Thursday night saw me heading to the Victoria & Albert Museum for the 'Green Oscars', the Observer Ethical Awards, but first I had to visit Amin Phillips of Love & Be Loved who had created the most stunning green silk dress for me to wear.
I arrived at the V&A with my husband & Pachacuti Marketing Manager, Mark Rogers, and Doraliz Aranda, Production Manager. One of the first people I spotted, unmissable in her fuscia Pachacuti fedora, was Pamela Ravasio, Pachacuti's Press & Marketing Officer, who was independently up for an award for her blog Shirahime.
After champagne and socialising, the awards commenced. The panel was composed of 32 judges who included actor Colin Firth, TV presenter Ben Fogle, Deborah Meaden from Dragon's Den and model Lily Cole. I was delighted to hear Livia Firth, battling laryngitis, announce Greg Valerio as the winner of the Global Campaigner category. Greg pioneered Fairtrade gold which was launched this year and worn by Livia Firth on the red carpet at the Oscars. Read more on Livia's Vogue blog.
Other winners announced were Compassion in World Farming in the Campaigner category, with Bill Oddie accepting the award; the People's Supermarket, who were presented their award by Colin Firth; The Co-operative Group won the Ethical Business category and we were delighted when it was announced by Baroness Lola Young that Pamela had won the ethical blog award. Before the awards started, Mark and I had been walking on the Pavegen paving slabs which turn the energy from footsteps into electricity and their win in the Big Idea category was extremely well-deserved.
Finally, it was time for the Fashion & Accessories category and T4 presenter Rick Edwards, together with Vogue fashion features editor Jessica Bumpus, took to the stage. This is always one of the most hotly contested of all categories and we were up against strong competition: Veja with their ecological footwear made from sustainable Amazonian rubber and organic cotton and Christopher Raeburn, a designer who re-uses parachute silk and military fabrics in his collections.
Winning this award is such a fantastic accolade for Pachacuti's work in pioneering Fair Trade Fashion since 1992. I am delighted that the eminent panel of judges appreciated the hard work which my wonderful team based in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and I have put into in continuing to push the standards higher in the field of ethical fashion. Pachacuti became the first company in the world to be Fair Trade Certified by the WFTO and we are now piloting an EU project on Geotraceability: the Geo Fair Trade Project. I am delighted to receive this award in recognition of the hard work which my staff and I have put into creating a Fair Trade, sustainable supply chain for our Panama hats, clothing and accessories and the innumerable benefits which this has brought to our producers and their communities in the Andes. I can't wait to visit our producer groups in Ecuador this week and tell them about this exciting award.
The final award of the night is the Lifetime Achievement Award, won previously by Sir David Attenborough and last year by Gordon Roddick, pictured with me left. It was Anita who initially inspired me to set up Pachacuti after reading her autobiography and thinking that if she could revolutionise the beauty industry with no experience in that field, there was nothing to stop me from trying to do the same within the fashion industry.
This year the Lifetime Achievement Award was won by scientist and originator of the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock. His pioneering model is the foundation of climate science today.
I had a wonderful evening at the awards and later at the after party where we continued to drink champagne into the early hours, exchanging stories with the Observer Food Editor about our respective visits to El Bulli.
The Observer Awards recognise those companies who make ethical living more accessible and achievable and this year's award winners do exactly that, from ensuring you can buy an ethical gold wedding ring to delivering weekly veg boxes or campaigning against mega-dairies. It is a real honour for Pachacuti to be an award winner this year alongside so many other incredible campaigners and ethical pioneers