressing Heroes at the Sustainability in the Creative Industries event in May 2013 at Fife College as it gave me a chance to meet staff and students from the other European partner Colleges.  This project is invaluable in sharing experiences as there is always something we can learn from each other to enhance teaching practices and sharing sustainability knowledge is a positive step towards addressing environmental concerns.     
The Hairdressing Heroes workbook is now being improved through feedback from staff and students by research being conducted in a number of Colleges in Scotland, including Fife College.  As the European partners Colleges have also requested access to the workbook this could provide another means of testing the effectiveness of the workbook to incorporate sustainability into hairdressing teaching.    
Work is now underway to produce sustainability workbooks for other areas of the curriculum and the existing workbooks have also been adapted into online learning resources.  The first workbook in the series, Introduction to Sustainability, has also been formally accredited by the Scottish Qualification and Credit Framework.  All of this work is taking place at Dumfries and Galloway College; however the feedback received from other Colleges in Scotland and also from the European partner Colleges in the Sustainability in the Creative Industries project, will all help to inform future developments in embedding sustainability into the curriculum. 

Being part of the European project has given me an opportunity to discuss my ESD work with Colleges I would never have had access to, which I know will prove invaluable to my research.  In the long term I hope my research will influence ESD developments in Scottish College education and if this can be shared with other European Colleges through projects such as this then even better.  Meanwhile, in the short term, I will assist Christine in any way possible to realise her vision of a ‘green’ hairdressing salon in the College.   The ‘green’ salon could provide an example of best practice of incorporating sustainability into hairdressing teaching to be shared with Colleges across Scotland.      

By Elaine Crawford MA MSc


Chemical Intolerance among Hairdressers in Denmark

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and the severity of fragrance-related symptoms among hairdressers in Denmark compared with the Danish general population. Further, to characterize former hairdressers who are severely chemically intolerant to fragranced products in relation to sex, age and health- and work-related reasons for leaving the hairdressing profession.

Methods: The study population consisted of all hairdressers who graduated from the public vocational schools in Denmark during 1985 and 2007 (n = 7840) and a random sample of individuals from the Danish general population (n = 6000). Both populations received a postal questionnaire on symptoms from inhalation of fragranced products and the resultant behavioral consequences. All former hairdressers also answered additional questions on health- and work-related reasons for leaving the profession.

Results: No differences were found in the prevalence (OR = 1.0, CI = 0.89–1.14) or the severity (OR = 1.1, CI = 0.80–1.51) of symptoms from inhalation of fragranced products in hairdressers compared with the general population. Among hairdressers, however, experience of fragrance-related symptoms (OR = 1.2, CI = 1.01–1.31) and adjustments of social (OR = 1.8, CI = 1.12–2.80) and occupational conditions (OR = 2.8, CI = 1.84–4.25) were reported significantly more often by former hairdressers than current hairdressers.

Conclusions: The prevalence and the severity of fragrance-related symptoms were similar in hairdressers and the general population. Former hairdressers were more affected by fragranced products than current hairdressers were. Although fragrance-related symptoms did not seem to be more frequent among hairdressers, the hairdressing profession might pose a problem for those who are chemically intolerant.


Welcome to Green'Ability

Welcome on the blog of the project: "Innovation and Sustainability in the Creative Industries".
This project tries to find innovative ways of communicating the ideas of sustainability and tries to suggest new green activities within the hair and beauty trades and the mediagraphics sector.

On this blog you can find information about the project goals, several activities and content about sustainability, innovation and education.

Leonardo Meeting in Málaga, February 19th-22th of 2013

Next week there will be a workconference in Malaga, Spain. During this conference students  will participate in workshops preparing issues of the project like a magazine and a sustainable hair and beauty show. More information on tab: "events".

Topic list for students

In the gadget right to this column you can find the topic list.

Leonardo Meeting in  Kirkcaldy, Scotland, May 14th-17th of 2013

The workconference in Scotland has a four day interesting program, developed by our partner the Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy . Part of the program are presentations and there will be workshops: (Hairdressers )Working on Hairdressing Toolkit worksheets ; show preparation (hairdressing, beauty and fashion design); development of a magazine (graphic media). More information on tab: "events".


On the website is a link to the toolbox. This toolbox is the result of the research done by the students. Click on the toolboxpicture to link to the website. Click on Research Results-Toolbox.

Report of activities in  Kircaldy
by Christina Laing, Department Manager Adam Smith College, Scotland

The ISCI project visit to Scotland started with the planning of the week in January 2013.  Guest speakers with a passion for green issues were asked to come along from Southhampton University. They are involved in their great Green Salon Make-Over project which is aiming to teach hairdressers all about sustainability so that they can then inform and encourage their clients to be more sustainable.  Dr Denise Baden and Dr Swarna Prasad were invited to present on the first day of the project the 14th May.  Denise was presenting somewhere else but Swarna kindly agreed to come along.                                                                                  

Elaine Crawford is sustainability lead at Dumfries and Galloway College and has been working closely with Adam Smith College and our students to help with her own MSC qualification.  Elaine has presented to our students and carried out a survey to assess where they are regarding how informed they are about sustainability. Our project students are currently working with the students to teach them what they are learning through the project and when Elaine speaks to them next and asks them the same questions, we hope to see a much more sustainability aware and informed group.  Elaine was invited to present in the afternoon on day one of the Scottish weeks activities.

Peggy Morgan is the lead for Colleges Scotland a body who are funded by the Scottish Government to
Peggy Morgan
support and encourage information sharing and best practice across Scottish Colleges. 
Peggy who is sustainability and sector lead for hair and beauty was invited to come along and present on the second day to the hairdressers all about how this works across Scotland for the hair and beauty sector.                               

Lorna Milton and her daughter Lauren had previously hosted a visit from myself and my Higher National hairdressing students to their Green Salon Elan Hairdressing in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire so they were both invited along to take part in the discussions following the presentations and to join us for a staff dinner to be held at the colleges Rotunda restaurant on the Tuesday evening.

Sean McDonnagh from Hair and Beauty World, (hair and beauty suppliers), was invited along as he had recently accompanied me to Italy to visit Maletti  (Hair and Beauty Furniture Suppliers) with a view to the college installing a vented green salon where Maletti would help sponsor some of the equipment to enable us to be the first green vented salon in the UK.

Goldwell  (cosmetics representatives), Dave Hutchison and Glen Robertson were invited along as they sponsored the goodie bags to be provided to the visitors and would be important to help us meet our project aims of encouraging the industry to move to more green products ranges.

Ann Millar of Renella hairdressing was also invited as she was previous chair of the Scottish HABIA (Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority) forum and she has presented in sustainability at various Scottish events and is involved in the Southampton project.

The rooms were booked (something that is always a problem as they are always filled with booked students using all the salons and classroom space).  The refreshments were ordered, goodie bags made up and programmes sent out to all the partners along with a delegate list.  All that remained was for everything to be confirmed a week before and the visitors to all arrive at the local Beveridge Park Hotel then the week could begin.

A week before all presenters were confirmed, goodie bags and folders were put together and Hazel Terry fashion lecturer at Adam Smith College made tartan name badges for everyone to wear to help us remember names.

The long awaited Tuesday arrived and it was great to meet up with old friends who had travelled from Spain, Malta, Denmark and the Netherlands to be here, lots of hugs and greetings took place then it was down to chatting over coffee and shortbread to catch up on everyone’s news.

The presentations all went very well and were informative and relevant to the project, lots of questions and discussions took place and partners asked questions and took copies of the presentations.

Time was spent discussing the work we wanted to get through in the project week and looking at the evaluation from the previous visit to Malaga.

The evening meal for staff was a great occasion and college students were thanked for the high quality of food and service.  Students went out together and socialized in the town and everyone had a good time.

On the second day (Wednesday), Media Graphics staff and students visited the colleges Stenton campus for a tour of the media graphics sound and video production studio’s and commented how they had been made very welcome.  They asked that a staff member from this area be involved in future trips.  The hairdressers stayed in the hotel and Peggy carried out her presentation which was really interesting and gave partners links to information which could be used in the project.

In the afternoon we spent time working on the magazine, flyer and Eco fashion show and toolkit at the college Priory Campus..

On the third day (Thursday), seen hairdressers having a tour of the salons and hair or beauty appointments whilst Multi-print media graphics printing and design company owner Jay provided a tour of his business premises for the media graphics staff and students and made them most welcome.

Thursday afternoon was spent in Edinburgh where some chose to see a show whilst others shopped or visited the castle and other tourist attractions.

On the fourth day (Friday) the last day seen us evaluate the week and Eva presented on Holland in preparation for the next trip in October.

The week was a great success where lots of work had taken place on the show, magazine, flyers and toolkit.  Old friendships were revived and new ones made and we all agreed that we are all on target to “make a difference” through this sustainability focused project.

I look forward to the next trip to Holland and to working to meet the aims of this valuable and very worthwhile project.