Janneke Blake - Shop Zero
Shop Zero’s mission is to change consumer patterns to adapt to new global realities brought about by climate change, plastic pollution and animal agriculture. Serving health foods, toiletries and household cleaners with zero packaging, as well as single-use plastic alternatives, customers can refill reusable containers to buy as much or as little as needed. We also stock sustainable products that support zero-waste living, entail minimal waste and resource use, whether in its production or function. Some of these include bamboo toothbrushes, upcycled coconut bowls, upcycled products made from discarded fabric off-cuts, pens made from recycled Nespresso pods, shopping bags made from non-recyclable pet food bags, 100% natural coconut husk cat litter and much more. Through these products, as well as striving to share educational content, and taking part in impactful campaigns, Shop Zero also implements sustainability projects and ocean solution initiatives to create awareness around pollution, greenhouse gases and how to live a low-impact lifestyle.
We are looking to stock and showcase more innovative products that can contribute to and result from the circular economy e.g. bags repurposed from old sails, surfboards from invasive alien species and recycled foam, flour from fruit offcuts, etc. Shop Zero provides the market to connect consumers with product innovations that facilitate a sustainable lifestyle, while also incorporating sustainability in its business operations. We work closely with suppliers through arrangements for container exchange and stock refills, ensuring minimal packaging as well as compliance with ethical sourcing.
Shop Zero empowers small, social entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities by providing a market and sourcing of supplies from them to spur livelihood. Adult upskilling, financial empowerment for abused women, healing through arts for traumatised children, tree planting, beach clean-ups and seabird rehabilitation are supported by fostering partnerships with these organisations or NGOs.
Through its network, Shop Zero’s founder, Janneke, has undertaken opportunities to engage local partners and communities in a number of activities. Shop Zero has co-hosted 10 beach clean-up activities, which foster social cohesion by mobilising local residents towards the shared goal of beach stewardship. The same is true for participation in Greenpop’s tree planting festivals and selling products where money goes toward planting trees through Greenpop’s reforestation projects, as well as selling plants in-store. Janneke has also been invited to give lectures on sustainability in local schools, and also undertook the opportunity to give a lecture at a school in Bali. She is also a 5 Gyres Ambassador, Sustainable Ocean Alliance Ocean Leader and Official Sustainable Ocean Alliance Hub Founder in Cape Town. Janneke was also invited to attend the World Ocean Summit in Abu Dhabi in 2019 and participated at Abu Dhabi’s BlueTech Exhibition Week.
Shop Zero would like to scale its model for a mainstream audience, while driving legislative compliance and policy. Tackling packaging at all stages of the supply chain will allow shoppers to choose how much they need, cutting down on packaging and food waste. Making refill sections accessible can set a precedent for the future of shopping in South Africa and worldwide.