Achieving Climate Targets with Community and Small Steps: Jamie Richards, ESG Director at amika + Eva NYC

Alicia Rodriguez
June 13, 2023
Jamie Richards, Director of ESG at amika + Eva NYC, recently sat down with us to share insights on each brand's climate action journey. Learn why they became Climate Neutral Certified and how small steps and community have accelerated their climate action goals.

We recently caught up with Jamie Richards, Director of ESG at amika + Eva NYC, to discuss lessons learned throughout their climate action journey. amika + Eva NYC have been Climate Neutral Certified since 2022. Let's jump in to learn how the haircare brands have continually accelerated their climate action strategy.

Jamie Richards, Director of ESG for amika + Eva NYC

amika + Eva NYC became Climate Neutral Certified in 2022. Can you share a bit more about each brand?

I’ll start with amika. It’s a salon professional haircare brand. Amika likes to bend the rules and is a friend to her, him, them, and the planet! Over the past three years, we’ve worked diligently to build our sustainability strategy. It is now a core part of who we are.

Our other brand, Eva NYC is a fun haircare brand that brings quality products at an affordable price. Eva NYC breaks the stereotype that sustainability is a luxury. For us, it’s an expectation.

Tell us about your climate journey. How did Climate Neutral certification align with your strategy?

We saw Climate Neutral as an impetus to take immediate responsibility. We wanted a comprehensive climate certification that aligned with leading industry standards, and it had to include Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.  

Navigating climate action can be overwhelming at times because standards, regulations, and guidance can vary globally. We decided to align to the Climate Neutral Standard because it brought a much-needed standardization and form of accountability. It synthesized material guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, ISO standards, Science Based Targets initiative, and more. All in a way we could understand and take timely, credible action.  

We also wanted to build trust with consumers. It was important to us to prove we were taking responsibility the right way.  

How did becoming Climate Neutral Certified help you achieve your climate goals?  

Climate Neutral certification was the best decision I’ve made for the company. It built consumer trust and proved to our customers we were taking responsibility. It even helped us open up to a new market of conscious consumers. 

For me personally, as a Director of ESG, the network I gained was the most valuable win. Every Climate Neutral committed or certified brand is given access to a dedicated communications network. 

I found brands that had the same goals and the same problems I did. I wasn’t alone. Together, we devised solutions and built collective action. This community helps me accelerate climate goals for both of our brands. 

I also appreciate that certification requires us to set Reduction Action Plans. They’re time-bound and specific, which helps us ensure we continue to track toward our climate goals.    

Have there been challenges along your climate action or certification journey?

Of course. Managing a large amount of data has been the toughest part. It takes time to collect, clean, and format mass amounts of emissions data. We found the BEE very helpful to make this daunting task more manageable—even intuitive.  

Meeting certification deadlines can also be challenging. The Climate Neutral certification process moves quickly. You have to be organized. Especially if you need to lead your company through a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory audit.

What advice would you give to someone interested in taking immediate climate action? 

Know where the data lives and who owns it in your company.  

Look at the cost of compensating for your brand-level emissions ahead of time. Ensure your organization is engaged and understands the business case upfront. 

Start small and set project parameters. Even if you can’t attain certification like Climate Neutral Certified on the first try and immediately address 100% of your emissions, you’ll be collecting and organizing the data necessary to take future action.  

Finally, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s progress over perfection.  

Great point about building the business case for climate initiatives.  Can you describe how you built the case for your investment in compensation and reductions? 

We were already offsetting a portion of our emissions before becoming Climate Neutral Certified. 

When I pitched certification, I explained that we were already spending money on offsets. With one more step, we could achieve this valuable certification and access resources that would help us achieve our climate goals faster. 

Today, we budget our certification fees separate from offsets. When you compare all of our certification fees across our ESG program, the Climate Neutral certification fee is the least expensive one.  

We view investing in eligible, verified carbon credits as a part of our responsibility until we can reduce emissions to the best of our ability. We also invest in reductions. These efforts include budgeting for supplier (renewable) energy, incorporating more environmentally preferred materials like PCR, and I want to shout out cost savings, as well. This year, our VP of Operations and Logistics transitioned almost all shipping in California from truck to rail, which saved us both money and emissions. 

Has your Climate Neutral certification helped to build trust with your customers?   

To be honest, our consumers were not initially familiar with Climate Neutral—they do not traditionally fall into the conscious consumer market. But, they do highly value certifications. I could never claim climate neutrality without a credible seal of approval.  

Since earning the Climate Neutral Certification, our customer base has expanded to include more conscious shoppers. 

We also receive positive responses from our Climate Neutral marketing materials. Year after year, our consumers are pleasantly surprised we hold such a rigorous and integral certification.

What’s next for amika + Eva NYC?

We have a lot on the docket. Our most impactful efforts include direct sourcing all of our naturally derived ingredients, partnering with our contract manufacturers on lessening their carbon footprints, and working on a stronger, yet approachable, communication strategy for our consumers. 

I am excited for what's next. ESG is still relatively new to business and picking up pace. It’s fun to be at the forefront of the future.

amika + Eva NYC demonstrate that small steps and community can accelerate your climate action strategy. If your organization is interested in taking immediate climate action, give us a shout at hello@climateneutral.org. We look forward to hearing your story!  

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About the Author

Alicia Rodriguez
Certification Program Manager

Craft beer aficionado with a strong passion for her Puerto Rican culture, Alicia brings experience in project management and customer service and holds an MBA in Sustainable Innovation. She looks to create impact and apply intersectionality to everything she does, and believes that everyone can—and should—find a role in addressing the climate crisis.

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